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!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I thought I'd better check in with my bloggy peeps and let you know that I have not disappeared, in fact quite the opposite!

I am diligently working on completing my 'List' by Friday, leaving me only 2 more days (one of which I am working a full shift). I have just realized how incredibly tired I am from all of my socializing and prioritizing of this 'List' leaving it difficult for me to find time to blog. Do not despair though (ok so I realize you won't be despairing) I am going to be blogging each of the rest of my days left of my adventure, it just won't be done for a couple of days.

Looking forward to sharing my experiences with you - I have been having a blast!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Adventure Day 33 Part 1 - #16 Eat at a Vegan Restaurant

I was excited and a little nervous about this item on my list; it was definitely something that was new to me. You see I am a meat eater all the way. I don’t tend to eat mounds and mounds of it but I do love it! However a friend and I had talked about wanting to try this vegan restaurant we’d noticed down town so we set a date (actually a few as we kept cancelling on each other) and we did it!

I hopped on the bus that I usually take that just goes down one of the main streets in the city I live in and then jumped off when I was at my desired location. I had a bit of a walk and happened to arrive a bit early so I called my friend to confirm where we were meeting and then proceeded to wait patiently for her outside of the restaurant.

I stood there for only a few minutes when I noticed a man in his forties approaching me, I instantly knew what he wanted. ‘Could you spare some change, I am in an unfortunate circumstance ma’am’ he pleaded. As he held out his hands for any possible hope he might receive I immediately saw the state of them. They were twice the size they should have been, all of the skin on them was peeling off, and his fingernails were very thick, yellow and large.

Now usually I don’t carry any change with me at all but I remembered putting some of my laundry money in my wallet for a coffee outing I ended up not having to pay for. Without a word I quickly handed him two dollars in change (about a third of what I had) and he thanked me and moved on down the street.

I remember a ‘mission’ trip I went on in high school, to a city in another close by country, where the rich and poor don’t live far from each other (do they ever really?). There people didn’t hesitate to come beg for money with tall tales to tell, only minutes after you dropped it in their hands you saw them with booze in their hand or perhaps even with some drugs. You soon learned that if you wanted to feed the hungry just offer to buy them a sandwich or some dinner. After that experience I vowed never to give money to a beggar again … until recently.

To be quite honest giving money to someone who asks (presumably in need) is really not a difficult thing to do. They ask, you give. The transaction takes maybe 20 seconds – all depending on the availability of your wallet or response. Pretty easy deal. If you give without thinking you feel a warm and fuzzy deep inside and reflect ‘Well that felt good, I’m a decent person – I hope I don’t run into anymore people like this though, I need change for my coffee run’. On the contrary you may feel: ‘Why don’t you just get out and find a job you hobo, instead of guilting me into giving you my hard earned money – sheesh!’ I’ll admit I’ve felt both on different occasions, but I am beginning to wonder if one either is an appropriate response to have.

Obviously the latter shows clearly the state of our heart and seems initially wrong, but what about the warm and fuzzy feelings – why are they ok? Is it really a good thing for us to get a wonderful feeling for giving a few cents or dollars to help someone out? Why are we so proud of ourselves for merely throwing a few drops in the bucket that in the long term will most certainly not quench the thirst of the one in need? That’s hardly something to be proud of when we are only doing it to make ourselves feel good or get someone out of our way.

As the man walked away I found myself feeling ashamed of my reaction, which was to give him the minimum. Not only that but I didn’t even talk to him!!! How horrible. To be honest I think I was a bit stunned at his forwardness; I haven’t had an experience like this in a couple of years. I have, in my mind, been trying to prepare myself for this exact scenario so that I could take the chance to not give money but instead invite the person out for a meal and hear their story. I knew the second this man left I wanted desperately to do just that, but I was meeting a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while, not only that but I was a woman and he a stranger to me. I’m not really sure where the lines of appropriateness blur but I know Wally wouldn’t be jumping up and down at the idea of me having lunch with a homeless man – any man for that matter. But does that mean I shouldn’t do it?

Getting back to my promise to never give money, I didn’t think I should give money to someone who was going to throw it away on an addiction or something that could hurt themselves – that would be a waste and I would be enabling right? I wouldn’t want to hurt someone. Wait a minute though, after deciding this within myself I had yet to offer to buy anyone lunch; rather I would ignore their pleas and go about my day – oh yeah, that’s so much better, isn’t it? Not only that but I was totally in denial if I believed that I myself didn’t throw a large amount of my money at my own addictions: food, useless craft supplies, sales on stuff that I didn’t even need or use – how is it ok for me to waste ‘my own’ money but not let someone else? I guess we would use the fact that we earned it as a defense. However by doing that we’ve just put ourselves above those with less and decided that it’s ok for us to have ‘appropriate addictions’ but not ok for them to have what we deem as ‘inappropriate addictions’. That’s hardly fair.

Pride is an ugly thing and separates us into imaginary worlds where we decide the rules and rights of everyone in it. So delusional, I think.

With my new reformed ideas you are probably wondering what exactly I think one should do in a situation such as this. Well, ideally I think we should take the time to sit down and share a meal with someone in need. Doing so knowing that they have a story and maybe they’ll share it, maybe you’ll learn a valuable lesson from it, or just make a new friend. Or maybe they won’t share a thing, and a ‘thank you’ may inevitably get lost in the exchange of needs, you part wondering why you did what you did, but in the end remind yourself that what you get out of it doesn’t really matter. If the only thing you take away is a realization of how great your life is – that’s enough.

I remember reading a book where the pastor was talking about working with street people and on their ‘mission’ (so to speak), they were handing out cigarettes. Their mission wasn’t to ‘convert the willing’ it was to reach out and show people love, understanding and willingness, to care with a humble gesture of friendship – like the cigarettes were a gift (hello, I’d be listening if you sat beside me with the most delicious freshly baked cookies – that’s my vice). A few years ago this idea would have completely offended me but since growing up a bit I am becoming more aware of how to relate to others that are different – by no means am I claiming to be good at it but I am at least trying to be awake to possibilities of how to connect with (no, not bribe) people. If someone comes to my door with a pamphlet about the benefits and truths of their belief system I promise you I will close the door in their face and only get more annoyed with every interaction I am forced to have with them, even those whom I may agree with. However, if I run into someone while I’m doing life and they meet me where I’m at (whether it’s in the ugliest place in town or with the most unattractive flaws) and just sit beside me, I am going to be much more willing to accept their love, friendship and maybe even thoughts on things.

Meeting this man reminded me of how easy it is to stay disconnected from the brokenness that’s in our world – so easy. I need to make an effort, first in my mind, then in my actions to get over myself and meet people (of all kinds) where they are at – I have such a long way to go. But at least I’m on the road …somewhere.

Ok you are probably wondering about the Vegan restaurant … well it was alright. I’d go back again, and order something different. I had a black been burger that exploded from the instant I bit down on it. It tasted ok but wasn’t my favourite – however I tried something new. The interesting thing I learned about the Vegan restaurant was how few vegetable dishes there were. Don’t get me wrong there were vegetables on the menu but they weren’t as abundant as I thought. Instead there were out of the ordinary bean plates and one recipe with a variety of seeds made into a pate – very different from my norm. I really do love trying new things, but the outcome of doing so always ends up teaching me something completely unexpected!

Last minute confession: I wrote this post before going to have my pedicure, here’s something that happened as I was leaving the pedi place: a man was standing outside of the storefront and asked my friend for money – I was thoroughly annoyed and glad I got away without having to be guilted into giving. I thought to myself: ‘Couldn’t he see I didn’t have time for this?’ and walked straight to my car.

I have further to go than I thought …

Adventure Day 32 – #37 – Write down all of the compliments I get in a week

I will admit this item was very narcissistic on my part to put on my list but I did think there would be another interesting lesson to be learned somewhere in it.

I quickly realized that people don’t give out compliments very much. And honestly, I’m quite sure I am among the norm on this one but what a great thing to be brought to my attention.

Here are the compliments I remembered to write down over the past week:

From my boss:
‘You are someone that I can trust and a person with integrity that will do what she says’
(I’m paraphrasing a bit but that is the gist of what she said). This compliment was given during a one on one meeting with her about how things at work were going.

From Wally:
‘You’re eyes light up when you smile!’
‘You get funnier everyday.’
‘You are like a one person comedy extravaganza.’
‘You are like a shooting star – uncatchable, and I’m like the tortoise who can’t keep up.’ (This one hurt a little because he put himself down, but I’ll admit I liked being a shooting star).

From Shell Bell:
‘You are a strong woman’ given as a comment on the blog.

Those are my one week’s worth of compliments, however I am sure there were some that I didn’t catch or notice as we tend to sluff many off. In my opinion, we do this because we are taught not to be able to accept when someone compliments us. I’m not sure why this is. I suppose the fear is that we will grow a large head from it and become arrogant, but really if you are truly worthy of a compliment than I doubt this will happen. At least not from the compliment you are being given. Chances are someone is not going to be telling you how thoughtful you are if you are the type of person that will turn around and talk about how much you agree with them.

Sometimes I will go over and over in my head and out loud a certain compliment I have been given. I will recite it to Wally; I may write it down, anything to keep the memory of the little words of life from being taken away. I have gotten over not being able to take compliments (for the most part). I now often think to myself, when I get a compliment, ‘Yeah, you know I do look good in this dress’ or ‘I am funny sometimes’. This is not to say that I am completely self involved and think I am the best thing to hit life since Adam, but I do make an effort to accept kind words and sort of filter them to see where they are coming from and how those words can benefit me.

For example, when someone says you look steamin’ hot in that new dress you bought (the one you weren’t sure if it was too ‘over the top’ or not), you can do one of two things. You can accept it, think about it and decide ‘Yeah, I do look good and now it feels good to know that someone else thinks so too’. After this you go about your night with a bit more confidence, you come out of any existing shell you may carry around and perhaps reveal a tiny bit more of the ‘real you’. OR you could respond with ‘Oh, I just got it on sale and I’m not too sure about it myself – you’re just being nice, but thanks’. You know what I mean. You even say it in a little weak voice almost apologizing for making someone notice you. The rest of the night you continue to wonder if your dress is indeed ‘over the top’ and you bury yourself in the corner with the chips and dip.

I don’t know about anyone out there but I LOVE hearing people say good things about me (as long as I know they mean it, and even if they don’t sometimes I humor myself and pretend they did). I think learning how to accept a compliment has enabled me to build confidence within a once very timid and insecure girl. Another benefit to learning how to take compliments is that once you are able to receive them you are able to feel free to give them out, and meaningfully too.

I realized one day how amazing it felt when someone noticed something they liked about me and actually shared it with me and I thought ‘Why don’t I try to make more of an effort to let other people know when I admire something about them?’ The catch is to share things you appreciate with not only those you know but strangers as well. I know that there have been times when I’ve been at the grocery store or Wal-Mart and have commented on someone’s clothes or hair or something and I haven’t known them. Their reaction is so funny. They first look surprised, then sometimes they look a bit weirded out or shocked that a complete stranger is looking at them long enough to notice anything, finally they seem delighted at the comment. Then a magically instant bond occurs and you make a friend out of a stranger – what’s better than that!

Though the initial idea of this item on my list sounded very self centered I have relearned a very important lesson: it feels GREAT to hear the good things other people are thinking about you, when you chose to write them down they seem to come to a halt, it’s more than ok to accept a compliment, and it’s even better if you can break out and learn how to give them. On my next list I am going to challenge myself with this one more!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventure Day 31 – Second Attempt at #19 Buy a piece of lingerie and wear it

Ok so I woke up yesterday and was absolutely determined to complete this task – determined. This item really was not that difficult, or was it?

I came home from my second night shift in a row in a great mood. I had gotten the most sleep I ever had before and I was fairly certain I could go about my day nap free. It doesn’t get much better than that (not that I mind a good nap but days that require them to tolerate myself are a bit irritating – since I am up writing this at 4 am I am left to wonder if tomorrow might be one of them).

Anyways, I came home, caught up on some e-mail and showered up. I was energized and ready to do something fun for the day. It’s at this point I wonder how in the world I decided that lingerie shopping would help with my great day, I guess I felt THAT good. I had also decided that I would treat myself to a mini shopping spree. You see since Wally went back to school I haven’t been able to just spend some money on myself (aside from my current 40 day experiment). I honestly only have three decent tops to wear in the summer (other than my work ones) and I just wanted something new.

You must understand something (if you haven’t figured this out by now), I am not much into fashion. I don’t like tight stuff, uncomfortable clothes or really anything that has a remote sense of style – it just doesn’t seem to fit my personality. I don’t collect purses, shoes or ever buy anything ‘different’. In fact over the past several years I have been only allowing myself to buy clothes in the size I was 4 years ago after I lost 26 pounds, determined that that would help me stay thin – clearly that wasn’t helping, only making me feel worse for my failures. I just started reading a book (recommended by one of my blogger friends) that is slowing transforming the way I think, thus giving me permission to buy clothes that fit and feel good. Yesterday was the day I would indulge a bit and help me feel better about myself, I couldn’t wait!

I chose to begin my day with the lingerie store I had visited a few weeks ago, having my mind set on purchasing something (maybe I’d even try something on - gasp!) I walked confidently into the store, charged right to the back once again and began to look over the potential buys. I quickly grabbed 5 items I would try on, things I’d never considered before, I went into a change room. That’s when it happened …

I was half naked and wrestling with this crazy contraption that I seriously wondered how one could put on without the help of at least two other people, and then how the heck you’d get it off in the ‘heat of the moment’ – I’ll never understand how some articles of clothing came to be. That’s when I began to over hear a conversation between two women outside of my little cubicle. Here’s how it went:
‘I lost a lot of weight in the past few months so I’m looking for a new bra.’
Sales lady: ‘Oh that’s wonderful, let’s measure you up!’
Sound of measuring tape.

It’s at this point in the conversation I had been able to maneuver my body most of the way into one of the ‘articles’ I had brought with me, and I was rather dissatisfied with what I see. Not because I there’s bulging where there shouldn’t be bulging or anything (although that did come to my attention), actually quite the opposite. I looked in the mirror and noticed that the apparatus fit around my body ok but the ‘cups’ were not overflowing, in fact the cups weren’t even partially full, creating an interesting look with my possible new attire.

The conversation outside my door continued…
Sales lady: ‘Hmmmmm … it looks like you are a 40 with a double D cup’
Woman whom I now despise: ‘Do you have anything here for me?’
‘Well various styles fit differently on different people so it’s best to try on several types and see what might work, however generally we only go up to (some size I’ve never had to pay attention to).’
‘Oh’ says the despised with some disappointment (that’s when I felt a pang of discontent for her) ‘I guess I’ll try back hear again later, when I’ve lost more weight’.
Off the lady went.

I’ll admit it was hard for me to feel too bad for the lady since I had just spent 15 pointless minutes getting my hair caught in hooks and breaking out in a sweat only to find out it was all in vain. She would find what she was looking for at another store that may not give her the pride she would have felt had she bought something at this particular place, but she would find it. I however, was a different story.

I’m not sure how these stores make money, is everyone the perfect proportion? I’m sure I’m not the only one out there whose boobs aren’t as voluptuous as her hips. Whose thighs are more endowed than … well anything else on her body. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. It was with this truth that I decided to accept defeat for another day regarding the lingerie. I am determined that I will buy something somewhere that is ‘out of my element’ in this area of my life, it just may not be as ‘spicy’ as I first wanted to challenge myself with – oh well it’s accepting the challenge that’s the main thing right?

I made a choice after this little adventure, I would not let this reign on my good mood. In fact I was more ready to take on my clothes shopping than ever! Off I went in a pursuit for the perfect jeans.

Now ladies out there, you know that this is mostly a pipe dream of all of us to find the ‘dream jeans’ right? (Especially if we are not wanting to spend more than $25 bucks). Well, I was hopeful so I entered a store across the parking lot with purpose.

After scanning the store for an unmeasured period of time I collected 8 pairs of pants, I was leaving no stone unturned, somewhere in this store there would have to be a pair of jeans that I would LOVE. As I went through my selections and created the ‘definitely not’s’ and the ‘maybe’ piles I learned that my goal was not as simply as I thought. I tried on my final two ‘possibles’ a few times to compare and chose the pair that happened to be on clearance. It wasn’t my ‘perfect pair’ but they were new and comfy and that was enough for me (even though I had mentally set out to only buy pants that I loved). I tried on a few other pairs of pants and found a winner; quickly I decided to go home with those as well. It was then I figured would be a good time to carry on to another store. To the check out line I went.

As I waited for the person in front of me to finish my eye got caught on something … more jeans. Hmmmm … I wondered. Is it possible that the perfect pair is still out there? Maybe. Should I try one more time and see? Yes, I should. Over I went, once again, to examine the options. This time I just grabbed one more pair to try. They were a style I never would be drawn to at all but in the back of my mind remembered was recommended for people with my body type. I thought ‘Yeah, but I never agree with fashion people – they’re way too out there for me. What the heck, it doesn’t hurt to try.’ I quickly got into a change room to see what the outcome would be.

Before my very eyes were my perfect jeans. (I’m certain I heard choirs of angels singing – for real, they were there!). I changed back into my clothes and practically ran up to the counter to pay, like the jeans were going to disappear if I didn’t pay for them instantly. I was so rejuvenated that I marched across the parking lot and walked into a bunch of stores I never usually go into. That’s when it continued … a new openness for style. I sought out only clothes I wouldn’t normally buy. Buy the end of my 4 hour excursion I ended up with a pair of perfect jeans, a pair of great pants, Capri pants, a casual dress, two tops that were waaaaay not me, and one of those scarves the ladies are wearing now a days as accessories – all for $125!! I thought that was pretty good. Not only that, I even walked into not one but two shoe stores and didn’t leave the second I saw shoes for more than twenty dollars (I even almost bought a red pair to match my new purse from a former adventure day, but they were horribly uncomfortable).

When Wally got home I modeled some of my finds, most of which he loved (all except for one sweater that made him ask what happened to the sleeves – it was the style, he wasn’t entirely convinced).

Adventure Day 31 was amazing for me. It was a day that was completely impromptu and full of application. Application of what I’ve been learning through some of my little self challenges. I realized it felt good to experiment with my appearance and see what all was out there for me to choose from rather than go to what I was used to. I can’t believe how much little things can change how you practically live your life. This lesson keeps tracking me down somehow, but I’m glad, because I’m starting to really have fun with it.

I wonder what’s next?

Adventure Day 30 - #39 Plan my next vacation

This item was a suggestion for my list by one of my readers. It was a good one but I have to say I had no idea how challenging it would be for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (I think I have), that Wally and I each grew up in families that didn’t travel much at all – they couldn’t really, neither one had much money at all. My family did a lot of day trips to places, some camping and lots of visits to a certain lake. Wally’s family didn’t do that much. A couple of trips up north to visit family and that was about the end of it. Needless to say this has affected our courage to travel, in a couple of different ways. For one, putting two of us in a car with a map and an objective is just dangerous. Wally has a decent sense of direction, I have absolutely none. Wally can navigate a map, my skills are again lacking in this area. Wally likes to get it right the first time, stay on track and find where we are going. I do too, for the most part, but when our two personalities combine in a vehicle for a long ride we don’t generally have a blast – things just get too tense when we are unsure about what we are doing.

This is a huge theme in our life overall (if you hadn’t noticed), that is one big reason for my 40 day experiment. Vacation planning was another big challenge. I have to say though when I initially put this on the list I was thinking that it would be more of me planning a vacation for the distant future. Wally and I both realize that when school is done we won’t be able to say to our new employers ‘we’re just going to start our jobs off with 2 weeks away – we’ll send a post card!’ However, with me getting this new position starting in September, we realized that the week before we go back to school may be our last chance for a good year to year and a half before we could indulge in travel. The debate began.

Where would we go? How long would we stay? How much did we want to spend? What would we like to do? All questions that we gave differing answers on. You see because of my motto of ‘Don’t wait to experience life – do it now!’ I wanted to go on a great vacation with gusto, to explore new things now. We’d never gone on a vacation that didn’t include staying with friends or family (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wanted to see what we could do on our own). Especially after this 40 day adventure I wanted to see new places, do new things and really appreciate something completely different. I was set on it. In my mind I had it all planned out. I just needed to purchase our plane tickets, book some accommodations and plan some excursions. I was so excited.

During the discussions Wally was much more conservative in his thinking. I hadn’t worked full time yet (though there was money in the bank for our trip), we only had a week and we still had to get our lives ready for the whirlwind that would begin with school, my job and the changes that would have to happen for all of that to work out. He wanted us to be able to go with peace and a sense of enjoyment rather than worry that we weren’t going to have enough money, time or sense that we needed to relax. That was the point right?

At one point we had even agreed upon going to my desired destination, the deal was we would just go for one less day, and cover less area than we had originally planned. We went to book our tickets and that’s when we realized it likely wouldn’t be worth the trip to spend so much money on flights when we couldn’t stay all that long. I was crushed (to say the least). I laid in bed with tears running down my cheeks trying to explain to Wally why this was so important to me, I know it didn’t make that much sense – we still planned to go in a year or so, but that was my problem.

Since my aunt died, I have tried to live apart from saying ‘someday this’ and ‘maybe later we’ll do that’, a sense of urgency has grown in my heart about life. If something is truly important for me to do I plan on doing it. If it’s something I think could change my life and help me grow I plan on it sooner than later. Anything that takes longer than a year to get to I don’t concentrate too much on. It’s not that I think it won’t happen I just feel a peace that it doesn’t need to happen now, meaning if it’s not important to happen now, I’m ok if it doesn’t happen at all. These are things I’ve had to deal with regarding having our family. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ok if I never have a family and I have contentment about it – it doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow a family, it just means that I’m not currently pursuing one, which means if it doesn’t happen I’ll be ok. If I die tomorrow I have no regrets about what I have or haven’t gotten to.

This trip meant something to me; I felt that I needed it in some way. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of seeing someplace new, doing something different or the idea of overcoming a challenge we’d never had nerve to try before – but I felt a sincere urgency to do it. When I say urgent, I mean urgent – bordering on hyperventilating urgent, almost fearful that if I didn’t do it now, I’d never get the chance. In many ways it seems like a very juvenile reaction, perhaps it was. However it is this need, to do things now, that I am able to live a fuller, more determined life. I honestly think, most of the time, in the realm of ‘if today was it for me or you, what would I choose to do or say’. I’m not kidding I really think it. I won’t lie, I don’t always choose the right thing to say or do, but the reality of life is very present in my choices. I don’t know of many people that are important to me right now that don’t know how I feel about them in some way – bad or good I guess.

This trip was obviously no different. After some time and deep thought I let go of it and accepted some new possibilities. I looked into a destination we could drive to a few hours away. A place we could both relax at and try a bunch of new things, something that was within our budget, yet still out of the ordinary for us to spend money on. Within a day I had booked a place then cancelled and found another one more within our price range and way nicer for one less day. I have to say that planning a vacation is not really my idea of a good time. It’s a lot of trouble shooting if you have nothing to build on. There’s a lot of risk involved. What if the place you go to is terrible, the service is bad, and there’s nothing to do? What about the money, is it worth putting out so much and not knowing if you are indeed at the right place?

I know I’m probably over thinking it all, I need to relax and just get excited, but these are things our parents never taught us: that it’s ok to spend the money to travel, relax and enjoy some time away. My parents are only beginning to do this. For years we felt guilty about doing these things because we were supposed to be ‘poor little us’ who couldn’t afford to do stuff while everyone else did. We were supposed to be mad at others for prioritizing travel and rest times in their lives. A few years ago I put a stop to that ridiculous school of thought and determined to not be like that. People earned their money and with that earned the right to do with it what they wanted. Now I had that same choice. To be honest I think some people are irresponsible by not taking time to go away and rejuvenate themselves, or challenge themselves to discover new places and activities. It’s disguised as being poor, when many times it’s being scared.

All of that ranting to say, I planned a wonderful 5 days and 4 nights away at a beautiful bed and breakfast a few hours north of us. We’ve got a room that sits over a river with a wonderful view. We will be able to try canoeing (we’ve done this once and I was rather terrified – my new desire to experience things should help with this one), kayaking (never done this), and paddle boating (it’s been forever). There’s also hiking trails and other fun stuff too. I am so looking forward to trying these new things and spending some time with my Wally. I can’t wait to tell all of the fun stories that I’m sure will find us!

Adventure Day 29 Part 2 - #38 – Go out for coffee with Pumpkin

Yes this day was a full one for me – I jumped from one sibling in my family to another in Wally’s family, but I was all a go and ready to switch gears. I say that because it is much different going from one person to another in a matter of minutes - especially considering the kind of conversation I had with my brother.

Here’s some background … Pumpkin is Wally’s younger sister. She is 6 years younger than me and seven years younger than Wally. She’s the baby of the family, just like me. She is creative, talented in many things, strong willed and loyal to those she loves dearly – I’d like to think we are similar in those things too (nothing like building yourself up). Pumpkin and I have had our ups and downs. When I came on the scene she was just turning 12, a scary time for every one that age, (along with everyone around them). It was not an easy adjustment to have her brother fall for and become enthralled with another girl – I was the competition and to be honest I was winning. That is by no means to say Wally loved me more than her, obviously it’s totally different, but his time and thoughts were all about his new love and that wasn’t easy for Pumpkin.

Wally and Pumpkin, in my opinion, were/are quite close. I think she looked up to him (both literally and figuratively) and it wasn’t easy to watch his attention stray from home. I probably would have felt the same if I had that kind of relationship with my brother. Needless to say we had a strained relationship at the beginning, we’ve tried through the years to work on it and there have been good times and some rough times. We have just not clicked naturally – some people just don’t and that’s ok, but I want to at least be able to figure out something that will work out for both of us, because once again I think there’s potential. Thus the reason I put time with Pumpkin on my list.

Let me be honest, sometimes Pumpkin scares me – she’s not someone I would whip my opinions around freely with, mostly because with every opinion I have she has one too (as does everyone really). When ever you have two people with strong ideas you have a potential brawl. I like to avoid brawls if I can, so I do try to be careful of how much I say my true thoughts around her. I don’t want to intentionally offend her or unintentionally offend her. I care for her a lot and I want a good relationship with her. Whenever you try to be safe guarded like that (with anyone) it does produce a sort of wall between you. Sometimes that’s the best for everyone and sometimes it just plain sucks. By intentionally taking time to hang out and talk my hope was that we could continue to build on something.

I picked her up around 11am and she was ready for lunch (as she hadn’t eaten yet and had already worked the morning). We headed off to a fast food restaurant and I was saddened to miss out on some yummy grease, however the smells were quite fulfilling. I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time to ‘connect’ in that restaurant or get conversation going so I offered to take her for some yummy ice cream, she was game.

After sitting we began talking about her pending marriage in October, the challenges that pre wedding stress produces, as well as regular relationship stuff. It was nice to have something in common to chat about and share together, I don’t know about her but I really enjoyed connecting. I’m not sure how it came up exactly but my blog was mentioned, as well as some of the items on my list. She started asking some questions like where I got the idea to do it, what had happened to change my outlook on life, what were some things on my secretive list? It was kind of weird, for the first time I feel like we were really talking and listening to each other – even though we’ve known one another for over 11 years.

Pumpkin never came out and asked me for the address to my blog but I knew deep down she wanted it. I didn’t blame her – with the secrets it holds and all (ok I’m just kidding). The whole thought of her being privy to my inward thoughts is scary because I know we don’t agree on everything and to be honest I don’t want to offend or hurt her with my honesty, or for her to take anything the wrong way (it’s easy to do when you can’t give tone to your voice). My first temptation is to sugar coat what I think so I won’t ‘get into trouble’, but I have promised myself to be honest and real on this blog and I am trying hard to do the same in life, and knowing that she’d be reading my deepest thoughts though intimidating it is freeing as well. At least then I wouldn’t be hiding, even though so often I’d like to hide what I think from others.

I knew I had a choice to make: either ignore the possibility of opening up my world to her, or just dive in and allow her the opportunity to hear my true thoughts in a safe venue for both of us - if nothing else unlock the possibility of her understanding me a little more.

I dove … welcome to my head Pumpkin. No matter what my thoughts are – know that this blog is my place to think things through, and challenge myself as well as others.

Most of all: always know that I love you.

Adventure Day 29 Part 1 - #4 Go out for breakfast with Marshmallow

This was the day – finally!! I had eventually tracked down my brother for a breakfast date. This was no easy task as he is a truck driver that does long hauls across the country every week. He works five weeks then is off for one. He does get about a day and a half off between runs, but it’s then he usually sleeps, visits Mini and gets ready for another trek out. I was lucky to get him when I did.

I showed up to his place around 9am and he had just gotten home. He was dirty (I’m not sure why), tired and minding the heat. I wasn’t sure how this would go - oh well. He quickly relieved my fears and changed his shirt, it still had holes but covered more area. In minutes we were on our way out the door.

After deciding on a little all day breakfast place, we parked and soon found some seats. On the way he had inquired about some secretive stuff that was going on in our extended family. He was a bit upset that he seemed to be the only one who was ‘out of the loop’. Though I probably shouldn’t have, I filled him in – making him swear he’d never let on he knew anything. I felt it was information that he should hear from me and know. I also was aware that more and more people in our family were aware of it, so I took liberties (I bet the secret is killing you eh? It’s too much to share right now).

Our conversation grew around that topic, we had some deeper moments of discussions and some not so deep. But there was something pretty serious on my mind, something I’d wanted to share with him for a few years, something I wanted to know from him. However, as many of you know I’m sure, it’s not always easy to just blurt out certain things, especially if they are topics you avoid with your sibling. But I needed to try.

Now I feel as though I need to tell you first what I shared with Marshmallow before I tell you his reaction. Many of you may have a hard time reading this, even learning this about me, but I’m ok now and I know that often sharing things you have gone through with others helps those who are listening as much as it helps you to share, so I hope you will be ok with my honesty here.

When I was around 10 years old I was molested by a great uncle of mine (that adjective so does not fit in that sentence). I always feel like I have to specify that the molestation (I really hate that word – it’s so awful) was not the worst it could be – it really only included touching, but with that I realize that the symptoms of that happening to someone are the same whether it was just touching or a more intrusive type of violation. No matter how someone hurts you the effects are the same: often a withdrawn personality, feelings of unworthiness and dirtiness, negative attitudes, low self esteem and a feeling that it was your fault. I had all of those things. (By no means am I equating the two kinds, rather I am stressing the fact that either way if you don’t seek help you can end up really messed up).

Though I knew what had happened to me at the time I didn’t know what to do with the information. It occurred while my brother and I went over swimming at my uncle’s house one summer (we went almost everyday), my mom was usually with us reading a paper or a book. He would go swimming with us and would just play along. But there were times he would hang on to me and not let go – I would scream my head off and he just held on –not in the right places. Anyway (I’m so sorry if you don’t want to hear this – please feel free to skip this post), by the end of the summer I was tired of it and had a feeling what was going on wasn’t right. Both my mom and brother noticed my lack of willingness to go anymore. They had each actually come to me and asked if what he was doing was the reason I didn’t want to be there – they never asked specifically but there was an underlying question of his motivations.

I denied their suspicions right away and just said I didn’t want to go so I stopped. If it wasn’t for them asking me and one specific memory I have, I probably would’ve gone on in life without even remembering or knowing why feelings about myself and him had started to change. By the time I was in high school a mentor of mine finally came out and just asked me what was with my negative attitude and low self esteem. I was shocked she noticed and shocked with myself that I even knew what was wrong. I had buried my memories so deeply I had nearly forgotten about it. But when she pressed to know more it flooded out of me and I shared with her what happen. She listened and loved and directed me towards some great counseling.

It took a while but I can honestly say I am fine now. I mean I’m ok. My scars from that experience have healed, along with my heart and I feel all the more beautiful because of it. But one question still lingered in my mind…my brother, had anything ever happened to him. You see, he is a hard person on the outside but so soft and ready to melt on the inside. He had rough teen years in a lot of ways, he spent a lot of time with this uncle of ours, but through the years and by the time my uncle had finally passed Marshmallow had grown very bitter and angry with our uncle and I never knew why. I have to mention too that my brother carries around profound hurts that go unexplained to me, do I think it was reasonable for me to ask if perhaps he too was hurt by this man.

Though I was very nervous I was set on finding out the answers to my questions, but I didn’t know how to bring it up, that’s probably why I shared some of the stuff I shouldn’t have with him earlier – it gave me an in. After eating some of my food and allowing the conversation to trail here and there I eventually brought it up. I told him what happened, that I got help and was ok, but left my ponderings open for him to guess what I was getting at. Finally he said it. He said that nothing like that ever happened to him. I looked him in the eye and saw that he truly wasn’t lying. On one hand I was relieved, on another I was completely confused (as his personality and reaction to much of life had me figuring he too had been abused), and again on a different note I was a little sad. I know the last feeling sounds horrible, like I wanted him to feel the pain I felt, but that’s not it.

I was shocked that I was the ‘chosen one’, that I was the only one. I was banking on having shared this wound with him, but I was alone. When he told me he hadn’t been hurt I just stared at him as if to say ‘You are kidding right? Tell me you are lying. Tell I wasn’t the weak one he prayed upon. Please tell me.’ But he didn’t. He locked my eyes and said nothing ever happened. I so much wanted to cry. This seems weird to me, because I really am ok (seriously not in denial), I worked through so much and truly forgave my uncle – I never liked him but I did forgive him, for myself. (By no means am I telling anyone else who’s gone through it they have to do this, but I was able to and because of it felt freedom). It just surprised me that there was that little bit of an unresolved piece to my puzzle that I hadn’t dealt with – I couldn’t’ have dealt with until now.

I quickly let go of that part of the conversation and moved on to what my brother was discussing. We continued to share different experiences and talks he’d had with my one grandfather that meant so much to him. It was serious breakfast conversation, but good too. We chatted for quite a while and finally got the bill. He paid (this was very cool because for years and sometimes still now he’s not had a cent to his name) and took his little sister home. He must have enjoyed the time because from what I hear he called my parents up right after and told them we went out. Since becoming facebook friends we have communicated more than we ever have (there are good points to facebook). In one of the last e-mails I got from him he told me he loved me for the first time that I can remember – and now I’m crying, stupid sentimentalness.

We decided (or maybe I decided) that we would have to make the breakfast thing happen more often. I never thought I would have a close relationship with my brother but I think there is room for it to happen. The whole being vulnerable thing is so hard for both of us; we weren’t raised like that at all. I think if we keep things up though there’s hope that things will change.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in life though, don’t wait for comfort to break the mold, just go ahead, grab a hammer and do it yourself. There’s no time to wait.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bugs and Loves

Things that annoy me …

People that complain no matter what their situation is: with a job, without a job, with a person, without a person, with a house, without a house, on and on it goes.

Dish clothes that need to be washed but you don’t realize it until your whole place stinks – yuck!

Dogs that scratch and scratch but have no flees

When quotes turn out to be ‘shots in the dark’

When my dogs misbehave in public

People that don’t close their mouth to chew

People that don’t close their mouth at all

When people ask you a question but don’t wait around to listen to the answer

When people tell me something that annoys them and I know it’s something I’ve done but they won’t just say it

When someone gets a job they have no business doing – like they could end up hurting someone

The fact that laundry never gets completely done – I don’t mind doing it, I just wish I knew it was finished for a day.

Pants that felt good on in the store and feel two sizes too small at home

I feel as though I must counter balance my negative list with some positive. Here are a few things I love…


Getting real hand written notes

Perfect fitting jeans

Skinny days

Making people smile

Reading a good book

Learning things I never knew before

Hearing a great laugh

Getting unexpected money

Giving out of love

Thoughtful gifts


Hearing ‘I love you’ from someone who means it

Having someone share what they love about you

Meeting great people because of this blog

Reading the comments left on the blog

Sharing my thoughts – even if they aren’t all that grand

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adventure Day 28 Add on: #21 Accomplish another task I’ve been avoiding

I’ll keep this short and sweet. As I mentioned earlier I had this item listed also as #9 on my list as well, apparently I’ve been avoiding a lot to have it show up twice.

The second task I’ve been running from was to make my sis in law’s (Pumpkin) birthday present, which was a pair of Christmas pajama pants. I’ve had the material for a while now and have just not wanted to dive into the job – no profound reason, I just haven’t.

I can’t lie, I don’t really feel like I did this task in the spirit of ‘the list’ but I did do it none the less. You see it was Pumpkin’s birthday the following day and they had to be ready – oops! Procrastination had kicked in.

I would have to say leaving it to the weekend when I had Mini over wasn’t the greatest idea, since kids generally don’t want to share you with something else, as they shouldn’t really have to when you invite them over just to have fun. So, I had to wait until my little one had gone to sleep to delve into my project. Luckily that was around 8:30pm and I got right into things as soon as she was snoozin’. By 10pm the gift was ready for wrapping without incident (that’s shocking, considering a sewing machine was involved and I’m truly an amateur).

That’s it. Pretty boring eh? Some things are.

Adventure Day 27 & 28 - #7 Have Mini Marshmallow over for a sleepover

I was very excited about what my next adventure days would hold. For the first time ever I was going to have my 5 ½ year old niece Mini-marshmallow for an overnight visit!

To many people it may be strange to hear that an aunt would not have already had her niece for a simple overnight stay, but for me it isn’t really strange at all.

You see Marshmallow and Mini-marshmallow’s mom weren’t actually ‘together’ when Mini was born. (Well obviously there was some form of togetherness involved but they weren’t a ‘couple’). Marshmallow and Mini’s mom had dated on and off for several years and even lived together briefly, but they just couldn’t seem to get things on the right track long enough to figure out their relationship.

I’ll never forget the day, over six years ago now, that Marshmallow and Mini’s mom came walking up our driveway. I was thinking ‘What are they doing here? Why are they together?! I haven’t seen her in over a year.’ We soon learned that they had come to announce Mini’s arrival - a bit of a shock when you weren’t even aware they were ‘together’ or whatever, but that seems to be how people roll these days.

Needless to say the past 5 years have been filled with the ups and downs of when Mini would go where and with who, dad visits and confusion of who was dating who, mom’s boyfriends and dad’s girlfriends – a big pile of ‘not fair’ in my personal opinion. A friend of mine who’s parents separated when she was only two months old, told me once that she was glad that she never had to experience seeing them as a couple because then she would’ve had to readjust and deal with them separating. I guess there’s always a silver lining somewhere.

I think it’s because of this confusion and juggling that I have never made the extra effort to juggle a time for Mini to come to our house – I don’t want to take her away from her dad time, or potential grandparent time either. (My brother had also been with someone else for the first four years of Mini’s life who I could barely stand – and that’s an understatement. I knew I couldn’t deal with her and whatever opinions she had on the issue). Now seemed like the best time to have my niece over for some one on one time, so I made a date.

Saturday morning Wally and I met Mama and Pop halfway between our place and theirs to pick Mini up (she had stayed at their house the night before). We went into a coffee shop for a short visit. It was then I noticed her unique eating style – to stuff three donut holes in that little mouth of hers and suck back her chocolate milk in a straw, skip the hole taking bites or chewing part, who needed that? We planned to stay for a little while to catch up (as we don’t see them that often) but Mini wasn’t too interested, she wanted to go to Aunt Eva and Uncle Wally’s house to swim in their pool. After hearing her plea at least 6-8 times over the course of a half hour we decided not to wait any longer – we were off to our weekend adventure together.

I had racked my brain to figure out fun things for us all to do together. I thought a couple of trips to the pool outside our building, a trip to MacDonald’s (what kid doesn’t like that?) and then the next day a visit to the local Children’s Museum. It took no time at all for us to get to the pool, within the first hour we were splashing in the water.

Wally had decided to sit out the first pool visit because in the past Mini has bonded much more with him than I. She has a thing for him – all men actually. No doubt due to the fact that she’s never lived with her dad or known what it was like to have a family unit. She often used to ask if she could go to Uncle Wally and Sweet’s house (our one dog) and totally forget about Aunt Eva and Sour. Honestly it didn’t really bother me, I would tease Wally about it and stuff but it wasn’t a huge issue, none the less he insisted on letting Mini and I ‘bond’ together in the pool over play. I soon regretted his decision.

I quickly noticed Mini attracted to this one little family. A mom, dad and three girls between the ages of 7 – 11, she was mostly noticing the dad. She would try to swim up beside him and poke him or get him to notice how she swam, she would also swim close to the little girls too - they had their daddy’s attention. We swam like this for about an hour and half and we did have a good time, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how desperately Mini wanted a dad’s attention. She also kept asking when Uncle Wally was coming down and how he was ‘missing all of the fun’.

As the day went on and we continued our agenda it became clear to me she was a product of two single parents that hadn’t completely grown up themselves yet. She asked for everything she wanted repeatedly and just thought she should get it. However, not once did she whine, complain or throw a fit if she didn’t’ get it, instead she’d just ask again. I soon realized she was definitely the spunky, mischievous tom boy I had grown to love (even though she loved princesses and dresses). Mini was not affectionate (like her aunt this way), did not want to just sit and do an activity (unless it had lights and noise), and most certainly had a narrow spectrum of foods she would eat (peanut butter and bread). Most of all, Mini just wanted the attention of a man.

As I write this I hesitate because I don’t want everyone to judge Marshmallow (remember I said I have a special spot for him – illogically so sometimes), he really does love his little girl, I know that. I just don’t think he knows how to be a disciplinary AND a fun dad. He mostly just disciplines. I can’t blame him entirely, I mean most men don’t have to figure out the dad thing with a little girl on their own, usually mom’s not too far away. However, that being said I’d like to slap him up the back of the head for not doing more to learn. In hurts to think about what could happen in Mini’s life if she doesn’t get the proper attention from her dad – I think we all know where that can go. I wish I could step in and just fix it all, or at least preach from the hill tops about birth control, adoption and family values, you know cause that would make it all better (sarcasm strongly intended).

At one point Mini marshmallow asked where she would sleep and I told her the spare room. She said ‘In Uncle Wally’s room?’
I said ‘No, Uncle Wally sleeps in my room. We’re married. That room (the spare) is yours to sleep in.’
Confused she asked ‘You’re married?’
‘Yes’ I replied.
‘When are you going to break up then?’ Mini wondered.
‘Um, we’re not planning on breaking up.’
She thought for a moment ‘Oh, that’s weird!’

This 30 second conversation was one of the most eye opening one’s we had all weekend. It was absolutely incomprehensible to her that two people would plan to be together always. She’s five!!! When I was five I would’ve lost my whole world if I found out my parents were breaking up and this kid knows nothing but discord. Wow.

As the weekend went on I learned how better to adapt to Mini and her personality (the most I’d seen of it ever at one time). She was different than any of the kids I’d worked with – did I mention I was a youth worker for 7 years? I had met tons of kids with screwed up lives, immature parents and no sense of permanency, but none as young as her. It hurts to think about it. All the other kids I’d met and mentored, I generally bonded with quite easily. It wasn’t difficult for them to open up and recognize that I cared and wanted to give them a chance to talk to me and really be listened to. I want to do the same thing with my little niece but the truth is she is young and not yet at that stage (it’s weird; she seems to bond quickly to people, but not really lastingly to them). I pray that she gets to that stage, and that when she does I am there for her.

I can honestly say that this weekend did not turn out the way I thought it would, with gleamingly fond memories and warm fuzzy moments. It actually was quite painful and heart wrenching most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved having my niece come visit and I am so glad I did it, but sometimes reality sucks – big time! I wish I could wipe away the past and start it all over for her, but I can’t. All I can do is love her, give her my time and pray for her life. I have seen God work miracles in the life of my friend I mentioned earlier. She was 12 when her own mom introduced her to smoking, drugs and alcohol. Currently she is finishing school with a low amount of debt, working in her field of choice, has recently taken in her wayward mother to help her get back on her feet, and lives a faith filled life and has a beautiful heart – I love her. (By the way she’s only 20 years old and has lived on her own since she was 16). She inspires me to love more, and reminds me that (as cliché as this sounds) nothing is impossible with God.

Really nothing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Adventure Day 26 – Part 2: #22 & #15

Not long after my invigorating and surprising news of my new job I got a shot of energy to clean up our apartment (wasn’t that supposed to have been done yesterday?). Dishes got done, ironing was defeated, garbage cans were scrubbed clean and phone calls were made. All in time to sit and relax for a half hour before Wally got home from work. Ahhhh, it felt great!

Then the relaxation wouldn’t come. No, I was way too excited! I decided to go after #22 on ‘The list’ and write 5 encouraging notes to people I’d never sent notes to before.

To some this may seem like no big deal, and for me it really isn’t one either. The reason this made it on my list is because I am an avid note writer and card sender. (I actually peruse card stores for fun and often but funny cards that are for birthdays or getting well and send them to people that aren’t getting older or sick). I’m not obsessive like some I know, but I do it more often than most. The challenge here would be for me to find 5 people I’d never sent notes to before.

I got out my stationary, extra cards and a pen and it took no time at all for me to find 5 people to write a heartfelt note to. In fact I was able to do all of these within forty five minutes (and yes, they were all ‘from the heart’!). I love writing notes, I love getting notes – I suppose some would say that is one of my ‘love languages’ (I wouldn’t know, I’ve never read the book), I just know I love to do this. I’m not sure why exactly, I guess it’s because I find it much easier to say on paper how I feel inside. It’s seems far easier to be honest that way and I value honestly – even if I can’t pull it off nearly as well in person.

#22 definitely reminded me that it takes no time to really sit down and brighten someone’s day (I’m assuming it will) and be honest with your feelings. It’s something I already do, but by making it intentional I was able to ‘spread the wealth’ of joy I was feeling by multiples and what’s better than that? Sending two greeting cards is twice as great as sending one. By no means am I saying ‘Just mail out a bunch of cards in masses’ (you know, like we do at Christmas, without even writing the person’s name you are sending it to at the top, never mind the lack of a personal message at the bottom – my supreme pet peeve!!!). I’m just suggesting we become more aware of who we can touch by just taking a few minutes to do so. I challenge you to make a list of five people (whether have done so with them or not) and write a few notes of thanks, encouragement or love, it’s worth it, and I know you’ll feel just as great as the people you are sending them to.

#15 – Go for a walk on the beach during a sunset

This number was one that could have (and almost did) slip away on me. I didn’t really think about the fact that it would take an evening out of my newly busied social life to do. Preferably one that was sunny, clear and without precipitation. I believe it was only the day before that I mentioned to Wally that time was running out for an opportunity to accomplish #15 before the weather decided not to co-operate. We agreed that Adventure Day 26 would be the day we would try and make it happen.

As I mentioned before my day had already been full of action and this activity would be no different. Wally didn’t get home until after 6pm and I hadn’t taken the time to make dinner (I thought a celebration out was in order). Once he walked in the door and we exchanged hellos and ‘YAY! We got the job!’ Wally went and checked out the anticipated sunset time for the evening, along with the directions to the beach of our choice and estimated time of arrival. We soon realized that we didn’t have a lot of time.

Within a few minutes we found ourselves having our celebratory dinner in the mall food court with a slice of reheated ‘to go’ pizza and then off we went.

As we began our journey and argued about the GPS person and whether we would leave her voice on or off, we were soon made aware of our shortage of time. This became even more apparent when every slowbo driver known to man found themselves tucked right in front of us. This did not seem to ease our drive at all (as you can well imagine), in fact we found ourselves getting even shorter with each other and more annoyed at the situation we were in. Wally kept commenting ‘Don’t these people know we have some where to be? We don’t have all night!’ I keep praying that the sun would choose to go down a wee bit slower than usual as I kept my eyes fixed on the clock to make sure we’d make it.

I have no idea why we didn’t plan this out a bit better. I literally did the math for getting there and witnessing the beauteous site like it was a show at the theatre, rather than the experience it would prove to be – a lesson I’m sure I needed to learn. All in all we made it to our destination with around 10-15 minutes to spare. Which means we had 10-15 minutes to gaze romantically at the sun until it disappeared. Let’s just say romance doesn’t breed well on a time line.

I did walk along the beach with my oversized camera around my neck. We got several pictures and I walked along the shore. We noted the garbage that littered the beach and how many tame seagulls found it their duty to stalk us. As I let the water splash my feet I whined aloud at the sharp gravel beneath them – weren’t shores supposed to be made up of silky smooth sand? Ouch! Not this one, that’s for sure! I kept walking, determined that having my feet in the water would help with the atmosphere, instead it caused my husband to poke fun at my stubbornness and me to continue walking on the pain filled stones – I wouldn’t give up.

As we wound down from our furious fight with time to arrive we both realized what a beautiful sight a sunset was. Not only that, but just the sight of the water (even though it was neighbours with an unkept coast). Evening was the perfect time to be there too, with few people and a cool breeze it certainly was my kind of date. Wally and I walked for a while up and down the beachfront and enjoyed our ‘down time’. We had really wished we’d made it there sooner to appreciate it for longer.

#15 was a wonderful experience to say the least (especially considering the escapade that preceded it), but it was too short lived, as so many experiences in life are. It is for that reason that I feel as strongly about life that I do. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the planning and implementing of something you anticipate that it is almost impossible to avoid disappointment if you don’t slow yourself down to really take the even in. How often do we do that though? How often do we really and truly SLOW DOWN? In this world it is rare. We don’t take time to laugh at the mustard on our shirt, or the funny thing the 3 year old said. We neglect to take the time to feel the love for the one beside us, and we often forget to clear our mind and enjoy beauty, whether it’s in our backyard, or at the beach. We usually just take for granted that we will have another turn to ‘do it later’. If there is nothing else that you take from my 40 Day adventure it’s this: Experience things now! Feel things now!! Use your senses while you have them – now!

Tomorrow is simply unreachable.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventure Day 26 – Part 1: Blood Suckers

Today was a pretty big day for me. I was going to get to do two things I haven’t done for a while and I was very excited. Ok so I was really only excited about one of them.

Today was the first time in three months that I was able to donate plasma. I only began donating my plasma maybe four or five months ago and just got into a great weekly routine (you can donate every 6 days) when I had to get my vaccinations updated for work. After I did that I couldn’t donate for 3 months and I was sooooo disappointed.

Someone who hates needles may think I’m a little crazy for being so sad over not being able to get jabbed with a giant one and then have my blood sapped out of me, but I have good reason. I mentioned in a post way on back how my aunt passed away from leukemia, well she required a lot of blood products and such for treatments and ever since I have wanted to donate my blood. However, as you know by now I am not the type of person to just run out and try something without a little help from a friend (although I am getting so much better at this). I was essentially a sissy and wouldn’t go to a clinic until someone else invited me or would go too. Let’s just say it’s not always easy to find someone without a million and one excuses to NOT go get the blood sucked out of them. I don’t blame them at all.

Anyways, one day a girl in my program at school was heading out after an exam to donate blood at the college, she invited me along. I thought ‘Sure, why not? I’ve been waiting for this chance for years!’ I was nervous and a little excited, not knowing what to expect. Once I had made my first donation I soon got a letter in the mail telling me that I had AB- blood and that only 0.5 % of the population had it and they wanted more of me. It wasn’t long before I got a second letter practically begging me to be a part of the plasma donation program. It was pretty simple, you signed up had a medical from one of their docs, filled out a little extra paper work and could give every week – the only catch was that it took a bit longer.

So I tried it out once and got such a warm, receptive welcome at the clinic (over my rare blood type) that I couldn’t help but go back – these people really got excited over AB- wow! I also learned that because with plasma donation you receive your platelets and red blood cells back during your donation (it all goes through a special machine to separate it) that I felt waaaaay better afterwards compared to whole blood donation. All that to say: I have been very fulfilled in doing this whenever I can. It really has helped something inside of me heal from the grief I felt over losing my aunt. It feels like I can give something back from the life that has been lost. I don’t know, it’s a very small thing but a very meaningful one to me. I am amazed at how doing something so tangible can touch a part of me that so isn’t. I love it.

While at the clinic I had brought my books to study for an interview I was having an hour later (for a contract position where I work). I thought I might as well be useful with my time (since I knew I’d be there for at least an hour and a half). My appointment was at 8:20 am, needless to say I was a bit sleepy, and in their big comfy chairs it would be so easy to fall asleep. That is unless you have a giant loud mouthed middle aged man beside you, which I did. He was totally within my reach to take my one of my books and slug him, and I so wanted to, just to shut him up for five minutes. Like couldn’t he see I was in deep thought here? Didn’t he realize I was trying to prepare for a big interview? Obviously not, because his voice seemed to get louder and more obnoxious by the second. I tried to sit there and just close my eyes and tune him out, but then I couldn’t study or go over my notes. I was getting annoyed.

Then I noticed him pinching his arm. Oooooooo he was done!! Yippee!!! I thought ‘Good I can’t take much more of you!’ It wasn’t long and Yappy was gone (of course not without a vibrant good-bye, or good riddance from me). A few minutes later another middle aged gentleman came strolling in. ‘Ah’ I thought ‘Surely this guy will now give me the peace I need to collect myself.’ Then he started. Louder and louder it got. What is with middle aged men and their stupid deer, traffic, road kill stories? I think I was attracting them today.

I obviously made it through and have lived to tell about it. My donation went well and I was off to my interview.

I am not unlike many others (at least I don’t think), in my distain for interviews. Who’s idea was it to come up with the crazy idea to put you in a small room with two other people who ask you questions upon questions for an hour and think you are going to actually give all the right answers? It doesn’t seem remotely practical but that is the way the world works and that is what I had to face. Luckily for me, Smiles was one of the interviewers and she (in no stark contrast to her name) was smiley and cheerful throughout. The other interviewer was my boss. She was alright but her expressions always left me wondering if I was totally off base, or completely on track – you’ve gotta hate that.

To give you some background I want to say that a few months ago I applied for the summer contract at my work and didn’t’ get it. I was totally counting on it and was sure I would get it – of course I didn’t have any idea how many were applying and how much more experience everyone else had - sometimes oblivion is good. I didn’t get the contract and I’m glad. I’ve learned so much since then and have loved my weird schedule and working with all different people. This time when I applied for a 30 hour contract, deemed temporary but is indefinite, I really was only doing it for the interview experience. I thought it would be awesome to get it (mostly because it would feel good to get picked), but in reality 30 hours of work on top of my 40 hours plus of school that was already happening in a week (32 of them in placement) didn’t sound all that appealing. However I applied and interviewed for it anyway, thinking that if (by a long shot) I got the job I would love the people I’d be working with (and supporting).

This interview itself seemed to whiz by and I could barely believe it when Smiles told me there was only one more question. When I was all finished the written component and left I felt amazing. I thought ‘I don’t even care if I get the job; I did the best that I could have and that feels great!’ Now during the interview I did ask when I would find out and I was told by the end of the day ‘That’s cool’, I thought ‘at least it won’t be hanging over my head’. Off I went. I was at home trying to read a book and relax two and a half hours later when I got the call. It was my boss … she sounded very peaceful and happy. ‘That’s weird, she’s had a rough week at work and I know she had tried to convince me out of applying at one point, why is she so happy?’

‘Eva? This is Big mama. I was just wondering if you’d be interested in the 30 hour contract?’ she said.
‘Uh, really? Yeah I would be.’

From there she told me that we weren’t in any rush and that the paper work could be done in the next few weeks, but that the contract was mine. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. I got the job. The 30 hour job. With the 40 hours of school. Yikes! But instead of feeling overwhelmed at the thought of it, I felt invigorated. I felt proud. I felt up for the challenge. It’s weird, when I look back even 3 months, to when I started my job. I would have NEVER believed I would apply or even get a 30 hour contract, and especially never be excited about it. I really do feel like a different person since I’ve started working there – I know that I am. As Wally and I chatted tonight on a drive it occurred to me that when I started my program I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the developmental services field and didn’t have any experience with it at all. And here I was a year and a half later getting ready to sign a nearly full time contract to work in my chosen career, in a ‘behaviour’ home no less (my last choice for work – I never thought I could do it!).

I don’t say all of these things to boast at all. I have sooooo much more to learn from so many people (some with an education and some without); I look forward to doing this. The reason I point these things out is because I took a risk, I got uncomfortable, I became vulnerable and by doing so I feel like someone took me and stretched me like play-dough, without a care for how I would feel along the way, but it all turned out for the better. I’ve noticed since Wally and I shook our lives up a couple of years ago that sometimes all it takes is one simple step out of your ‘zone’ and it will lead you to take a million more and slowly but surely you are brought to a new place, sometimes without even realizing it. How cool is that?

I wish words could express how full I feel right now. How excited I am about life. How thankful I am that God is so mysterious, yet so faithful. This truly isn’t all about getting a job, or even donating some plasma. It’s about seeing how He can grow life where there was once stagnation and death. (And how He can turn a post about two completely unrelated things into a perfectly intertwined lesson). Very cool.

I am in awe…

Adventure Day 25 - #20 Welcome my new neighbours with muffins

My Thursday was one of those days that I love. The kind of day you have nothing much really planned (but a little social time with a friend) and you look forward to just getting things done around the house. I love those days.

My agenda was clear: dishes, gym, clean out the fridge and of all of the grossities that were growing inside, laundry, prepping for an upcoming interview, a hunt for doggy bags and perhaps a stab at # 20 on my list.

Well by mid morning I had half of my list complete and decided that it may be a good idea to hop into the shower after my trip to the gym and before welcoming my new neighbours, it’s only polite. I did that and was very excited to learn that I was not feeling the least bit anxious about #20. It’s so weird how doing something out of the ordinary for someone you know seems so much more difficult than doing something nice for someone you don’t know. That fact made this item a lot easier to accomplish.

In no time I had muffins ready to go and myself smelling a bit more appealing. I whipped out the door and had knocked on the door beside us before I had a chance to think about what I would even say.

Quickly the door opened and an older lady (shocking!) opened the door to greet me.
I said: ‘Hello! I’m your neighbour beside you here. My name is Eva, I just wanted to come and introduce myself.’
She told me her name was Dorothy and her husband was Jack. I then handed her the muffins and she was very surprised and then invited me in.

I have noticed that older people do this. Maybe everyone does this; I’m not sure – invites strangers in. Both Bill, and now my new neighbours, invited me in when I brought a little gift, how hospitable! Now a lot of people would notice the disarray of the not yet unpacked apartment and be courteous and say ‘Oh no, you are busy, I just wanted to say hello’, but I decided ‘Why not?’ So I entered in and met Jack, did a little chit chatting and found out where they had come from, how long they had lived in their house, that they gave up their big dog to be here, and then gave a few ideas for what to hang in their kitchen (Dot wasn’t too sure what to do – I didn’t tell her that I was the last person she should ask).

After a few minutes of some ‘get to know you’ conversation I told them that if they needed anything just to call or knock and we’d do what we could. They took that and I knew that it would be a while before they’d ever actually take us up on it, but the invite was there anyway.

All in all #20 took maybe 10 minutes (plus muffin making time), but it was so very worth it. I think the saying ‘A little goes a long way’ fits perfectly here. I feel like I did a very small thing but in the long run it will go a long way (especially if our dogs ever get annoying). I also love learning that it’s easier to begin an open relationship with people than it is to try and do it later. Now I will be much more inclined to be myself earlier in a relationship and just reach out and be the person who opens up first. Though sometimes it’s a little scary, because you really don’t know how the other person will respond, more times than not you’ll meet a new friend and the more you do it the easier it gets.

By the way I also packed up some muffins for Bill the doorman and took them to him without a second thought! He wasn’t there so they ended up back in our bellies, but I met 4 different people in the elevator that were ready to jump me for them. I guess not many people make their own muffins around here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adventure Day 24 – City Life…

Wednesday held mostly a sleepless hangover from the 13 hour night (turned into day) shift I was on the previous day. In the afternoon I had to take the bus (which I haven’t taken in a few months) to work for a mere 3 hours and came home with a pounding headache and a desire to sleep. Work went very well and I enjoyed it but when I went to wait for the bus I was a bit early and when it finally came (20 minutes later) the sprinkle that had started halfway through my wait had turned into a steady rain by the time my bus came – I actually wouldn’t have minded if I hadn’t had that headache, oh well, I’m hear to tell the story!

Taking the bus again quickly reminded me of how much my life has changed and how much I have learned since moving to a city. I thought I would share some of my learnings with you…

One of the first things I had to learn was how to take the bus. Did you know that there are rules? Like don’t sit in the front, unless you are old, handicapped, pregnant, have kids or an ignorant student.

Know when to put the bell thing – too early or too late you’ll get dropped off at the wrong place.

If you are waiting at the college for a bus, be aggressive and make sure you are one of the first ones on to get a seat and a ride home.

Don’t make eye contact. Apparently people aren’t there to socialize. (Yeah, this one has a hard one for me to grasp – it seems so rude that people are always wearing their ear buds).

Many people don’t care if you hear every word of their conversation on the phone (really, did I need to hear all about your illegal activities on the weekend?)

People that read their book by the exit are annoying (and to me they’re just showing off, who can possibly read standing up on a crowded bus?)

I am seriously annoyed by people that will stand rather than sit when there are several seats available – hello, get out of the way!!

It’s always handy to know where the bus you are on is going, and where you should get off.

Other things I’ve learned since moving to the city:

If there is a left hand turn light you should always turn on it, no matter what colour it is. At least 2-3 more cars will take the left turn after the light’s gone red, feel free to try.

City people like Starbucks more than Tim Horton’s

It’s harder to find good little non-chain restaurants.

Chances are usually pretty low that you will meet someone you know at the supermarket.

Cities have more than one library.

Cities have more than one park.

Going to a mall across town instead of the one you live near seems to be a big deal to city people.

Cows are a big deal. Some people have never seen them before (in real life – weird!!)

One thing I have learned from going back to school is that when you go to the bathroom you are supposed to ask everyone within a 12 foot radius of you to join. Refusing an invite could result in strange looks and strong thoughts on your anti social bathroom behaviour (who knew going to the john was a group activity?)

A Conclusion to Adventure Day 22

I’ve had a great question from a reader and in case you all don’t read the comments I respond to, I thought it might be a good idea to give a better conclusion to my Adventure Day 22 about my coffee time with the person I thought I wouldn’t like.

In the end I spent a good 2 hour visit with Lady. The experience was great for me. It really did help me understand better where she’s coming from and who she is. Does it mean we will be best friends? No. But it has definitely taught me that there really isn’t anything that scary about going out for coffee with someone you aren’t too sure if you will like. In fact I think if you are the judgmental type like me it’s essential at times (to over come your judgments and go ‘there’ with someone) for you to be able to get over that and learn from it.

I am the type of person that does genuinely try to figure out people. Like: why does he do that? What happened in their lives to make them be that way? Is it natural for them to live such a full life, or did they have some sort of experience? Why are they always grouchy? Is it just their personality or are they hurting over something?

Sometimes the answer to these questions opens our eyes and hearts to accepting the other person. In my case it helped a ton. It will certainly helped me relate more to Lady in the future and give her response more credit than I would have before (yes I am that ignorant, I’ll admit it). I want to mention that she is a person with a wonderful heart that sincerely wants to please others and cares about how they feel. Though she doesn’t walk around with her heart on her sleeve and speaking her mind, I can still chat and stuff with her. I get the sense that she is the type of person that doesn’t always know what to do or say with someone like me. I like to dive into things right away, I don’t keep very much secret at all. There is something to be said for people like Lady who guard their heart and think first (I know the effects of not doing so).

There are other times though when getting the answers to these questions is tough to take. When you find out that it is truly a part of someone’s personality to be selfish or grouchy. They just haven’t learned how to be any other way – which you could then ask a bunch more questions about, the cycle never ends! I guess the bottom line is we should never quit trying to understand where someone else is coming from, whether we like it or not, I think it goes a long way, if we let it.

I like Lady because she let me in and told me part of her story – that’s worth more than anything else I could want – thanks Lady!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adventure Day 23 – A Progress Report

As you’ve noticed I have completed 23 days of my adventure, I thought now would be a great time to give a bit of a ‘progress report’ to let you now how far I’ve come and how far I have to go.

As of today I have completed the following numbers on my list:

#2 – Only visiting new to me restaurants, yes I’ve gone to one’s I’ve visited before but whenever Wally and I go out we make sure to go to new ones. I believe 3 or 4 in total for me.

#8 – Invite 5 people to read the blog, I’ve actually invited probably around 9 or 10. The funny thing is the ones I invited for the purpose of getting this item crossed off of my list aren’t the ones following it really – interesting :)

#9 – Accomplish a task I’ve been avoiding. I can now see clearly through the windows.

#10 – Use the dryer in the laundry room. Done it and until I will the slot machine I don’t plan on doing this again (and since I don’t’ really gamble I guess I’ll be waiting a while).

#11 – Ask some one I’m not too sure I like for coffee. I’m judgmental but trying to get better.

#18 – Go out for coffee with someone I work with. Did this and beyond, loving my new friend.

#23 – Expand my family. Did this just in time to lose one of them to a move, no regrets, instead making room for more.

#26 – Do something nice for Bill the doorman. Stretching but melted my heart at the same time.

#27 – Write down 100 things I am thankful for in one day. It only takes moment to be thankful and the simplest things count – we should think about this more.

#28 – Have a couple date with people we’ve never gotten to know before. Loved it, but will soon be saying good bye. Oh well, more possibilities to travel when we visit them!

#29 – Don’t watch t.v./dvds/youtube for a week. You find a lot of other things to do that get you out and about when you aren’t obligated to catch your favourite show.

#30 – Visit someone I haven’t seen in at least 6 months to a year. Enjoyed a great visit and remembered why I love this person.

#31 – Read through the gospel of John in the Bible. At first seemed a bit ‘out there’ considering it’s recommended to newbie Christians, then it was totally awesome as I read on. Shattered all of the ideas I was raised with about Jesus growing up going to church.

#32 – Go to the gym 6 days in a row. You can do anything you determine to do. And it takes a lot not to slap the gym lady who notices you’ve ‘out of nowhere’ been showing up to work out.

#33 – Buy a fashionable purse. Much harder than it looks, but I am now LOVING my new accessory.

#34 – Buy a bikini. One of the most awkward things I’ve ever done and am avoiding writing the post about trying it on (like the plague).

#35 – Go on a girls weekend away. Though I went with a bunch of strangers, it was fun and I’ll rarely pass up an opportunity to have fun and meet new people.

Items I currently have dates for accomplishing are: #4, #7, #12, #16, #17, #24, and #25.

I have not yet revealed what my last five items were. Here they are:

#36 – Try five new kinds of cheese

#37 – Try and write down all of the compliments I get for a week (I’m hoping this one will be a challenge)

#38 – Go for a coffee date with my sister-in-law. This will be more interesting than you think.

#39 – Plan my next vacation

#40 – I feel like this one should be BIG. But I’m still pondering …

One item I know that I have failed to complete is #1 – stop eating sugary foods for 40 days. I had really hoped that I would be accountable and that by doing so it would stop me bad habit, instead it just revealed how accountability doesn’t get rid of a problem it just helps it come to light.

But that’s why my blog has it’s title … because I am a work in progress, and I’m ok with that.