Day 181: FINISHING MY BLOG!

Posted July 31, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Uncategorized

Where do I begin?

One hundred and eighty one days ago I started what would become the most frustrating, surprising, stressful, and funniest thing I’ve ever done. I can’t believe I made it through! For the past week I’ve wondered what it would feel like today, waking up, knowing that my blog has come to an end. Waking up to my wonderful and normal life. I no longer have to wonder. It feels FABULOUS! I’M FREE, I’M FREE! <– Those capitalized words don’t do my feelings justice. Ugh, I wish I could make this font bigger. I would be filling your entire screen with shouts of joyous liberation, line by line.

This blog has certainly had it’s ups and downs. One particular low point, possibly the lowest one, came a couple months ago (I almost said a couple weeks, because it didn’t seem so long ago, but then I searched for the post and it was Day 116!). Day 116 was hard. I forget what happened, whether nothing was planned or something fell through, but I found myself sitting at my kitchen table at 11:30 at night, exhausted, with nothing new to do. (The late hour alone limited my options). I was so, so close to giving up. I was on the verge of emotional tears due to the war inside of me. I was so ready to close my computer and go to bed, throwing the whole blog project out the window. I wanted it so badly. Yet, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t! I knew that in that second of deciding, I would be throwing out 115 days of work. The only thing that kept me sitting at that table was knowing that I would never live it down if I quit. Too many people were supporting me and enjoying this blog. It was no longer just me involved. So I sat there. And cried. (And, yes, this is embarrassing to type right now.) Then I heard a small voice say, “Craigslist.”  God?? I perked up and listened. “Have you ever sold anything on Craigslist?” NO!!! I HAVEN’T!!! THANK YOU LORD!  And then I realized it was my mom calling from upstairs. THANK YOU LORD FOR MY MOM! And so the blog continued…

Looking back at that moment now, I just don’t know what to think. It seems so silly to be that affected, that burdened by this project, but it’s so true. This blog has been painful, stressful, burdensome. And all this self-induced! I’m crazy! I’m insane! What was I thinking??

I know what I was thinking. I was thinking of adventure. I was thinking of a challenge. I was thinking of proof that I could do something crazy, do something insane. (I was also thinking that it would be a great way to get myself writing, and possibly lead to a writing career later down the road, but that doesn’t sound nearly as fascinating and adventurous.) And that’s exactly what I got. Adventure, a challenge, something crazy and insane. I got them all. Although painful, this blog was also a lot of fun. I have learned and experienced so much in the last 181 days. I also realized what a privileged life I’ve been living that I had already accomplished and experienced so much before this blog. It made it very hard to come up with new things to do. When I started the blog, I only had about 60 some things on the list. Finishing the blog, I had more than I could accomplish.

And it wasn’t just the actual doing of the new things that was hard. Sometimes it was so easy to do something new, but it was the writing that had to come afterwards that was tough. It was a burden. I love to write, but I hit some major walls. Whether it was exhaustion, laziness, or just a lack of creativity, more times than not there was something that stood in the way of me and the words. It really stretched my determination. It was most noticeable in April, half way through my blog, when my writing lacked any creativity. I was so over the blog and my lack of enthusiasm showed in my writing. I believe this was the reason why April was the month with the least views on my blog.

Speaking of blog hits, here are some of my statistics:

As of right now, my blog has had 16, 990 views.

My overall daily average is 93 views, with 278 views on my busiest day (March 7).

My most read post is Day 66: Watching My Fair Lady. So surprising, right? Well it gets crazier. This post has been one of the top read posts for the past couple of months! It has had a total of 919 views, which is 3x more than the the runner-up!

I am also able to see how people get to my blog page (Facebook, Email, Search Engines, Links, etc.), and for the past 2 months or so, at least a third of my views come from people searching in google or outside webpages that have featured my blog. It’s so funny to see the terms people have searched that get them to me. For instance, someone typed in “how not to be nervous on the first day” into Google and ended up reading my post about my first day on the kayak job at L. L. Bean! Haha, I felt bad for the poor, nervous guy.

Now, this is the part where I thank YOU. You are the one and only reason for my completion of my blog. Literally. May I remind you of the little meltdown mentioned above. If you didn’t continually support me my reading, commenting and encouraging me in this project, I would never have made it past the first week. I have never felt more encouraged and loved by all of you then I have in the past few months. Any time I ran into anyone I knew or spent time with friends and family, I would hear about my blog, get questioned and be given suggestions. It was great!

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I can’t say it enough!

Here are some of my top picks for the following:

The “That was so much fun, let’s do it again!” Firsts- Day 11 Getting a pedicure, Day 41 Learning to belly dance, Day 42 Going to the beach in the winter, Day 37 Country line dancing, Day 24 Learning to drive stick, Day 74 Horseback riding, Day 95 Eating Kenyan food, Day 100 Ghosting, Day 88 Monte Carlo night, Day 140 Public karaoke, Day 124 Relay for Life, Day 157 Learning to sail, Day 153 Skinny dipping, Day 165 Going to a midnight movie premiere

The “This is so scary!” Firsts- Day 38 Giving someone a haircut, Day 33 Go on a blind date, Day 172 Camping in the Backyard

The “This is really hard!” Firsts – Day 157 Learning to sail

The “You’ve never done that?” Firsts- Day 139 Making coffee, Day 151 Learning to Dive

The “This is ridiculous, I’m so ridiculous!” Firsts- Day 81 Pictures with the Easter Bunny, Day 75 Dressing up as a clown, Day 65 Making an CNN iReport video, Day 100 Ghosting, Day 179 3 Step hide knocking

The “I’m blocking this out of my mind forever.” Firsts- Day 27 Cooking a live lobster, Day 62 Half mile sprint, Day 85 Trying breast milk, Day 115 Mowing the lawn

The “I DID IT!” Firsts- Day 89  Longboarding, Day 118 Learning to hula hoop, Day 106 Getting my boat license, Day 157 Learning to sail, Day 170 Learning to play the accordion

The “Well, that was a disaster!” Firsts- Day 7 Knitting, Day 62 Half mile sprint, Day 175 Mud sledding, Day 180 Crashing a wedding

 

Annnnd, it’s over. Keep a look out for my next blog, 365 Days, coming January 2012.

Just Kidding.

 

Day 180: Crashing A wedding

Posted July 31, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Events/ Visiting Attractions, Sports/ Activities

Movies make everything look glamorous. I believe this to be especially true when it comes to the movie Wedding Crashers. Perfect wedding, perfect crash. Just how it should be. Or not. We’d like to think that we can make our lives, make reality like a movie. But real life is far from the prefect ending, and tonight I found myself far from the perfect wedding.

All dolled-up, but not too flashy to attract attention, Bec, Dana and I arrive at the scene. Hotel Bethlehem, known for their beautiful (and ritzy) weddings, was all abuzz with two wedding receptions underway, one upstairs and one downstairs. We picked this venue based on a previous experience there. Attending a rehearsal dinner, we noticed how easy it would’ve been to slip into one of the reception halls unnoticed. The bars were outside in the lobby, and guests (most half-drunk) were milling all around. If tonight was anything like that, we’d be on the dance floor doing the electric slide with the bride and groom in no time! Unfortunately, that “if” turned into an “if only”- a wish for something that wasn’t.

Enter mean, intimidating, looming, wired, security guards. The minute we walked into the hotel, they had us sniffed out like dogs to a meat bone. I, however, did not know this, and so I was able to enjoy the first 10 minutes of our “scoping out” with a naive sense of anticipation and anxiety. We passed the Johnston wedding and made our way upstairs to see what the Taylor wedding had to offer us. Between the barricaded, closed doors, and the posse of hotel staff lingering outside in the hall, it was clear that we were being offered, well… nothing.

And this was the minute where Dana informed us that we had been and were being watched by the big guys. We were now playing a whole new game. We were in the big leagues.

We headed back downstairs to the Johnston wedding and I started making my way over to the entrance, trying to blend in with the guests in the lobby. The bride was standing right inside the reception hall, making it impossible for us to go all the way in to where the real party was happening. While skimming the “welcoming” table, I read about old Opa, grandfather to the bride, and looked at some pictures. I tried to add my congratulations to the happy couple on their “memory” plate, but the dumb dry-erase marker had run out. It’s too bad. I’m sure the Johnstons would have really appreciated it.

We were trying to figure out how to make our way into the party, when the bride came out into the lobby with some bridesmaids and headed toward the bathroom. Now was our perfect chance to get to the dance floor. And then Bec let out a gasp.

“OH MY GOSH! I know the bride! I know the bride! From work! I can’t go in, what if she sees me? I don’t want anything to happen!” And she was right, of course. What could she say? “Oh hey, how was your time at your wedding? Mine was great. Yea, I unknowingly crashed your wedding. Oops.”? I don’t think so.

All at once, our dreams of the electric slide and pictures with the groomsmen fell to the floor in a puddle of a wedding crash gone wrong. One of us knew one of them! We were doomed. And that wasn’t our only problem.

All the while, the big guys with the earpieces were slowly closing in on us. We escaped the laughing and marital bliss and headed to the bathroom, running into another wedding guest. We started chatting it up with “Betty”.  She asked if we were attending the wedding upstairs to which we quickly replied, “yes”. We sweet-talked her up, telling her that the wedding she was at sounded and probably was way more fun than ours (if the guests we had run into at both were any indication, this was definitely the truth!). She loved it.

She was wearing a glowstick bracelet, which we found out was part of the fun. Apparently the DJ was handing them out and all the guests had them. And then, something beautiful happened. She gave me her bracelet! This was my in! And, it matched my dress!

We happily made our way from the bathroom, Dana and I ready to hit the dance floor with my new, shiny bracelet. Our happiness was short-lived. Walking out of the bathroom, I practically ran head-on into a security guy. Bec and Dana turned back into the bathroom, and I was left to fend for myself. I watched him out of the corner of my eye and acted cool. He went over to the banister overlooking  the lobby and stood there, all nonchalant-like . So… I went over to the banister overlooking the lobby and stood there, all nonchalant-like.

Finally, Bec and Dana made an appearance and we all made our way downstairs, our tail keeping close.

This was not happening. Our crash was over. The guests were great, the music was great, the happy couple looked great, but the dancing? Well, we’ll never know if that was great. But I must say, I would totally be up for having my wedding at Hotel Bethlehem. At least I know the security is tight enough to protect my cake (or ice cream sundae bar:) from any crashers. I’d like to see Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson make it into that one!

P.S. We left our phones in the car, so no pictures were taken. Here is one of me after the fact with my special wedding bracelet!

Thanks for the bracelet, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston! Congrats!

Day 179: 3 Step Hide Knocking

Posted July 29, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Sports/ Activities

This afternoon found me in a stranger’s garden, cowering up against the corner of his house, my feet covered in dirt, my heart racing… hoping I wouldn’t found. I was 3 Step Hide Knocking. If you have never heard of it, you must watch this. It is possibly the funniest thing since the invention of clowns.

Basically, 3 Step Hide-Knocking is this: You get a friend, put a bag over his head, lead him up to a house, ring the doorbell and rip off the bag (and run!). Your friend now has 3 steps he can take before hiding from whoever comes to the door. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

So I tried it. I was the “friend” who had to hide in 3 steps.

Now, if you watched the video above, you’ll see that Hamish and Andy got very daring when it came to hiding. I’ll just tell you right up front, I was not! In fact, I almost chickened out while driving to the first house! It didn’t help that I was sitting in the back of the car with a smelly bag over my head, listening to my sister and friend talk about how crazy this is and what people will think.

Once we got out of the car, we decided to forgo the bag. It would have caused quite a scene with passers-by. Instead, I just closed my eyes. You’ll have to trust me on that one.

So, unfortunately the first house, which was supposed to be the most climactic and nerve-racking, turned out to be a dud. No one was home.

Was I courageous enough to try again? Yes. Ok. With a little coercion, I did.

Against my better judgement, I will encourage you all to try this. It is probably dangerous and not very nice to your “victims”, but what an adrenaline rush! And it’s so fun for your friends to watch.

Here is a video of one house. (After I hide, fast forward to 1:56) It’s not the greatest, because the man didn’t come to the door for like a minute, and when he finally did, he just closed it right away, not seeing me around the corner. I’ll have you know that that minute I was hiding felt like forever.

Another surprising fact: having my sister lead me while my eyes were closed might have been scarier than trying to hide! I am definitely going to have to try this more often.

Ah, what I would give to go 3 Step Hide Knocking with Hamish and Andy…

On a side note: Tomorrow I will be crashing a wedding. I hope that turns out0 wish us luck!

(P.S. DID I MENTION I ONLY HAVE 2 MORE BLOG DAYS LEFT?!?!!?!?!?!)

Day 178:Doing Doughnuts

Posted July 28, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Sports/ Activities

I remember the first and only time I was a passenger in a car that was doing doughnuts, and it was possibly the best time of my life. However, I’ve found that being the driver of the car is a whole different story. At least for me it is.

Tonight, my sister, Bec, came with me as I attempted to do doughnuts (doughnuts with my car… if you didn’t figure that part out yet:). It was somewhat terrifying. I spun my wheel hard and held it, that being the easy part, but I just couldn’t seem to make myself go very fast. I mean… I felt like we were going fast, but Bec was apparently not impressed.

I just felt like my car was going to flip over at any second, sending me skidding across the pavement. And I could hear my tires squealing, and feel them starting to skid. Why in the world would I want to go faster? I wouldn’t!

Here is a video Bec took while I was driving. That little liar told me she was taking a picture! Sorry you can’t see anything, but that makes two of us. I pretty much had my eyes squeezed shut throughout the whole ordeal. (Bec would want you to take note of my little laugh at 0:20)

After trying to coax me to go faster (more like demanding it:), Bec made me switch seats with her so I could experience a “real” doughnut. (My previously mentioned experience was years ago). She sped up the car and then yanked the wheel to the left. I let out a terrified and distressed shriek as my body slammed into the passenger door. I begged her stop as we spun and spun. Finally she complied and I got off the ride.

I think I’ll stick to eating doughnuts, and not driving them.

Day 177: Using a chainsaw

Posted July 28, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Sports/ Activities

Remember when I discovered my love for power tools on Day 23? Yea, I didn’t really remember either. Well, I rediscovered my love for them today when I was introduced to… the chainsaw. (dangerous music plays) Now, while I loved the power I felt while using (and even just holding) the chainsaw, it was still a very scary thing for me.

If you think about it, the chainsaw is a really horrifying invention. It’s a chain that spins so fast it can cut clean through a thick piece of wood in a matter of seconds. How did this come about? In my opinion, any tool that can be used as the primary weapon for a horror movie about torture and killing should not be allowed to be invented and used by man.

I guess my opinion really doesn’t count. Well, you know what they say- “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” And join them I did.

My friend, Roger, gave me a lesson in chainsaw 101 and supervised me as I cut through some tree branches. Let me tell you, that thing was scary in my hands! If the loud, harsh noise isn’t enough to make you want to hide, then the spinning chain in your hands will definitely get the job done.

It took me a couple of tries before I was able to get the hang of it. I would start to put some pressure on it, pushing it into the wood, but it would start to bounce a little. Instead of taking this as a sign that I needed to apply a little more pressure, I would get nervous, and pull it back a bit, causing it to buck even more. I finally got out the guts to control the darn thing, and was soon cutting enough wood to fuel 10,000 fires! (Total exaggeration)

Once I felt comfortable using the chainsaw, I fo- wait a second… I never felt comfortable using the chainsaw. In fact, putting the chainsaw down didn’t come soon enough!

Once I was done with my lesson, I had to do something girly right away. Roger has an awesome swing set up in one of his trees and I made a beeline for it. Now this was much more my style.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Day 176: Gathering eggs from a chicken coop (and more!)

Posted July 28, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Sports/ Activities

While I am no snooty city girl, I am certainly not a farmer’s daughter either. I did not grow up milking cows at 4 a.m., I did not have to muck out stalls, and I never had to gather the eggs from the chicken coop. I will admit that I am really glad I haven’t done these things. Not only are they hard work and not that enjoyable, but they also provided me with some great blog experiences.

On Day 112 of this blog, I got to experience milking a cow for the first time, and today… I did my time in the coop. (and, NO, I will not be mucking out stalls!)

My friend, Steve, grew up on a small farm and was willing to take me and show me how to gather eggs. I was pretty excited and slightly nervous about this. I was excited because I could finally share an adventure with Laura Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie, anyone?), but I was nervous because I didn’t want to get my hands pecked at.

When we came upon the chicken coop, I was relieved, but surprised, to see that the chickens were outside attacking the grass and not inside waiting to attack my hands. I somehow visualized having to stick my hand under the chicken to get the eggs. I think I got this picture from a movie. And of course I believe everything I see in movies.

Now, I don’t know why, but every time I stuck my hand in one of the coops, I was afraid something was going to happen. I don’t know if I was expecting something to bite me, crawl on me, squawk at me, or for my hand to hit a pile of poop, but I just felt so timid and cautious. This could also have something to do with the fact that Steve and his wife, Courtney, were standing behind me inspecting my job, taking pictures and, I’m sure, wishing that the chicken nearby would start attacking me or hoping that I would drop an egg.

Thankfully, I collected all the eggs without mishap. When I was done, they both asked me, “Are you sure you got all the eggs?” I was suddenly second-guessing my egg-collecting skills and double-checked each coop. (Are all the individual “cubby holes” called coops? Or is just the whole structure that houses them?)

Anyways, after collecting eggs, I got to hold a little baby rooster and feed the chickens. The baby rooster was obviously the highlight of the experience. On our way out of the chicken coop, we had to walk down a wooden ramp that had little ridges on it to step on. Of course, of all the times to trip, I just had to pick the 3 seconds I was walking down the ramp. I tripped. And up went the milk jug… and down went the milk jug… and all I could see were eggs hitting the ground with big splats!

OK, not really. However, while walking down the ramp, I did mention to Courtney and Steve how awful it would be if that did happen. Then I would have really shared an experience with Laura Ingalls.

I was just starting to really feel like a farm girl, when Steve’s dad asked me if I wanted to dig out some potatoes and onions from the garden to take home. Of course I said yes! It was the perfect way to end my “farm” experience.

I think I just might be ready to marry a cowboy. Maybe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 175: My miserable attempt at mud sledding.

Posted July 26, 2011 by Sarah Sullivan
Categories: Sports/ Activities

This was one of the biggest firsts-gone-wrong for me.

After watching the movie “Charlie St. Cloud”, I have been very eager to experience mud sledding, and have tried to go the past few months. However, I could never find anyone who wanted to go with me! It seems that my once-adventurous friends have grown up. (I will probably be getting quite a few rebuttals to that statement, but I’ll take my chances:)

Today, with all the rain we got, I figured I would try one last time to round up some sledders. In the end, I found myself alone in my car, making my way to some hills, a pizza box on the seat next to me. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “A pizza box?” In my defense, I will tell you that I wasn’t thinking. When I think, I’m quite smart, but when I don’t think… well, let’s just say things can get ugly.

As I was driving, I realized that there might be people running on the trails where I was going, and it would be pretty embarrassing for them to see me sledding down a muddy hill on a pizza box by myself. I could just read their piteous thoughts: “That poor girl, what a weirdo, sledding on a pizza box in mud? And she doesn’t even have any friends!” I panicked for a second, wondering what I would say to passers-by, and then came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t have to say anything. No one would be running on the rainy, muddy trails.

Well, as my luck would have it, the car in front of me pulled into the parking lot. A dog jumped out of the car, followed by two men. I waited for a minute in my car, seeing what direction they were headed, thinking that I could wait until they were out of sight and hit the other side of the trails. But of course, they decide to just hang out in the field by the lot, throwing a ball for the mutt. I sighed and weighed my two options. I could either drive to some not as awesome, but decent hills I knew were on the other side of the trails and keep my dignity, or  I could get out here and say hello to them, while carrying my flattened pizza box across the field in the rain. This was a no- brainer for me. I chose the former and put my car back into drive.

A few minutes later I was sitting on my “sled” at the top of a grassy hill. A friend of mine who had gone mud sledding before had told me that you usually have to create your trail before it gets slippery and muddy, so I assumed that a grassy hill would work with a little patience. I pushed my body forward, waiting for gravity and the slippery grass to do their work. Nothing. Not even a slight slide. OK, I guess she wasn’t kidding about having to create your own trail! I started to push myself down the hill, slowly, my cardboard squeaking as it matted down the grass. I finally got to the bottom and looked back at my worn-down path. The good news was that I made it! The bad news was that my cardboard did not. I picked up the soggy box and realized that it would only last a few more runs and my grassy path would need more than a few runs to get muddy.

I made a quick decision. I would have to go to the hills that were already worn down to mud. I jogged the trails some and came to the steepest hill. It had a long, muddy path worn down the center of it. Perfect! I sat down on my box and pushed my body forward. Again, nothing. I was now getting frustrated. My sled was terrible! What was I thinking bringing a cardboard box? Cardboard softens and breaks! I’m so dumb! I was getting nowhere! And, I was going to miss the Bachelorette!

I tried a few more muddy hills, all unsuccessful. Aside from my first self-powered trip down the grassy hill, I had probably only sledded a total of 5 feet. That’s not even sledding! That’s sitting on a box and just happening to move a bit!

It was a long, embarrassing, defeated walk back to my car. This just might have been the biggest failed attempt my blog life has ever seen.

I blame my mud sledding failure on my friends and family. If I had had some other people with me, we might have actually had a sled made out of plastic to slide on, and we could’ve made a super muddy trail in no time at all. It is all your fault! ;)

But really, it was just pathetic. I fully intend to try mud sledding again. I will not be pathetic.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.