Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Day 181: FINISHING MY BLOG!

July 31, 2011

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 174: Archery

July 24, 2011

I had my first lesson in archery today! I think Robin Hood would be proud. I was born to shoot things with arrows. It’s too bad that I don’t have my own male version of Miriam to protect and fight for.

Again, this lesson was one of L.L. Bean’s ODS programs, and because I was the only one to sign up for the particular time slot, I had a private lesson!

My favorite part was definitely getting to wear these cool leather protection pieces. I wore one on my right hand, which pulled back the arrow, and on my left arm, which held the bow. Then I got to wear a little bag on my waste to put my arrows in! If only I had had these things when I was little and playing adventure in my backyard all by myself. I felt like a warrior from Braveheart or Lord of the Rings. Too bad Legolas wasn’t my teacher, though. Now that would have been awesome.

It took me a couple of shots before I even hit the foam block that the target was centered on, and then it took me a couple more to actually hit the target. It was harder than I thought it would be! I wasn’t expecting the bow to be so heavy and the string to be so hard to pull back! My arms were tired after the first round… and one of my rounds was only 3 shots! (Half of a normal round.)

By the end of the lesson, all my arrows were hitting the target, and I even got one bullseye! I felt like a warrior princess of the woods. Just call me Saraphina.

Now, my instructor said her husband hunts with a bow and that the tips on those arrows are a lot different. She started going into detail, and I felt like I wanted to throw up. I will admit, though, I would love to get an amateur’s bow and arrow and have target practice on the squirrels in my backyard. But I know if I hit one that I would probably cry.

I’ll just stick to shooting foam blocks with colored targets that remind me of rainbows and puppies and butterflies, and all things beautiful and happy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 173: Fly Casting

July 24, 2011

Being the girl that I am, I’ve always had a draw towards pretty things… like ribbons and such. So I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve always wanted learn fly fishing, which is kind of like fishing with a ribbon. Kind of.

I participated in one of L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School programs, and was one of only 2 participants in my group. Of course, with my luck, the other guy was declared a “natural” by our instructor, and was supposedly even better than some guys who have done it all their lives.

I could’ve taken this as a bad thing, you know having to try to look half decent next to the king, however, I chose to use it to my benefit. Not only did it take a lot of attention of my less-than-perfect casts, but It also gave me a chance to see a beautiful form to which I could only hope to imitate.

But, I was told that I was a quick learner, and because I knew what I was doing wrong  and when I was doing it, I was able to progress nicely as the lesson went on. By the time I left, I actually “threw out” (no idea if this is proper terminology) a couple of beautiful casts.

Did I catch anything? No. Not unless you count my own hair.

I did learn one valuable lesson, though. When I learned that you could catch shark with a fly rod, I was shocked and asked the one instructor if he did. His reply was, “Well, you can, but I don’t. I have a rule about that.” (Humoring the guy, I took his bait -pun- and asked what his rule was.)

“It’s simple,” he said. “If can eat me, I don’t catch it.”

Day 163: Fake Lashes

July 13, 2011

I’ve always been somewhat wary of fake eyelashes. I mean, what if someone compliments you with a, “Wow, your eyelashes are so long and beautiful!”? What are you going to say, “Thanks, but in about 2 hours, I’m going to go home and rip them off and stick them back on their little plastic holder.” ? Now that is what I call embarrassing.

Fake hair color is about as far as I go, but for the sake of the blog, I put my wariness to the side, and donned some fake lashes.

When I finally found the fakes in the drugstore, I had a hard time picking out a pair. I couldn’t believe that you didn’t just have to buy the lashes, but you had to buy a separate adhesive glue! Ridiculous! I bought the only one that came with the glue and was somewhat disappointed with the fact that they weren’t the ones I really wanted. Oh well, they were more budget friendly, and I definitely trust Revlon over “LashGlam”. (I put that in quotations because I refuse to acknowledge it as a real brand of anything)

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about putting these things on my lashes. It was hard! They ended up being a bit too far up and not right on my lash line, so I had to fill in the space with eye liner. Standing about an inch from the mirror, I finally got them to look just right. I stepped back and WOAH! They looked awful! In the last minute, two spiders had jumped onto my face and were taking over the tops of my eyes! I totally had to trim them, that was just all there was too it. I followed some cutting tips from the directions and finally had some more “natural” looking lashes. (Because there are definitely people out there with lashes 5 feet long, duh!)

Later, my sister, Liz, and I were on our way to meet up with our other sister, Deb for the night. I was driving my not-so-nice, “ghetto” car and making Liz listen to Cat Country 96 with me. All of the sudden, as I’m singing along with Dierks, Liz exclaims, “I feel like a hick! Riding in this car, listening to country.” I look over and smile. “And I’m wearing fake lashes!”

For the record, I am sitting at home right now, still wearing the lashes. I’m nervous about pulling these glued-on strips off my eyelids! Somebody help!

 

Day 133: Applying for ‘The Bachelor’

June 13, 2011

Just so you don’t think I’m an unrealistic idiot like all those people who go on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, I will have you know that this application was a complete joke. Not that I wrote silly answers or joked on the application (because I totally poured my heart out to the producers:), but I would never want to be on a reality TV show, especially one that involves competing against a bunch of talon-ed women for a guy who is pretty much paid to be Mr. Perfect. (Unless of course Prince Harry was the bachelor ;)

I do love watching these shows, though, don’t get me wrong.

So if the .000001% chance that this application would lead to getting a call for an interview does come to be, would I go? Well… that all depends on if there’s a free night at a hotel involved… then, yes, I definitely would. But just like that last sentence conveys, the only reason I would go on the show would be for all the side goodies and amenities! And that’s just wrong. I’m no Bentley, I’m not Justin “Rated R”. (HAHA, those guys are jerks!) You can’t pick out love from a drop in the pond!

So anyways, what did I tell them the reason for my desire to be on the show was? Simple. To find my one true love.

Give me a rose!

Day 124: Relay for Life

June 4, 2011

Today officially marks 23 years that I have been alive, out of the womb. I thought it was fitting that I participated in Relay for Life, an activity that is celebrating, honoring, remembering, and fighting for life. This was my first time participating in a Relay for Life event, and I loved it. I was scheduled to represent Saucon Community Bible Fellowship Church in the walking from 3 to 5 p.m.

I really wanted to run some of it, but the “track” was fairly small and crowded in some areas. It was a cement path that outlined the grass where booths and tents and entertainment was set up. All proceeds from sales went to Relay for Life.

I walked a couple of laps with my parents and then decided to try running. I made it about 6 or 7 times around when I realized that I probably looked ridiculous weaving in and out of people, signs, and tree roots. Oh yea, and the fact that I was tired, sweating, smelling, and getting a side cramp.

It was during my running that I kept seeing the sign hanging on the snack shop that read “Iced Mocha”. This might have been the only reason that I actually ran as long as I did. More running equals more iced mocha calories burned. I was on a mission: drink an iced mocha for charity.

I also noticed a skewer of fruit. I love fruit and that, I knew, was the more health-conscious choice of the two, but I just couldn’t decide. So… I got both.

Somewhere along the way, my nephew showed up, and we had a nice time walking around the track. Of course we had to stop at every balloon, and he had to have a bite and sip of my fruit and mocha, and he drew lots of attention with his high-pitched screams, but it was a ball.

Before I knew it, I had about 20 minutes left until my walking shift was over, and having a sudden burst of energy (most likely from the natural sugar in the fruit and the chemically-produced sugar int he mocha), I decided to finish running. Again, I lost track of my laps, getting so caught up in all the eye candy along the way. And by ‘eye candy’ I mean literal candy. And desserts. Ooh, and the jewelry. OOOHH and the adorable Great Dane. I can’t wait until I get mine (in like 10 years!).

By the time I left, I had had a really wonderful 2 hours. The presence at the park was that of unity, encouragement, and hope. So many people were wearing makeshift team shirts, or shirts signifying they had overcome a battle with cancer. There were many people performing fun and creative talents. I even saw one old woman (who was slim as a pin with no hips!) hula-hooping her way around the track. She wasn’t moving fast, but her determined presence was such an encouragement.

It was a great way to celebrate my birthday; taking action so that others can celebrate more birthdays. I think I just might make it an annual tradition (even if it doesn’t fall on my birthday), and I encourage you to try and participate in a Relay for Life event!

Day 91: Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”

May 3, 2011

HAPPY HALFWAY DAY! I am officially half way through 181 days, and I am ECSTATIC about it! My original plan for today had me going out tonight, but I was so tired all evening that I decided to treat myself to a celebratory 91st-day easy night and watch a classic. I picked It’s a Wonderful Life.

I know it might seem crazy to some of you that I haven’t previously seen this classic Christmas movie, but I’ll admit that I have always felt some aversion towards this film. I am a loyal White Christmas watcher, and any other Christmas classic just isn’t worth my time.

My mom has said that the movie is one of her favorites, but seeing as how I had to take the DVD out of the celophane it’s been wrapped in since she bought it a year ago, I’m not really sure that means anything.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 drama about a man named George Bailey, who thinks that his life is second-class until, upon considering suicide, an angel shows him what would have happened to his loved ones if he didn’t exist. The role of George Bailey was played by James Stewart, who I now know and love.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this movie. 2 minutes in, when the stars started lighting up and “talking”, I was like, “What did I just set myself up for for the next 2 hours?” The first hour didn’t seem to really be going anywhere. You know how movies set the scene in the first 10 minutes, and you can totally tell that the real part of the movie hasn’t started? Yea, try that for an hour. Although, I will say that while it was a bit of a drag, the writers did a great job in making the characters and the situations the got themselves into very realistic and relatable.

I will also praise the movie for the moral behind the story, that life is not all about where you go and how successful you are, but about what you do.

The one thing I’m confused about regarding the movie is this: The Christmas season only really comes into play for the last 10 minutes of this movie, so why why why is it pegged as a Christmas classic? Move over, It’s a Wonderful Life, and give White Christmas the extra love it deserves!