New thing(s) #31: Last Day Wrap-Up

IMG_4643I had big ideas for the last day of March and this new things project. I wanted to go out with a bang, but none of my ideas seemed to fit. I thought about a helicopter or hot air balloon ride (something about a greater perspective), but it was a bad weather day for that. I thought about doing something crazy like skinny-dipping in the bay, but, just… no. I considered dyeing my hair a new color or taking an epic hike, but none of it felt quite right.

I think it’s because I don’t want the project to be over. It was exhausting, and things didn’t always go the way I planned. Frankly, sometimes the whole thing was a gigantic pain in the ass. But someone asked me today why I started this to begin with, and I think it was about more than celebrating my birthday. It was about wanting something more. Being hungry for something but not knowing exactly what it is.

I am a very contented person most of the time. I am beyond grateful for everything and everyone that I have. But the older I get, the more I think about the responsibility I have to myself to make my life what I want it to be. I usually try to go for what I want, at least in small ways, but too often I let fear, doubt, routine, and just plain laziness keep me from doing. I squander opportunity on a daily basis, and this month was no exception.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of myself. I did try a lot of new things. I did go out of my comfort zone. I did post on this damn blog every single night. But there was always something more I could have been doing. More ways I could have been braver or stretched myself. Places I could have gone that I’m not yet (and maybe never will be) willing to go.

I guess there’s always something more we all could be doing for ourselves, more ways we could let ourselves grow. That’s why I don’t want to think of this as an end. It’s not really a beginning either, just a continuation. Which is why I decided, on this last day, to make sure that I continue.

I spent the evening booking things on my list that I didn’t have a chance to get to this month, including the following:

 

Utah_United-States-inline

Plan a trip to a new state. If you read the About Me section, you know that I want to visit all 50 states. I’ve been on and off planning a trip to Utah in my head for months, and today I went the extra mile to pick some dates, and book a hotel. I’m planning for a September fall foliage road trip. This will be my first real solo vacation, and I think state #25, which means I’ll be half way there!

 

improvement_image

 

Golf lesson. I love swinging a golf club, and I’m not too bad at it either, but I’ve never taken a lesson, so I finally booked one for the end of April.

 

 

de-young-museum1

 

Go to the de Young Museum. This is one of the most famous museums in SF and I’ve still never been, so I finally bought tickets. Fun fact, the first location of the de Young opened on March 24th (my birthday), 1895.

 

 

Amtrak-01-800x482

 

Apply to the Amtrak Writer’s Residency. I haven’t officially applied yet, but I started my application statement. To read about the program, click here. I’m definitely ready for another train trip.

 

 

Special thanks to:

-Everyone who read, commented on, liked, and followed this blog.

-Everyone who participated in one or many of my new things. It meant so much to have you there with me to hold my hand and laugh at with me.

-Everyone who cared enough to ask how things were going, and what my new thing was for that day. Your interest was influential in this.

-My family, especially my parents for their never ending love and support.

-My friends. I know you’ll love me no matter how many crazy things I try or stupid blogs I start.

 

IMG_4879

 

New thing #30: Multnomah Falls

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)Before heading home today, Roxanne took me to Multnomah Falls. I’ve wanted to see this waterfall for years, so I was excited to finally cross it off the bucket list.

Multnomah is 30 minutes outside Portland along the Columbia River Gorge, and the second tallest year-round waterfall in the US (the first I think is Yosemite Falls). We also drove to the Vista House Crown Point lookout.

All I can say about Multnomah, is that there’s nothing to say about it. Words fail. Everything, the surrounding green, the mossy trees, the mist in the air, the biting cold, the stone steps, the old bridge (broken a couple months ago due to a rock slide), every bit of it is almost too beautiful. I felt like the David After the Dentist kid… “is this real life?”

I’ll just let the pictures (I couldn’t stop taking pictures!) speak for themselves. Thanks, Roxanne, for a great trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New thing #29: Portland (Day 2)

 

IMG_5752Today was a full day of Portland must-dos. Our first stop in the morning was Voodoo Doughnuts (a Portland institution), where we waited in the pouring rain in probably the longest line for a doughnut you’ve ever seen. It was Roxanne’s first time there too. She said she heard the doughnuts weren’t that good and people only go there because it’s famous.

We tried a few, and I have to say, I thought they were pretty F-ing delicious.

Next stop was the downtown Saturday market, where we didn’t spend much time due to the aforementioned rain. It was similar to a standard art & wine festival, but there were lots more interesting booths and art. We probably would have spent more time there if we weren’t soaking and playing a big game of umbrella bumper cars.

After that Roxanne went home for a bit and dropped me off at Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s is the world’s largest chain of independent book stores, and at this location you actually need a map to find your way around, which means of course, that I was in heaven. I was texting Roxanne to take her time. Don’t pick me up. I’m fine here all day. I went to every floor, loitered in the rare book room, went to all my favorite sections, and walked out with a bag full of books and gifts.

After that we went up on the Portland Aerial Tram for some awesome city views, then had lunch at Urban Fondu (my first time at a fondu place), and then went shopping on Hawthorne Street. For dinner we went fancy. Portland City Grill is on the 30th floor of a downtown building, and the restaurant has amazing 360 views of city.

I can’t believe I have to go home tomorrow!

 

 

 

New thing #28: Portland (Day 1)

IMG_5685First I want to say that I’m so glad I decided to take the train. I don’t think I had any movie-worthy train moments, and I didn’t get much sleep, but it was still pretty fun. I brought a backpack full of entertainment, and I barely touched any of it. I wrote a little, but I didn’t read. I didn’t watch the DVDs I brought. I barely listened to music. All I wanted to do was look out the window. I felt guilty even napping because I didn’t want to miss any good scenery.

When I first got on the train it was so packed that they were assigning seats, and I did NOT get a good one. I was on the aisle next to a guy who had the window closed. As soon as the observation and dining cars opened, I left to go enjoy some of the view and some breakfast. When I came back, some people had gotten off the train and I was able to finagle my way into a window seat, and I had the seat next to me to myself too! This was imperative to enjoying the ride. Can we all agree, that life is always better in the window seat?

I arrived at the Portland train station groggy but excited. Roxanne picked me up (reunited and it feels so good!) and our first stop was her apartment, where I met her two cats and developed huge feelings of jealousy that she lives in such a cute neighborhood.

Her place is within walking distance to tons of restaurants and shops, so we spent the day walking and shopping around her ‘hood. She took me to dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant, and for dessert we went to the city’s most famous ice cream place, Salt & Straw, where we waited in the always present out-the-door line. This was seriously some of the best ice cream I’ve EVER had. I mean, Oprah put this ice cream on her favorite things list, so… you know it’s good.

After that we stopped by one of her favorite neighborhood bars, then went to see a movie at one of the city’s many “view & brew” theaters. Portland is big on beer (they have the most breweries per capita of any other US city), so they found a way to include it with their movie watching.

Portland seems like a perfect city for a short weekend visit. Everything is close together, so you can see and do everything on your to-do list in a short amount of time. And the best way to see any new city it is with a friend (preferably one you’ve known for 20+ years who you are way overdue with catching up with) who can show you the ropes.

 

 

 

New thing #27: Taking the Train

Coast StarThis weekend I’m going to visit my friend Roxanne in Portland, OR. Although I’ve driven up and down the Oregon coast with my family, we never made it to Portland, so I’m psyched to see my friend and explore a new city. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to take a train trip, so I decided to take the train to Portland for my new thing. I leave tonight, and I’m posting this now because according to the Amtrak website, my Coast Starlight train does not have Wi-fi access (at least not for lowly Coach passengers like myself).

My one-way trip (I’m flying home) from Martinez to Portland is 17.5 hours. This sounds like a drag to some people, but I couldn’t be more excited! I will be well equipped with my laptop, movies, music, books, and whatever else I can think of to bring to keep myself entertained. Mostly I’m looking forward to just watching the scenery roll by, at least during the daylight hours. Since it’s an overnight train, I’m hoping to get at least a little sleep, so when I get to Portland tomorrow afternoon I won’t immediately pass out.

Can’t wait to (hopefully) tell you how awesome the train was. I’m imagining it to be just as cool as all movie train scenes are. Like, I’m pretty sure I will either a.) find a magical secret platform, b.) sing about Snow, Snow, SNOW!, c.) meet Ethan Hawk who will become the love of my life, d.) participate in some hijinks with some funny dudes disguised as women, e.) get stuck on the tracks and have to train dodge at the last minute. Do you think my expectations may be too high?

harrypotter_platform93_41  snow  before-sunrise-1995-ethan-hawke-julie-delpy-train-meeting-review  SomeLikeItHot_056Pyxurz  standbyme

 

New thing #26: Sketch & Updates

IMG_5490

Instead of the typical card and cake, my boss asked if I wanted to do a “new thing” for my work birthday celebration. I thought of going out for ice cream, and she suggested we go to Sketch down the street from our office (which happens to be across from the Sierra Nevada tasting room). They are known for their made in-house daily, organic ice cream, and offer more unusual, “boutique” kinds of flavors (I got the vanilla lavender swirl). It was nice to get a small break from the rain, take a walk, and move the work birthday ritual out of the office for a change.

 

Also, today my friend Jamie took me out to lunch for my birthday and gave me this awesome card. She said it made her think of my new things project.

IMG_5482

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATES:

Some people have been asking how certain things are going, so here are a few updates:

  • One of the brides from the Narnia wedding commented on the blog when she got back from her honeymoon, and I was stoked that she seemed happy with it.
  • I’m only on page 110 of War & Peace. I hope to catch up after this crazy busy month is over.
  • I was happy to see that the acts of kindness seemed to be spreading. A couple weeks ago someone left change in an envelope taped to our work vending machine. Written on the envelope: “The next one is on me.” Also, more co-workers ended up reading the blog than I anticipated, so at least one of the “anonymous” card recipients found out it was me who gave it to them. Oh well, you can’t expect anything to be kept secret once you put it on the internet.
  • I haven’t been back to BodyCombat class. I’ve barely been to the gym this month at all. Come April I plan to make a full comeback!
  • Mom and I watched our episode of Dance Party. We got on camera a decent amount, but I was surprised by how lame my dancing was, or should I say, my standing around. In my head I thought I was dancing, but on TV, I look like I’m barely moving! Maybe I was more nervous than I realized? I think the only way I would go back is to redeem myself. Go big or stay off the dance floor people!
  • I still want to stop on Frontage Road every day when I drive by it. I might have to start walking there once a week.
  • I got my official acceptance letter from Make-a-Wish! I go to the first volunteer training in May.
  • I found out today on our ice cream outing that apparently there is a lot of controversy surrounding Bay Street. The mall was built on an ancient Ohlone Indian burial ground. Since 2001 the Ohlone descendants host a “don’t buy anything day.” I hope that wasn’t the day I chose to shop there, yikes!
  • So far Match.com is and is not what I expected. I did expect it to feel artificial and forced. What I didn’t expect was how often I would have to ignore people. I thought I could just join, and kind of scope it out for a while, but the site has been livelier than that. I’m constantly getting emails, likes, “winks,” and match updates (I understand this is a typical woman’s experience with this site, so if you like this kind of attention, this is the place for you). Messages like “hey beautiful,” I’m okay ignoring. Some are unintentionally funny (“your eyes exude passion and wisdom…”), but some guys have written some really thoughtful and clever emails. None of them are people I would be interested in meeting/dating though (some due to distance, sorry but I’m not driving to Palo Alto to meet you for coffee), so it’s hard to decide if I should write them back. I would love to thank them for putting effort into their attempts, but it feels like leading them on.
  • I haven’t received my DNA testing kit, but I can’t wait!
  • I mentioned having a crush in my facial post, but people can stop asking about it. It’s clearly an unrequited crush, so there will likely be no interesting updates there.
  • My tattoo is healing nicely. It actually didn’t really need to heal at all, being that it was so small. I still love it, and it already feels like a part of me.

 

New thing #25: Beer Tasting

IMG_5463Last week, a co-worker told me that they recently opened a Sierra Nevada tasting room down the street from our office in Berkeley. So today after work, we went. I know as much about beer as I do about wine (nothing), so he explained what some of the beers were and what the abbreviations on the menu meant (ABV= Alcohol By Volume, IBU= International Bittering Units). He told me what he liked, recommended some I might like, and with the help of the woman behind the bar (server? bartender? beer wench?), I picked the following 5 to try:

Kellerweis

Weizenbock

Knightro

Off-Kilter Scotch Ale

Narwhal (10.2% alcohol, one of the beers you can’t buy in stores)

My favorite was the Scotch Ale. From the website: “An extended kettle boil affords this “wee heavy” Scotch ale its mahogany color and rich caramel notes, which are complemented by hints of cedar spice, smoke, dried fruit and molasses.”

I wish every work day ended this way. I love learning new things, getting to know a cool co-worker, and a little buzz to take the sting out of a rough Tuesday was nice. It’s funny that I keep saying that I’m not a big drinker (I swear I’m not!), but this is my third alcohol focused new thing— HA!

 

IMG_5464