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:

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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New thing #20: Ancestry DNA

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As I’ll reiterate from one of my random “About Me” facts, I have been researching my family history on and off for a couple years. I started just for fun on a trial membership to Ancestry.com, and the more I learned and the longer my family tree got, the more it became like solving a mystery or going on a treasure hunt. You gather facts, search for clues, make discoveries, and figure out how you are connected to all these people you never even knew existed. It floored me the first time I really saw on paper how many people are a part of my own makeup, however small that part may be.

My research has been on hold ever since I canceled my membership to Ancestry.com (it’s too damn expensive), but I’ve been toying with the idea of buying their DNA testing kit for a long time. Today, I finally gave in and ordered it.

When you receive the kit in the mail, all you have to do is follow the instructions on how to send back a saliva sample, then within 6-8 weeks, your DNA test can tell you:

– Exactly what ethnicities you are. “AncestryDNA generates an estimate of your ethnicity as part of your personalized results page. Explore your results on a colorful, interactive map. View pie charts, graphs and explanations that can give you a glimpse into the story of your ancestors.”

– If you have relatives you may not even know. “Your DNA results include an ongoing list of DNA member matches with real-time updates, leading you to new relatives, ancestors and answers to your family story.”

I can’t wait to get the test and see the results.

Honorable mention new things:

– Had lunch with a co-worker I’ve never had lunch with, at a place I’ve never been to. It’s amazing what getting away from your everyday work routine will do for the rest of your day. Note to self: at least once a day… step far away from the cubical.

– Saw a new movie: opening night of Divergent. I wasn’t impressed, and no one who read the books will be either, or anyone who likes a good movie for that matter. Thumbs down!

New thing #19: Bikini Wax

My first bikini wax story in GIFs. Enjoy!

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I’ve never had ANYTHING waxed before, not even my eyebrows!

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I know, crazy right? I don’t know why. Maybe because my tweezers and razor work just fine.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a little scared.

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When I arrived at my Brazilian Wax appointment, I told the lady I was a waxing virgin, and she said,

“Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as they say.”

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She had a nice, soothing way about her, so I believed her.

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But then I had to undress from the waist down with her in the room.

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I know she sees this every day, but I’m feeling kinda awkward…

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but I lay on the table and put my brave face on!

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She puts the HOT! wax on…

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Then, with no warning, the first RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP!

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Okay, just breathe, it wasn’t that bad… RIIIIIPPPPPPPP…

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RIIIIIIIIIIIIIP… RIIP…. RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPP…

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After about 3-5 minutes of ripping (I didn’t cry/scream/Kelly Clarkson her, but I did feel my knees shaking),

she said, “Okay, we’re done…”

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“…with the front, are you ready for the backside?”


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“Are you sure? That’s only a full bikini wax, for a Brazilian we have to…”

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“Would you like to book your next appointment now?”

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THE END.

 

And if you think I’m the only wimp… check these out…

– Sherri Shepard gets her first bikini wax on The View

– Crystal’s first Brazilian

– Wanda Sykes- Waxed

New thing #17: Match.com

73339538380254b0d415bd05afda4bdbOnline dating is a good example of something I put on my new things list that I have never wanted to do. Repeat to self… “out of my comfort zone, out of my comfort zone…”

When you tell people you’re single, it feels like you become a problem for them to solve. “Oh,” they say with poorly disguised pity, “well, that’s cool.” But it’s not cool, because they’ll say, “So, why aren’t you dating?” Even my own ex-boyfriend (we broke up 6 months ago and are attempting to be friends), asked me why I’m not dating. And the only answer I have for all these concerned individuals, is that I hardly ever meet anyone I want to date. Next comes the inevitable question: “Have you tried online dating?”

No, I haven’t. I know it’s the thing to do these days. I know that everyone and their mom is doing it so there’s no stigma anymore. I know that a lot of people doing it have the same doubts about it as I do so I’m not alone, and blah, blah, BLAH.

I think it’s cool and really brave for other people to online date, but it has never felt right for me. I just can’t get over how unnatural and forced it feels. I was embarrassed trying to come up with a dating profile headline (I settled on, “Can we say we met at a baseball game or cooking class or something?”), and trying to find things to say about myself that don’t sound corny, cliché, or just plain stupid.

And do guys even read profiles? My suspicion is that from the 15 “winks”, 10 emails, and 5 IM chat requests I got within a few minutes of signing up, maybe 2 of those guys actually went beyond just looking at my pictures, because I hadn’t even finished writing the text parts of my profile yet.

But, who knows? Maybe this will become one of those things you resist for a long time then end up loving it (although I 99% doubt it). The best part of this is that if nothing comes of it, it’s totally okay. Believe it or not (most people don’t), I’m just fine with being single.

New thing #15: Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

I have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge countless times in car, but have never actually set foot on it until today. As a Bay Area native, this walk feels like a must. A right of passage. So I asked my Aunt Karen to join me in finally crossing this off my SF bucket list.

There was a story a couple weeks ago that said Japanese tourists voted the Golden Gate as one of the most overrated tourist attractions in the US. “’I thought it would be more impressive, but it was just an ordinary red bridge,’ said a 29-year-old woman who responded to the survey.” I can’t help but wonder what they are expecting. True, it’s just a red bridge, but it’s anything but ordinary or overrated. I may be biased, but I tend to agree more with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservatory website, which describes the bridge as “a work of art, an engineering marvel, and an American icon.”

Our 3.4 mile round trip walk on the bridge was fantastic. We started on the SF side, which had a new plaza and exhibits that were put up for the bridge’s 75th anniversary in 2012. This walk is said to be a chilly/windy one, so everyone warns you to take extra layers, but in today’s uncharacteristically warm weather we were wishing we had brought shorts and sandals.

I think the whole walk took us a couple hours. We took our time to savor all of the bay views along the way, I stopped a lot to take pictures, and we spent a few minutes at the lookout spots at each end. I even stopped to hug the guy with the “Free Hugs” sign.

After we finished the walk, we went to Sausalito for lunch and ice cream. It was one of those perfect San Francisco Saturdays. One of my favorite parts of the day though, was when I got to Karen’s house to pick her up this morning. She had a present for me: a necklace that had a picture of the golden gate bridge inside, and it said, “31 new things, #15.” How awesome is that?! I don’t tell her thank you enough for everything she has done for me over the years, and how I believe that a lot of my own generous nature and creativity comes from her influence. So thank you, Aunt Karen, for being there for me today and always.

New thing #13: Cook a Favorite Restaurant Dish

Actually, I made two:

– Benihana’s Fried Rice, with their Ginger Dipping Sauce

If I could choose my last meal on earth, Benihana’s fried rice would at least be the appetizer. I don’t know why it’s leaps and bounds better than all other fried rice, but it is. Their ginger sauce is supposed to be for the seafood and veggies, but I use it on everything, including the rice. I’ve attempted fried rice before, but this was the first time I tried to make it exactly like theirs. I had no idea I could find the recipe for their ginger sauce online, but when I did, I knew I had to make that too.

– Yan’s China Bistro’s Honey Walnut Prawn

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Yan’s is one of my favorite Chinese places, and I can’t go there without ordering the honey walnut prawn. It’s like candy.

 

 

My mom and brother, Mason, were nice enough to be my guinea pig taste testers (Mason even helped me make the rice and chop everything). We all agreed that this was one of the most successful meals I’ve ever made. Not the most complicated or difficult, but no joke, OMG, like WOW! Everything was soooo good.

The honey walnut prawns were sweeter than Yan’s, but still very tasty. The fried rice was good too, but what really made it great was the ginger sauce. I swear I wasn’t expecting it to come out so… what’s the right word? PERFECT. Nothing I ever make is perfect, but it looked, smelled, and tasted exactly like the Benihana’s. Mason said he was sad to know that we’ve wasted so much of our lives not making this sauce, and I agree.

Click on the links below for each recipe I used:

Fried Rice

Ginger Sauce

Honey Walnut Prawn