Day 161: My First Fantasy novel

Okay, for one, I am writing you from a PLANE!!! I am currently en route to Portland, OR for brew tour/grown up spring break. I’m not paying horrendous fees for the in-flight WiFi, but I am typing on a plane, which is a first.

Anyhoo, on Day 161, I finished my first ever fantasy novel!

I took the advice of the respondents to my first attempt at reading a fantasy book, and bought Neil Gaiman’s book, Neverwhere.

I can’t say that I loved it, mostly because I didn’t ever really engage with it. The whole “this is the world as we know it, and here’s a little story to show you how normal your world is and prep you for how fantastical this other world is” part was wonderful. I followed it perfectly. After launching into the “this is the new world full of awesomeness and terror and beauty and horror,” I just couldn’t keep tabs on the characters, the story line and the relationships.

I think this is partly due to the fact that I didn’t commit to reading the book for a long enough time to really get into the story before putting it down. The more I was able to read at one time, the more I got into it. If I only read one chapter, it was probably lost on me.

This helped me learn something about fantasy book readers. I’ve always known the fantasy-reading sort to be die-hard readers. Like, can sit down for hours and read, even in complete chaos, ever as absorbed in the first pages as in the middle pages. These kinds of readers are PERFECT for the fantasy genre because it does take a good amount of time and focus to really get a lot out of a fantasy book.

I fall into a different camp of readers. I read before bed, read when there’s nothing good on TV, read at Borders while having a coffee… sporadically, and in varying levels of commitment and distraction.
Another thing I learned had to do with the writers of fantasy book. I don’t blame them now for being so committed to trilogies and series. They come up with completely wild characters, worlds, rules that the worlds abide by, traits about people and places and animals, etc., that all must fit together and not contradict itself. Once they’ve created this world, it would almost be a shame to throw it all away on one book!

So those who end up reading fantasy books have learned about this particular world, have connected with its people and are committed readers, and the writers can continue to write in the world that these avid and committed readers love.

And while I can’t say I loooooved the book or anything, I am proud of myself for stepping out of my genre for a minute.

And now I’m on to The Light in August.

Go canon, go!

Day 160: Dear Beyonce...

On Day 160, I wrote a fan letter to Beyonce Knowles, the most beautiful and talented singer, dancer and artist of my musical generation. There are plenty of artists I love more than Beyonce, but I don't think I'd feel comfortable sending fan mail to Dave Matthews or John Mayer. Dave is almost certainly too high to read fan mail, and I don't want to inflate John Mayer's ego any greater than it already is, so I settled for Beyonce. Surely she receives lots of this stuff, but I'd like to think she reads it. 

Now, what do you say to such a woman? I wanted to start out, "I want to tell you how much I love you without sounding creepy, but I don't know how, so here goes..." But that was even more enormously creepy than wanting to not sound creepy, so I ditched it.

So went the rest of the endeavor. Fanmail--not so easy after all.

This is what I came up with:

Dear Beyonce, 

I've never written fan mail before, so I'm not really sure how these letters go. I'm doing one new thing every day for a year, and today's thing (Day 160!) is to send you fan mail.

I just wanted to tell you that I have enjoyed and admired your music throughout my life, from the Destiny's Child days all the way through I Am...Sasha Fierce. Your songs have made me dance, sing, laugh, and cry. Some days I feel Bootylicious, some days I'm Crazy In Love, and other days I'm a Diva. I've done my fair share of dancing with my Single Ladies, while looking for Soldiers. And now, I'm Dangerously in Love and fall asleep to Sweet Dreams every night. 

But seriously, your songs have touched most every part of my life, and I think you're pretty amazing to have had that impact!

You have consistently been one of the most talented singers and artists in show business, as well as being one of the best role models for girls and women everywhere. 

I hope you keep making music, keep dancing, and keep making the world a more beautiful and fun place!


Never take it too seriously right??? ;)

Day 159: "You Look So Natural, No One Can Tell..."

Mark has recently started growing a goatee, mostly, I think, just to know what he looks like with facial hair. Sadly, his facial hair is on the blond side, meaning no one can really tell he's growing it.

I had the brilliant idea to color it just a little darker, so that it can be noticed, and you know what? The sucker obliged...and I dyed Mark's goatee "Just for Men" Light Brown.

He's a "Light Brown"
I am a master mixer...

Far too excited to be putting chemicals on my boyfriend's face

Full Coverage

He's darker, I'm freaking THRILLED
And that's really how it went. I was pretty scared he was going to have a horrendous allergic reaction and subsequently break up with me. However, none of that was to be had, and after following the instructions and waiting five minutes, he was noticeably darker.

It actually got a LOT darker throughout the rest of the night, and he's firmly matched to his head hair shade.


Day 158: Punk Polish

Continuing with my theme this weekend of interesting grooming New Things, on Day 158, I got a manicure in black.

I had on my original list of New Things to try to "get a manicure in a weird color" to break out of my trend towards the mommy mauves, neutrals and reds. I'm young. I should be wearing on my nails electric blues, freakish metallics and all the stuff they put in the pages of Vogue.

So at first I thought orange would be the winner for this challenge...and then I remembered that I went to the University of Georgia where we hate orange! Go Dawgs!

[Semi-school spirity moment over]

And, more practically, that I own nothing that would even kind of go with orange, as my clothing is largely of the jewel tone variety.

So then I thought--why don't I jump into the black nail polish trend? I can pretend I'm Benji from Good Charlotte...or, you know, Lauren Conrad got away with it, so there's no reason I can't do it too. Punk rockers and reality TV celebs alike enjoy black nail polish, and I fall squarely in between the two of them.

I am so edgy...with my half eyebrow
Okay, not really punk at all...
Surprisingly, I REALLY like this color :) :) :)

Day 157: Eyebrow Threading

My eyebrows definitely suffer from caterpillar syndrome. They're not very well-behaved on their own, so I frequently wax, pluck and trim the bejeezus out of them to make them look normal.

In an attempt to try New Things as they relate to every part of my life, on Day 157, I got my eyebrows threaded.

Threading is an Indian tradition for removing unwanted hair from the body, and is a little less painful than waxing. The process is just like it sounds. The women take two piece of thread and twist them in a way that creates a little hair-pulling-out machine. They put the thread on your skin and glide over your brow, shaping it to perfection.

I sat down in their little chair and the girl went to work on my brows. It didn't take nearly as long as waxing does, and although it was a new sensation to get used to, it didn't hurt.

The technician shaped my brows beautifully, and I was really excited about the whole thing. No redness, less time, beautiful brows!

The only problem was that I needed to have the hairs trimmed. I grow just ridiculously long eyebrow hair, and it's something I almost always request or receive in my normal routine of waxing. 

Just when I started to trust her, she pulled out the mirror.


I lost half an eyebrow in a cutting casualty.

I'll stick to waxing after all.

After. Check the right side of my face. And the fury in my eyes.

Day 156: I Ate a Baby Animal's Poison Control System

You've probably already guessed what happened from the title.

Mark and I went out to Atmosphere, a French restaurant in some very mature neighborhood down towards Piedmont Park.

For reasons unknown, we were both feeling food adventurous, and the menu was chock full of interesting dishes. Pied du Chochon? Foie Gras? Escargot? Foie de Veau? Pate? You got it.

I figure if there's ever a safe, sure-to-please place to eat some semi-exotic (read: not muscle meat) animal part, it's got to be at an up-scale, slightly expensive French restaurant.

I don't want to try discount liver.

Dang it, I gave it away. Yes, on Day 156, I ate veal liver.

It was delightfully meat-like with the beefiness of a steak, but also rich, rich, RICH in the way that foie gras over-exaggerates. It's just a tender, tasty, almost too velvet-y cut of meat that was appropriate for one night in a nice French restaurant.

Day 155: Almost DOES Count

Usain Bolt is faster than me. 
Day 155 was a Thursday and a running day. It was also one of these unseasonably, beautifully warm days that have generously followed Snowmageddon 2011, making me want to run outside. We have a great little park nearby (Chastain) that's ~3 miles around and perfect for practicing a 10K. A mostly manageable course with  couple of hard hills, lots of interesting scenery, tons of other runners, etc.

Running on the treadmill in sporadic bursts for 4 miles does NOT mean that I can run all three miles around this park, however. As I discussed with Katie from Running Down a Dream, a 5 mile treadmill run is about equivalent to a 3 mile real run. I haven't gotten up to five miles on the treadmill, but I was REALLY wanting to add "Ran all the way around Chastain Park" to my New Things for the day.

Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be.

I got a mile around no problem, and then up the first half of "The Winding Hill" like a champ, and then got halfway up the second half before thinking I would verifiably stop breathing, keel over, die, and never wake up. So I stopped--and I failed.

I walked maybe another tenth of a mile before starting to run again, down this .8 mile straightaway which I was actually excited about. The last time I ran around Chastain, I had this straightaway like a charm. I was really tired and I pushed really hard to get to the stop sign at the end of the path, but I did it with gusto and was proud of myself.

This time around, my internal dialogue was like "Yeah, I got this. Piece of cake road. This is all down hill from here. Look at me! Woo!"

New day, new run.

I ran all the way, but I was starting to get really, really tired towards the end, but I was pushing through. "Maybe I didn't realize how tired I was getting last time...Gee wilikers this is hard...just keep running kid, you did this before!"

I got to the stop sign, slowed down, and without warning, I started gagging uncontrollably.


I felt like one of those kids on MTV's "I Used to Be Fat" who invariably pukes their guts out on their first workout!

So I didn't make it all the way around Chastain Park, although I did make it farther than I had before. Almost doesn't count after all.

Day 154: Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

So I don't know how this will sound, but I've done stranger things before, I guess. On Day 154, I bought myself a heart-shaped box of Valentine's chocolates.

It's a not-so complicated story. I go to Kroger most days to pick up something for lunch at work. That way, I tend to eat less (pita bread and hummus, an apple), don't eat fast food, save money because I can eat that pita bread and hummus for four days, etc. Well, Day 154 was two days after Valentine's and upon walking into the store, I saw just gobs and gobs of candy that needed a home...and was discounted LIKE CRAZY. $9.00 boxes of chocolates down to $4.00. Bags of perfectly good fun-sized Snickers, covered in heart wrapping, 25% off.

I just...couldn't...resist...the deal!

But when I thought about actually BUYING one of those things AFTER V-Day, it's crazy uncomfortable. You look like you're single, desperate and making up for it, or that you're negligent of your own health, or just over-indulgent. It's so strange how purchasing a heart-shaped box of crappy chocolate is sweet and assumed for someone else when you buy it before V-Day, but an admission of a higher problem after V-Day.

Or do I just think too hard?

Day 153: Sprinting

So, as many of you know, I'm training for a 10K. "Training" is actually a loose term, because mostly it involves me going to the treadmill to run for as long as I can before I get bored (~20 minutes), feeling bad about quitting before I really needed to, pretending I care again, and running for another 10-15 minutes to appease myself. By that time, I've hit about 3.5ish miles and I say to myself "I'm quitting while I still feel good. I'll hit 4 tomorrow, and then 5 the next day." And then in my brain, 6 miles of running seems a completely attainable goal! I'm only 3 days away...even though I've only ever run half of the goal distance.

Another thing to know--I run about as pathetically slowly as one can run to keep moving forward. It's 5.5 mph on the treadmill (an 11 minute mile, that a really tall guy could walk in the same amount of time), and I'm pretty convinced that's about my pace when I run outside too.

I blame this all on the fact that I NEVER ran growing up and I'm pretty sure I don't know how. Running for me is extremely awkward and a sort of joggy-hoppy-walky concoction of motion--none of this "Finding my Stride" stuff. I just never learned how to do it growing up in sports (I was a ballet dancer), and from the fact that there is no legitimate reason that humans ever have to run anymore, I just don't know how.

I digress.

Anyway. Day 153's thing emerged on the treadmill, when I was going through my normal routine. I ran 2 miles, crapped out and walked for five minutes, ran another 1.5 miles, crapped out and walked for a second, and then...instead of walking away and wishing I'd make it to 4 tomorrow, I turned that puppy up to 6 mph and I did, what was for me, a SPRINT to round out my 4 miles. My "sprint" only lasted a half a mile, but I was sweaty and fulfilled and I felt like I had pushed myself and "trained" for the very first time.

Day 152: My Funny Valentine

Mark and I decided that for this Valentine's Day we'd go simple. No fancy restaurants, no exorbitantly priced boxes of chocolates. Instead, we'd make dinner together, eat by candlelight, rent a Redbox movie ("Date Night" with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey), and call it a night. No pretense, just small demonstrations of love and togetherness.

I appreciated this idea a LOT, but I still had to get Mark something for Valentine's Day! Even just the tiniest thing. I went through a whole bunch of ideas that I really liked, that definitely didn't fit into our plan. Couples massage! Complete series of a TV show we watch! Celebrity chef cookbooks!

Too much ostentatious show for a simple event. I already knew I was going to make dessert, so I headed over to Kroger, where I thought I'd find inspiration too. The first thing I saw walking in was a grown woman carrying a balloon, and I knew that was going to be right for me. Corny? Hell yes. Sweet? You betcha. Inexpensive? Done. New thing? Yes, in fact. I had never bought someone a balloon before!

Happy Belated V-Day all! With love from Mark and his balloon.

Day 151: Fantasy Revival

So a while back, I started reading a fantasy book, which I promptly put down due to much internal mocking and gave to Borders. Well kids, after a long hiatus, I finally bought a new fantasy book. The general consensus on the post comments for my fantasy reading challenge was that I needed to try Neil Gaiman (although all of your other comments were wonderful suggestions!), so yesterday I picked up a book I'm committing to--"Neverwhere."

The back cover had a review that called the book "urban fantasy," "a modern Alice in Wonderland" which I'm drawn in by. Mostly I'm hoping means that there are no "faeries" and "daemons" or that if there are, they aren't stated as such. We'll see how far I get. Asking a genre so defined by "faeries" and "daemons" to not be that is a stretch, I know.

So far, there's a girl named "Door" which is a name I hate. I'm not expecting everyone to be named Jennifer and John, but Door? No thanks. It's like "Price Hairstreak." WTF? Just call them Mestoliphious for all I care, just not a name that's a really random noun. It weirds me out.

I've also already lost track of a couple tertiary characters, but I'm thinking I'll get back on track soon. I'll give you a blog about how this goes when I finish, which may be a long time. It's a long book after all!

I am more positive about reading this book though. Believe me.

Day 150: OYSTERFEST 2011

I looooove oysters. Since the maturation of my taste buds, I've had the best time exploring oysters in all of their many beautiful forms--namely raw. I know, I know, many of you probably think I'm off my rocker for liking raw oysters, but I think they are a thing of unsurpassble beauty. They're ever-so-slightly more than "bite sized" and taste their best just as God made them.

How many other things come that way?

Would you eat a potato straight out of the ground? No. God didn't make potatoes that good--He made them so you have to chop them and fry them to make them their best.

Would you eat wheat straight from the earth? No. You've gotta process that down into bread, cereal, etc. to make wheat any good.

Chicken? Don't even start.

But oysters...after a quick shuck, are just about as perfect as they could possibly be.

I say that all to say, when you say "Oysterfest" I will find the means to imbibe.

So on Day 150, Mark and I had tickets to go to Oysterfest at Park Tavern, and although I want my first recollection about Oysterfest to be "AMAZING," I really just have to say it's a major rip off. You have to buy tickets for the privilege of buying oysters for $20 a dozen. And beer for $5 a glass. And you can only buy them with cash, which, of course I didn't have, meaning I had to burn $3.50 for an ATM fee, for the privilege of using my own money in my own checking account.

Budget buster to the extreme.

Nevertheless, it was a 60 degree and sunny day in Piedmont Park, the oysters were fresh, the beer was cold, and the company was good, so I got over it pretty quickly.

Something about soaking up the sun,, shucking oysters so primitively that it has to engage part of that pleasure-seeking lizard brain, and downing deliciously rich whole shellfish made it a day not to be beat.

When Oysterfest got to be a little too crowded we left, strolled the Park, and continued our day of decadence with milkshakes from Flip Burger.

And now you won't be seeing us at a restaurant for a few months :)

Day 149: Mentor Moment

On Day 149, I had the pleasure and honor to interview one of my yoga mentors, Ursula Nix. Ursula is a perpetual source of inspiration for me, a mentor who I've gone to for countless yoga-related and Atlanta Yoga Scene-related ideas, issues and problems. She has always been so gracious with her time, support and, most importantly, honesty.

I interviewed her for a piece in the AYS blog, so to avoid overlap, I'll post a link here when I've finished that.

Many, many thanks!

Day 148: It's like a Charity Stock Market for Animals

Around Christmas, I got a piece of mail from Heifer International. Due to the strange name of the organization, I had to take a peek around to see what was up with heifers around the world.

I read through the brochure, which told me that the organization exists to give various animals to peoples around the world who benefit economically and socially from the animal's food, function or byproducts. It's an interesting concept that I liked a lot. It's the whole "teach a man to fish" kind of thing, which I think is an empowering premise for the people who become responsible for the animals. It promotes self-reliance, and many of these animals will stay in families for years or be traded for money to feed them.

You can give a flock of chickens to the Cameroonians, a water buffalo to Filipinos, a flock of ducks to the Chinese, honey bees to the Salvadorians, and other things like tree seeds, vegetable garden seeds, education classes for women, etc.

So I established that I liked the idea, but what struck me as particularly interesting was the purchase method. You don't just give money to the organization, you "buy the animals" for people...and if you can't afford a whole Heifer ($500!!!) you can buy a share.

Hold the phone.

I seriously had to make this part of my New Things. It's not only helping out people, but when, in the rest of my life, will I be able to say that I bought a share of an animal??? Never.

So that's just what I did. I bought a share of a llama.

I favored the return on a llama the best. Most "shares" are 10% of the original cost of the animal...but a llama? 13%. Fewer people need to contribute to make a full llama. It's economical.

Read about my llama contribution, and contribute too, so that we can send a full llama together!

Day 147: An Anti-Aging Routine Can't Start Too Soon!

I REALLY wanted to add "Got Botox" to my list of New Things, but Mark put his foot down because he thinks I'm too young. Even when I employed my classic excuse, "It's for the blog!," he didn't give in.

I don't see what's wrong with it.

I'm totally NOT in favor of Botoxing one's entire face or getting crazy kinds of fillers in copious, noticeable amounts, however, I think a spot treatment is just fine. And boy do I have a spot that needs treating--the no-man's land right between my eyebrows.

I carry a lot of my tension in that part of my face, whether I'm happy, sad, concerned, indifferent or otherwise, and I'm starting to notice fine lines forming  this shape ) || ( . I'm not a fan. I just think that if I could get that itty-bitty place deadened with the teeniest tiniest one half-sie of a unit of Botox that I could prevent this area from looking like this )))))||||||((((( when I'm 25.

Doing that little spot wouldn't even get rid of any expression in my face except for a comically overly-dramatic angry look. And I think I could still pull it off without the help of the between-the-eyebrows ruffle.

Enough of my self-justification. I was aware that Mark would be mad at me for a little injection so I went with the next best thing and I used anti-aging cream. I used the Pevonia Botanica Ligne Power Repair, which was what any cream should be...white and creamy. It smelled like old lady and I'm pretty sure I woke up with more fine lines than I went to bed with, now that I'm looking for "signs of improvement."

My ) || ( is still there: I consider it a failure.

But you know what I'm thinking? Mark doesn't read my blog...I bet I could get away with a touch of the B.

Do you think I'm crazy or justified???

Day 146: I've Got People!

I'm not quite sure how to lead up to this story, but I'll give it my best...

Let's go back to the entrepreneurship thing, and how it has manifest itself in Atlanta Yoga Scene. Well, I created a little website for the idea and am constantly updating it with yoga events in the area, new studios, blogging topics I like, etc. It got me thinking--I need a master schedule of classes for all yoga studios in the area.

I started working on this one morning (I wake up at around 6:00 am every day to either run, blog, or work on AYS) and it took me almost two hours to get through five of the 50 Atlanta yoga studios. This was wholly unsustainable. I'd be at it for weeks if I did the whole thing by myself.

Enter "The Four-Hour Workweek." This book by Tim Ferriss essentially tells people how to come up with a brilliant product, strategically overprice it, market the bejeezus out of it, outsource all the work to virtual assistants and live a beautiful life raking in cash.

I haven't quite come up with my genius, life-altering product, but on Day 146,  I applied a nugget of that advice and I hired a virtual assistant to assemble the master schedule of yoga studios for AYS.

I'm actually really proud of this whole endeavor for a few of reasons.
  1. I hired an American girl who is only a couple of years older than me, so I feel like I'm helping out a friend
  2. I'm providing temporary, paid employment to someone! While I can't hire an army (nor would I need one), I can help one person stay busy and make a little cash. That feels good to me.
  3. I'm delegating! One less thing to think about!
  4. She has no idea what she's getting into, and only asked that I pay her $50 to do this. Since it took me two hours to do five studios, this will likely take her 20 hours to do the whole thing, which is sort of a rip-off. Okay, REALLY a rip-off. But if she's good, I'll hire her to do it again and again and again :)
You could say that I've got people now!

Day 145: You Can Call me "Patches"

So, as I hope this picture shows, I wore an eye patch on Day 145. IN PUBLIC.

This was a purely petrifying challenge. I had actually bought this little gadget a while back, but couldn't bring myself to put it on. Then I let it sit around in my car for a couple of weeks. Then I decided, "This whole project is to break me out of my comfort zone, right? Well, this is a damn good way to do it!"

So I bit the bullet.

But not at first.

I had planned to do this at the Kroger by my office, but after examining myself in the mirror, laughingly embarrassed of my own reflection, I put it down and went into the grocery store sans eye patch.


I have no excuses for this. I've had a hard enough time fitting New Things into my schedule, and this one was perfectly do-able. And I let it pass.

So, with determination and willpower, I decided I'd find a reason to go to Kroger by my apartment and wear the damn thing. After yoga yesterday, I put on the eye patch, hyped myself up in my car, put on my straight face and walked into Kroger to buy some veggies for a salad for dinner.

I had intended to look like I had myself together, that I was just a normal human being with an exceptionally bad eye infection, and see what people's reactions were to me.

There are a couple reasons this wasn't a good idea. For one, I can't see ANYTHING through either of my eyes independently, making me a bumbling mess. Knock over some tomatoes here, bump into some cases of beer...not pretty. While I wanted to break out of my comfort zone, I most certainly didn't want to draw a ton of attention to myself and be as memorable as "that girl with the eye patch knocking over everything in sight."

Another reason this turned out not to be a good idea, was that I couldn't even see most of the people's reactions to me! These eyeballs were meant to work together, behind glasses. I think I caught some sideways glances, and I'm pretty sure I heard a kid ask his mom what was wrong with my eye, but other than that, I didn't get the impression people thought I was a freak. They more just didn't want to look at me at all, aware that I was probably insecure about the whole thing.

I was going to just pass through and use the self-checkout, but I decided a little forced human interaction would be a good thing for the blog, so I went into a real line.

Things really only got better from here. After breaking the ice with completely non-eye-patch related talk to the cashier, he and I were laughing about being carded...and a little old man behind me reminded me that he, too, got carded at Kroger. No mention of the eye patch, which is a good thing (I didn't have an excuse for what it was for), and no awkwardness after the chat.

I wish I had more to report--a genuine stare that made me uncomfortable, or a situation that made me know what it was like to have a real handicap, but for the most part, people were no different than they always are. With a simple conversation and a smile, you can break down a lot of barriers.

Really, my experience wasn't all that bad. I got over an initial embarrassment to do this, learned a thing or two about picking out produce with one eye, and learned that I'm suddenly in more desperate need of my spectacles than ever.

But I'll probably never do this again.

Anyone need an eye patch??

Day 144: Hand Check

A while back, my uncle offered up a New Thing: switch my dominant hand for a day. So, in an attempt to put for LOTS of effort towards this blog (love me again?? :) ), I switched my dominant hand from my right to my left for a day.

Eating breakfast with a spoon was pretty easy. I just had a bit longer slurp of milk at the end of my bowl due to the lack of fine motor skills on the left.

Drying my hair, completely different story. I fought all conceivable nature to switch my hands such that I would hold my blow dryer in my right hand and brush with my left. Oh em gee.

It's like riding a unicycle during a bike race.

It's like a straight-laced businessman pulling a cell phone out of a gold rhinestone clutch.

It's like spitting on your mom.

It's inefficient, strange to look at and almost offensive to your natural instincts. I'd never do it again.

The rest of the day was, however, surprisingly simple. I took a yoga class, which was largely balanced in the "dominant hand" department. I drove my car, where I'm a 10 and 2er to a fault, I went shopping for new running shoes and I've done a ton of typing. At least with a touchpad on my computer, I didn't have to switch mouse hands, which would have been quite difficult. If I had to write anything by hand, or sign any signatures it would have been harder too. Perhaps this digital society promotes ambidextrousness?

Contemplating my left hand
This whole day was more confusing than revelatory in the hand-switching department. It's pretty easy to know that when I eat, I should switch hands, and when I dried my hair, that I should used my left. What I struggled with was when to use my left hand because I was switching my dominant hand, or if I should use the inconvenient hand. For example, most light switches in my apartment are on the right, so I use my right hand. Should I switch to my left because it's my less-dominant hand or should I use my right hand because it's the convenient hand?

I may have accidentally flubbed this up. I can't tell. But I'm really trying to win your love back by trying hard. :D

Day 143: Birthday Bowling Party

Hello again friends!

On Day 143, I went to a birthday bowling party---for a 23 year old. It was really quite a divine idea, because what's better than free-flowing beer, friendly competition on a not-so-serious game, cosmic lighting and club music without the pretense of dancing? Nada.

Anyhoo, some little birdie had told a select few of these people that I was doing one New Thing every day for a year and wanted to know what my New Thing for that day was.

Frankly, with all of the significant New Things I've happened upon recently (taking a red eye flight, partying at a Hard Rock, etc.), I haven't been super proactive about planning for New Things or crossing them off my list.

I almost shamefully told them I hadn't had anything planned.

No need to lie.

But then, the most magical thing happened; they gave me suggestions!

"Use the heaviest ball you can find!"
"Granny bowl a game and see if it improves your score!"
"Make up a signature bowl!"

So I did all three!!! I used a 15 pound bowling ball, Granny bowled a couple frames and got a spare, and make up the Leah bowl, a spinning, twisting, leg in the air behind me thing that landed my ball squarely in the gutter. I wish I had video for the last one, but I was being "cool" and it was a completely unreplicable after the first shot anyway. You had to be there.

I should tell people about this project more often!

Day 142: Guster Intro

On Day 142, I had the pleasure of introducing Mark to Guster--one of my favorite late high school/college bands. He, probably like you, hadn't heard of them before, but upon attending the concert is an insta-fan. There's nothing not to like about them. They're songs are all upbeat and happy, and there is a theme of bongos and banjos, but since they're a more Northeastern band it doesn't come off even the slightest bit low brow.

If you are a Guster fan, I have to say it was like a "Best of" concert. They played every song I've ever loved, including but not limited to "Ramona," "Homecoming King," "Barrel of a Gun," "Airport Song," "Satellite," and my perennial favorite, "Two Points for Honesty."

OH, and an acoustic rendition of "Jesus on the Radio."

And, if I'm going for accuracy over ethics in reporting my New Things, I also used another girl's credit card to buy myself a drink. See, her friend wanted a Coke, and she wanted a beer, and instead of going to the bar themselves, she recruited me (en route) to get her drinks. Now, in order not to waste my time or the time of the bartender, I just charged my drink on the tab too.

It was a Skymiles card. I bet I did her a favor. Mark thinks it was expected. I'll take all the justification that I can.

Now for pictures:

A viking helmet--why not?
Jesus on the Radio acoustic encore
The girl on the far right is the one whose card I used. Oops?

Day 141: The Girl Who Lived

Remember how epic, revelatory and earth-shatteringly profound it is to call Harry Potter "The Boy Who Lived"? Well, I hope you think wonderful and profound things about me for telling you that on Day 141, I was The Girl Who Lived.

As I said in the last post, I slept for 14 hours over the course of day 140-141, meaning I got in from the airport at 9:30, went to bed at 11:00 AM, slept til 5:30, woke up with just enough time to cuddle Mark a little, watch an episode of Top Chef: All Stars (a show I watch all the time), eat dinner at Fuego Mundo (a meal I've had before), watch the new episode of Jersey Shore (another show I've watched plenty before), and fall asleep again at 11:00 PM.

I'm pretty sure that I've slept that crazy schedule before, from the days of staying up all night for childhood sleepovers and those summer days as a teenager. You could count the shows as New Things, but honestly, it's not as new and profound as being The Girl Who Lived through February 3, 2011.

Day 140...or is it 141? Tales from taking the Red-Eye

Because my boss is openly, self-proclaimedly as cheap as they come, he refused to let me stay one minute past my client billable time in San Diego. For me, this meant that the convention closed for the day on Wednesday, we went out for dinner, and then went promptly to the airport for my 10:30 PM flight back to Atlanta.

I had a 5-hour flight to Charlotte, combined with a 3 hour layover in Charlotte, and 35 minute flight back to Atlanta. I left SD and arrived in Atlanta at 9:30 AM, spending the whole night on a plane or in an airport.

This is called a red-eye, because all the people who get suckered into this cheap flight can't possibly sleep restfully on a plane (at least in coach), so they all come out with red eyes. I thought it was just a cultural term until I pulled into the Charlotte airport, went to the bathroom and noticed that my eyes were in fact as red as they could possibly be. I would have taken a picture but I have a little more self-respect than that.

But take my word for it that I looked JUST LIKE Natalie Portman in Black Swan:

On the flight, I was seated next to a couple who was clearly very "new," so they were kissing each other repeatedly and doing the whole high-pitched fake arguing thing...

Girl: "Why do you not like when I wear a pink hair tie??"
Boy: "Aw, babe you know I just think your hair is best complimented by a green hair tie."
Girl: "Babe, I just ran out of those, but I'll by them just. for. YOU!"
Boy: "You are the sweetest and cutest girlfriend EVER with your pink hair tie, I take it back!"

Leah: *moans audibly while perhaps saying something to the effect of shuttheeffupandtakeittothebathroomyoufreakycutefreaks*

Taking a red eye was pretty freaking awful, cute, cuddly couple excluded. I can't sleep on airplanes, no matter how many drugs I take. Thus, upon my return to Atlanta, I crawled into bed and slept from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM, and again from 11:30 PM to 7:30 AM. That's 14 hours, if you're into counting.

I am STILL messed up from all of this. You'd think I'd get the day off today, and you'd be partially right. I'm technically in the office, but I'm jamming to Pandora, updating the blog, and catching up on gossip.

Does this all make sense? If not, just read the past couple of posts and try to put the pieces together for yourself.

Day 139: Party Like a (Hard) Rock Star

At the industry conference I attended during my time in San Diego, it's not all work and no play. Okay, it's like 99.9% work, but there ARE times we get to let loose a little. One such night was this night, where one of our clients held a party at the Hard Rock Cafe, San Diego.

This marks the first time I didn't automatically hate all things Hard Rock, and the first time I've partied at a Hard Rock.

See Hard Rock, to me, symbolizes everything that's wrong with the world. They set up camp in every country in the world, and Americans flock to them in droves to get a T-shirt from the Hard Rock Hong Kong, Hard Rock Brazil, etc.


Okay, brilliant marketing on their part, but scantily-clad servers sell second-rate, crap-tastic American food to crappy Americans who don't want to eat a single morsel of some other culture's years of food traditions is not my idea of a good business plan or restaurant. It's really just an excuse for the CEO to travel.

Despite all of that, I liked this Hard Rock because I got an exclusive wristband from the "cool" company who threw a party at the Hard Rock San Diego featuring a pretty good band playing AC/DC and Led Zepplin, and an open bar.

I'm a sucker for feeling exclusive and getting free beer.

Through the night, I jammed with the band, sipped a couple Blue Moon's and rocked out with old men in sports coats. It's fun seeing adults be adults and not bosses, parents, etc. I'm still tickled by it...and I am still refusing to be "technically" an adult myself. I'll never get used to this :)

Day 138: Business Travel, and Pre-Plane Puking

On Day 128, I "woke up" at 6:00 AM from having not really slept through the night from coughing and nerves. Upon waking, I started feeling NAUSEOUS, and I told Mark (who also didn't sleep through the night thanks to my coughing antics), that I was 100% sure I was going to throw up.

There was no reason for this AT ALL. Like, there's no way in hades that I'm pregnant, I had just two beers at Sunday Funday 12:00ish and nothing new and crazy in the diet. And plus, I NEVER get sick. I don't get motion sickness, I'm not allergic to anything, I never drink to the point of puking, I don't get stomach bugs (except once last year...but that was a crazy exception too), so I didn't really even know how to handle myself here. I still don't know why this happened.

I stayed curled in the fetal position for a while, went to take a shower and had to get out immediately after washing my hair to dry heave. I dried my hair while sitting on my towel on the floor, crawled to my room to get dressed, and just as Mark walked in the bathroom to fix his hair, I got "the surge."

You know "the surge." It's that wave of cold sweat that washes over you, the signature tingle in the back of your throat and the instinct to get as close as possible to a toilet or other appropriate vom receptacle.

The incident happened, and I made us officially 45 minutes late in heading to the AIRPORT. Yes, dear readers, I was up early because I was headed out to get on an airplane for an hour and a half to Washington/Dulles, and another five hours to San Diego.


Puking BEFORE I got on a flying tube I couldn't escape from, complete with un-preventable turbulence, nasty gas and stale coffee smells.

I got on the first leg of my journey and asked the flight attendant for a couple air sick bags ("A couple??" "Yes, I've been sick this morning twice and want to be prepared!"), and my seat partner promptly moved herself. I couldn't blame her.

At the end of my journey? My company party at a SEAFOOD RESTAURANT.

I made it out alive, but just barely.

And that was the start of my first business trip to San Diego.

Day 137: Ben and Jerry's Blowout & Sunday Funday

I consider myself very, very disciplined when it comes to food, but on Day 137, I let loose. I had spent all of Saturday inside, so I finally got my butt up and out of the house to go pick up Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra. I ate half of it straight out of the container and it was fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. I almost went Chunky Monkey, a perennial favorite, but I branched out, because it's what I do :)

Review: DO IT. It's half chocolate ice cream with fudge pieces, half caramel ice cream, and a core of caramel down the middle. It's everything you ever wanted in ice cream and more. A little crunch, chocolate, and a smooth surprise. Honestly, the best ever. Once a year only, but still the best.

It may not have cleared up my cold entirely, but it helped my soul!

Afterward, I went for a Sunday Funday which knocked the day out of the park. I'm pretty sure I've had a Sunday Funday before, but never proposed as such and never so wonderful. Why wonderful? Well, we had a random 72 degree day in January--following Snowmageddon 2011. Why wouldn't you pop a brewsky and sit out in the sun with friends?

Day 136: Take Care Clinic

On this day, Mark's nephew Hudson was getting baptized, and I really wanted to go. I was excited about seeing a Catholic baptism. Having been raised in a protestant church, I'm always curious about the other half. However, this day was super bad, because my illness had just gotten worse and worse. Not a time to join together with family and a baby and spread coughs, sneezes, drippy noses and handshakes.

I'm sure you understand.

Instead, I took myself over to the Take Care Clinic at Walgreen's. For those who haven't heard about these places, they're clinics located inside a pharmacy (CVS has one too), and the treatments are especially cheap. If you've got a cough and cold, they can help take care of them very quickly and professionally. When you walk into the clinic, there's a menu of prices for medical services like checkups, treatments for cold and rashes, etc. It's a good alternative to waiting a long time in an urgent care clinic for the same services at a higher price. For someone without health insurance (like myself), it's a godsend.

I finally broke down and got treated because my flight to San Diego was on Monday (this was Saturday) and I was hoping to feel better before getting on an airplane. I can stomach working with a cold, but flying? No. Way.

Nothing too much to report about the experience. I got in and out in 30 minutes tops, from sign-in to prescription filling. I can also say that the treatment I got worked (double ear infection, check!) and that it was super cheap and something I recommend for everyone--health insurance or not.

Day 135: Sick Movies

For the regular followers of this blog, you'll know I'm almost a week behind, so these next posts will be pretty short. I was still battling illness throughout these days and I was also traveling for business to San Diego. San Diego sounds fun and all, but when my time there is maxed out to include just enough hours in the day to do work, and I mean timed down to the hour I was needed to the hour I wasn't, it makes the trip no fun.

Day 135 was a Friday and I was still sick from all of the coughing, congestion, and an on-setting ear infection. Again, not a day I wanted to do New Things. Mark came home though with dinner and a movie, so I watched Eat, Pray, Love as my New Thing adventure.

Your judgment of me as a sentimental woman, easily captivated by destination travel and a woman finding herself, would be accurate. I don't care. I loved it. Bring me more movies just like this, with beautiful destinations, handsome suitors, and a story of self-redemption.

I read the book so I was pretty sure I'd like the movie too. I only really had one qualm with the whole thing--why on earth did they change the destination names to "Italy, India, and Bali"? In the book, the whole tie in at the end is that she went to Italy, India, and Indonesia--all destinations that started with the letter "I" and that were indicative of a journey of the self. Then, they butcher that whole thing to add a sexy name in the itinerary?  Why not say "Rome, India, and Indonesia" or "Italy, New Delhi and Indonesia"?

It's one of the fundamental rules of sequential grammar, you use the same type for all the things you're listing.

Small, but it bothers me. And you read my blog so you have to listen :) Giggles.