Dear Soldier (212th new thing)

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day Two Hundred Twelve I participated in the Bert Show’s “Big Thank You” project, and wrote a letter to a soldier serving during Thanksgiving.

It had been quite awhile since I had fashioned a hand-written letter (or anything hand-written besides a grocery list), so I was a bit rusty. My past letters were usually addressed to friends or relatives and had a specific format. Friend: Ramble on about whatever is on my mind, and end it when I’ve developed a hand cramp or have really and thoroughly described every detail of my current life situation (usually the former). Family: These are usually in the form of birthday or celebratory cards and mention something about hoping the day is as fantastic as they are and how much I miss them. Generic, but sincere.

So there I was, sitting down at the dining room table, stationary lying flat, pen poised in hand. And all I had was, “Dear Soldier.” This would be a lot more difficult than I thought. So I started to ramble write. First of all I thanked this unknown recipient for their service in the military. I salute anyone with that much motivation, drive, and stamina to join the armed forces. I don’t think I could ever take such a bold brave step.

Then I mentioned a little something about myself, about turning thirty, and may have even jotted down this blog address. I thanked the soldier again and by this point my rambling had paid off and I had reached the end of the single page limit to the letter. Apparently I have plenty to say to a stranger.

I sent the note off in the mail to the Bert Show and the whole act of writing the letter and mailing it cheered me up immensely. I wasn’t in any sort of bad mood to begin with, but imagining someone taking the time to read MY letter and being cheered by it made me happier. In some way the activity seemed very self-serving, but then doing something nice for someone usually makes you feel better, so are all good deeds actually selfish? In a way. But at least there might be a little less loneliness on Thanksgiving this year.

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A dozen paper roses (211th new thing).

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had planned on going to the Earl on day 211 to see the Lemonheads perform “It’s a Shame About Ray” for the first time, but after Patrick texted me to let me know they weren’t going on thanks to Evan Dando’s colossal voice failure, I turned to crafting. I had seen a tutorial on making paper roses when I was checking out finger knitting how-tos, and decided to make a bouquet.

I chose to cut the circular pattern from an old Webster’s dictionary I had bought ages ago from Value Village (for just such a purpose). Flowers and words, I thought. How whimsical. And I could define my actions as “upcycling,” reusing trash to create treasure. I settled down with the roughly cropped squiggle circles and a hot glue gun and set to work.

The rolling of the paper was much more difficult than I would have originally thought. My first rolled bloom looked more a mess than a rose. It was supposed to be so simple!

I modified my next one by hot gluing pieces as I went, but of course my second dot of glue attached itself to my fat thumb instead of the paper and I ended up jumping up and down, with a wad of dictionary paper affixed to my left hand.

I ended up with about a half dozen rolled flowers and two slightly throbbing burned fingers. Of the roses, about three look presentable. Not quite a dozen, but at least it’s divisible into twelve.

Vodka James Bond Style (210th new thing).

November 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m developing a love for strange themed national holidays. On a day where I haven’t planned out a new experience, they are an exciting source for inspiration. I made s’mores on National S’Mores Day, bought a book (or five) on National Buy A Book Day, and for my Two Hundredth Tenth new activity I celebrated National Vodka Day with a Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred.

Via Twitter, I discovered the holiday, which also shared a celebration with tacos. Yes, October 4th, 2011 is not only National Vodka Day, but also National Taco Day. Why, you may ask, did I choose to participate in the drinking holiday as opposed to the eating one? Well, because I had neither made nor drank a martini in my life. Sure, I may have sipped a few Appletinis in my youth, but never such a straight-up liquor drink. Besides, a bottle of vodka lasts longer than a few tacos.

I stopped by the liquor store since we don’t really have much of the hard stuff in the house and picked up a bottle of Svedka Swedish vodka (tasty and affordable) and perused the vermouth. I had briefly done a bit of internet research earlier to know what exactly went into a vodka martini. Apparently it is vodka, vermouth, and…a martini glass, olives and lemon zest optional. So I looked at the vermouth and picked the most reasonably priced. I mean, it’s just a splash, right? What else is vermouth even good for?

Once I got home I laid my alcoholic wares on the counter and looked up the recipe. It specifically called for dry vermouth, and wouldn’t you know it, I had picked up the sweet version. I sighed in disappointment and set about making the chilled grown-up beverage regardless.

A splash of vermouth to coat the chilled vintage glass, 2 ounces of chilled vodka, and viola! A vodka martini served in a vintage martini glass.

Since we all know I am not so good with shots, I was worried about the first sip. It was weird, and I wondered what the dry vermouth would have changed, flavor-wise. Probably not all that much to my unsophisticated tongue.

I sipped on my drink and contemplated watching a re-run of Mad Men. And when I finished, I headed down to El Mexicano for a couple tacos and a beer.

Google + (209th new thing).

November 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

I tried to join Google + a couple months earlier, but I procrastinated in asking for an invitation and the social site in its beta mode was at capacity by the time I got around to signing up. So I joined with the masses on Day Two Hundred Nine, creating circles and trying to figure the newest networking phenomenon.

Fortunately, several friends and acquaintances were already in on the whole thing, so I had a built in group of six contacts from the get go. Yup, six whole friends. Next I followed people Google recommended. Then I decided to follow the directions to add a little Google + plug-in to this blog.

And that’s where I lost an hour of my life.

I googled several different ways to install the Google + feature on a WordPress site, but I think I may have some limitations using the free version of the software (is it even called software?). I didn’t know what a “render call” was or where to “place it” or when it was “appropriate.” It all sounded so dirty to me. I felt like my parents, when they first started using e-mail. Or better yet, my Great Auntie Marge who cried when we Skyped her.

Maybe I’ll cry if I ever wrap my brain around all of this technological integration. Until then, all I’ve got is a twitter button and a confused Google + account, which I will probably never check.

Unless it’s integrated into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and any other social media website I may have inadverdently joined in the past ten years.

And which could very well be tracking me this very moment. Technology is for the youth, which at 29, I may no longer be a part of.

A Taste of Autumn (208th new thing).

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Inspired by a friend’s tweet about the outlandish price of a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, I decided to try the overpriced autumn delight as a new thing for Day Two Hundred Eight.

I stopped by the coffee shop after work and ordered the five dollar grande version of the drink with soy milk (because it makes it the perfect sweetness). The soy upped the total to like $5.30. I thought it had better be some damned good coffee. Especially the way I’ve heard people rave about it.

It tasted like coffee, with soy…and a little pumpkin spice flavor. A whole pump full, some of which got on the side of my cup in a sticky mess that was then transferred to my car steering wheel. And that was before I had even let the drink’s temperature chill long enough to take a real sip.

As I drove away, blowing on the drink to cool it down, and thinking that I should’ve gotten the whipped cream, I realized what I actually had been in the mood for on the second day of fall (temperature-wise) was a cuppa tea. A good ol’ cheap English brew, with a little sugar, and a little (non soy) milk.

Cock Fight (207th new thing).

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day Two Hundred and I was headed to a bachelorette party, for one Miss Elizabeth Berry. I was excited to see my friend again, as well as to participate in what amounted to an adult sleepover. An adult sleepover with games.

I had a selection of new experiences to choose from for this post, but the one game/activity that stands out the most in my memory was a physical battle…while wearing inflatable…um, male genitalia.

Faces changed to protect the not-so-innocent

The object of the cock fight was to wave your strapped-on balloon at your opponent to knock their own member off. Penis envy as a party game.

We battled and laughed, so much that I cried (it doesn’t really take much laughter to spring tears from my eyes).

I gathered a few techniques: wear the appendage with the strongest Velcro; swing your hips for momentum; and hit your opponent at the base of their balloon.

The battle

I applied these ideas wholeheartedly. But Leza beat me. I think I lapsed on the first technique, to wear the better tool.

What to do with an exercise ball (206th new thing).

November 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

My mom had one of those big inflated yoga exercise balls when I was in high school. I used it as a chair, because I like bouncing. I’m the person who cannot sit still on a rocking chair or a swing. They were made for motion, and the exercise ball was made for bouncing. Well, really it’s made for fitness, so on Day Two Hundred Six I brought one home and worked my core to the accompanying DVD.

"When you swallow too much bubble gum."

The routine wasn’t especially difficult until I got to the exercise where you crawl from side to side backwards over the ball. Beginning with my hands and toes on the floor, I leaned sideways onto my back over the ball, continuing the movement until I made it to the other side of the exercise tool and  returned to the crawl-like position. Maybe you have to see it. Too bad I didn’t take a photo or video!

I’m not sure my core felt all that stronger. It was nothing like after the P90X Ab Ripper X. But at least now I have my very own bouncy stool to sit on.

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