Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

You know I'm not sure what happened to July 25th. Suddenly it's the 26th.

I've juggled the options in my head for a couple days.
Paper or plastic?
Chicken or steak?
Ginger or Mary Anne?
Too...many...choices. No, not really.
These answers are easy ones: Paper, Steak and Mary Anne.
(Although what grocery store freely offers that paper/plastic option anymore, I'd like to know.)

It's two days after my 51st birthday and either I've achieved 50 New Things over the past 52 weeks....or I haven't.

The question is whether to reveal if I made it or not. This is a choice not so easy as Shatner or Picard.
Shall I write here in the form of a "50 New Things Full Disclosure" post?
Or a "50 New Things 'What Is That Mysterious Ticking Sound'" post?

As of today, the most recent New Thing posted here is #25. (The Soltura workshop, from way back in early May.) 25 is far from 50. And it's quite off schedule, if I'm holding myself to exactly one New Thing a week. (It's sure a good thing I didn't do that!)  

Current dilemma:
If I skip ahead and tell you how things 'ended,' this third week of July 2013, then it feels like the screeching Spoiler Alert Alarm will sound. Cat out of the bag, and all.
On the other hand, if I don't reveal the outcome now, I'm guilty of the suspenseful and infuriating cliffhanger.

As I weigh my options and my words here, it turns out that the decision isn't so difficult after all.
I will not say, right now, whether I've completed 50 Things or not. But I will say that since post #25, many interesting New Things have happened and so for now I'll keep writing.

I don't mean to be evasive....or maybe I do. Which ever. For now, I'll completely disregard the date on the calendar and continue the writing. We'll have to wait to see the outcome. I'm so excited. The suspense is killing me. Yes, I understand that I already know the results....that's why it was so funny.
I trust you'll keep reading.   Thanks, ~ B

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Yes, yes. I know what day it is.

I'll be back here with more....maybe later today. Or tomorrow. We'll see how the events unfold.
Either way, soon, soon . . . . as there's much more to write.
And much more to say...

Life is good. Happy, happy!  Thanks for checking in.
Love ~ B

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

25th New Thing ~ Ruby Slippers

I've never experienced anything like Soltura.
It more than qualifies as a New Thing in this year-long adventure. In this life-long adventure.

I confess that my attending Soltura had nothing to do with accomplishing a New Thing. It simply worked out that way.  I also confess that I'm not sure how best to share it with you here.

Soltura is a unique and profound experience. Requiring personal courage that I've rarely, if ever, witnessed or exercised. Yet, without question, the most emotionally safe environment I've known.

It's so easy to be hard on myself, being this far behind with the writing of the 50 New Things. It's a difficult flogging to dodge. But as I sit to write about the 25th New Thing : Soltura, I realize that the timing is perfect. And exactly as it was meant to be. Isn't this usually the case?

Many months ago, I asked a friend about her daughter, who lived out of state.
"How's she doing?"
"She's flying into town this week to attend a workshop out in Gig Harbor."
"Really," I said. "What kind of workshop?" I confess that I assumed it was some type of academic or occupational conference.
My friend didn't know all the details but said that the workshop incorporated symbolism from The Wizard of Oz.
I was instantly intrigued.
I looked up the website as soon as I got home, talked to my friend's daughter on the phone for a good long while (thank you, Daughter) and, not long after, signed up for the first in the Women's Trilogy series.

Because Soltura was so deeply personal and life altering, I'm not going to write about the workshop itself. This would be disrespectful to my own process and that of the women in my workshop. In addition, I don't want to create any preconceived ideas, in the event that Soltura might be in your future.

What I will tell you is go to the Soltura website . Really!
Look through the glorious images.. See the shining light in the faces there. The tears, the smiles.
Read the stories . Learn more about Soltura.

So far, I've gone through the 1st of the The Women's Trilogy .
Caught in a Twister (2013 May)  It was an honor to experience the workshop with my seven radiant and brave Soltura Sisters. I love each of these unique women.
I plan to proceed onto the 2nd workshop - The Yellow Brick Road.
One co-participant from my workshop is starting her second workshop this evening, as I type. I love that she's there. (Stay tight inside your shoes!) And wish I were sitting next to her. But my second workshop is yet to come.

I recommend Soltura without reservation. And with all my enthusiasm.
If you are interested (without giving away details of the workshop itself) I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

Whether you're interested in attending a workshop or not,
please GO TO the . . .  

The proceeds of this online auction help support the Soltura Scholarship fund.
I am happy to say that I applied for and received scholarship funds for a portion of my workshop.  I'm so grateful for the generosity of those who've supported Soltura (and me!) in one way or another. And I want to encourage you to browse the auction items; purchase something nice for yourself. Heck, you could get a jump-start on your Christmas shopping and in the process, help support this valuable effort.
But be quick, the auction ends July 28th! 

A crucial part of experiencing the workshop is 'unplugging.' Consequently, I didn't bring my camera and took only very few pictures with my phone before the workshop began. At which point, I turned my phone off and put it out of reach. I'm not including those pictures here, however, I recommend that you go look at the photos on the website. I view them frequently; they sooth my soul and serve as a steadfast reminder.

I'm choosing to let you look into and explore Soltura on your own. But I will share one part of my truth with you ...I'm not in Kansas anymore. And I'm so very grateful.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

24th New Thing ~ My Oh My, What a Wonderful Day....

Deep Forest Challenge!

Barbie and the Deep Forest Challenge! 
Synonymous, right? 
I'm pretty sure I can hear you smirking.

I'm more than a little sad that I don't have some more action shots of this New Thing.
The Deep Forest Challenge! 

(Do you hear a commanding, echoing, masculine voice when you read those words....Deep Forest Challenge? I do! Kind of like, "Luke, I am your father." That famous misquote attributed to Empire Strikes Back.)

I want no speculation that I'm making this New Thing up. It really happened.

Some New Things just should not be attempted with a camera hanging around your neck. And having a friend along for the sake of photo documentation, isn't always practical. (Mostly because they are participating as well...) I guess these are the times in life when it would be nice to borrow a helmet-cam. Or a Danger Jim news crew. (Actually, Danger Jim showing up for a New Thing might be a bad sign...)

Either way, I wish I had irrefutable, photo documentation of the Deep Forest Challenge.
(Although, now that I think about it, I know a few people who are pretty good with Photoshop...)

Anyway, back to....Deep Forest Challenge!  
Yeah, this has Barbie written all over it! Will you stop with the eye rolling?

I've mentioned previously, that one wonderful and surprising part of the 50 New Things is when people come to me with ideas and offers for potential New Things. It feels like the best type of organic support. I am blessed.

One day at work, my supervisor asks me if I'd be interested in doing a zip line as a New Thing.

"Well of course I would," I say.
Then, a little worried, I scoot my chair around the wall of my cubicle to hers. "Wait," I ask, "You mean with you, right?" Because sometimes people throw "great" ideas out for me to try...alone.  Like they are selling tickets to watch from a safe distance.
That's a real thing!

Turns out Jill wants to zip, as well. Whew! She'd spotted the promotion for the new zip line course at Northwest Trek in their newsletter.

So when Zip Line Season rolled around, Jill booked our reservations.

And soon Deep Forest Day arrives....

The sign on the 'tip jar' makes me smile. It sits on the counter of the window where we sign in. You know... at the Deep Forest Challenge Cabana? Mind you, this is on your way INTO the "the most thrilling zip line/challenge experience in the Northwest." At first I just appreciate the general karmic reminder, as I count on karma day-to-day. (And some days, minute-to-minute...)
But then I start to wonder...hmmm, what's the implication here?.....that if I give a strong, healthy 'donation' before I proceed into the thrilling zip line challenge experience, then I stand a better chance of coming out the other end strong and healthy, myself? Some almost-instant karma?

Whereas if I stiff the tip jar, then karma will get me on the course. 
A reminder to buy a little karmic insurance before the challenge ahead? 
I'm tempted to open my purse and shake the contents into the black 'tip' Cauldron of Cosmic Extortion.  

I'm just kidding. I didn't even think about the potential implications behind this little sign until I got home. Wait, I found another quarter...

Okay, I'm going to stop calling it Deep Forest Challenge. The name of the Northwest Trek attraction is Zip Wild Adventure.
Deep Forest Challenge is the name of the company that designed, constructed and operates Zip Wild within Northwest Trek, I'm pretty sure. (Although I don't really imagine Darth Vader when I read the words 'Zip Wild.' C-3PO, perhaps?) 

Jill & I, pre-zip.
This was just as Jill was saying, "Time flies when you're terrified." 
(We were a little nervous.)

Platforms between challenges. It wasn't all zipping.
There were a few challenges between every zip. I liked the zipping best.
The challenges were a bit...well, challenging. 

The few action shots we got that day. 
Jill zipping!

   One of the rope challenges.
A zip line of the advanced course.

Nice harness!
I'm deeply grateful for the Deep Forest Challenge support staff.

Jill & I, post-zipping.

The safety harness was my favorite part of the day. 
I honestly did not want to take it off. 
Do you think REI sells those? 

24th New Thing ~ Zip Line / Ropes Course

This is the look of sweet satisfaction of having just completed the 
Deep Forest Challenge!

Danger Jim would call this "Breaking News!!"
I stand corrected on the photo documentation situation. But instead of rewriting this post, I'm just supplementing with this Post Script:
After I 'published' this post, I asked Jill to look it over and let me know of any inaccuracies that needed correcting or outright lies that needed confessing.
She replied, reminding me that she had also taken some pictures that day. I completely forgot.
I'm so grateful for these:

  • Additional 'action' shots. 
  • And the kind of proof that would probably stand up in court, if needed. 
Thanks Jill!

A bit worried about that Good Karma thing...

To guess how far off the ground I am here....'ll need to be pretty good at fractions!
It's the practice area:
Close to the ground and for us to show that we
know how use the equipment before we start for real.

Friday, July 5, 2013

23rd New Thing ~ We're Gonna Need A Bigger Margarita

Most of the New Thing blog posts begin with me thinking,
"Oh, this post is going to be easy. Not much writing for this New Thing. Woo hoo!"  
This is immediately followed by the

*Happy Blog Dance!*

Don't get me wrong; it's not that I don't like the writing. I love the writing. But I'm behind.
And it's funny but it turns out that it's the writing that takes the most time, and often, the most energy and investment. I wouldn't have guessed this.

I would have thought it'd be the actual New-Thing-doing, the planning and prep for the New Things that would take the most time and involvement. But rarely has this been true.

Plus it's infuriatingly easy to let other parts of life crowd the writing right out of the center. Then it begins to feel like the 'telling' of the Things is an obligatory clerical task. The dreaded 'paperwork.' But the story telling is where my heart lives. So the posts are never as quick and snappy as I think they're going to be when I start the first sentence. By the second paragraph, my soul is pouring out.

In the end, I'm good with this.

However, it's also nice to have a little break and a bit less writing for a change. And I think I'm onto something with this particular New Thing post.

In this post, I'm counting on that picture-worth-a-thousand-words thing.

I've never eaten a raw oyster off the beach.

And honestly. My never having eaten an oyster off the beach? That was a specific and deliberate decision. You know those things that you intend to get to...someday? This was not one of those for me. 

Even so, I'd never done it. And it felt brave to try it. So I did. 

23rd New Thing Plan
#1 : Assemble essential tools: 

  • Fat Tire Six-pack Bribe
  • Margarita; on the rocks, no salt 
  • Contraband cocktail forks 
  • Lemon 
  • Hot sauce.

#2 : Transfer essential tools down to the beach. 

#3 : Find an oyster.
#4 : Locate the hinge of the shell. Thank you, Oyster Expert.

#5 : Keep the oyster level so the liquid doesn't spill out. 
(I learned there is a 'top' and 'bottom' of an oyster. 
I had no idea. And don't quiz me on it later because I still have no idea.)

#6 : Insert oyster knife. 

#6 : INSERT oyster knife

"Do you want me to help get it started?"
"No! I want to do it myself...."
*Grunt, grumble, growl...*



#7 : Twist the knife to pop the hinge 
#8: Use the blade to sever the muscle attached along the inside, then the shell should open easily.

Whew, that's done. 
Can opening an oyster be a New Thing? Because that was frickin' hard.
Turns out, oysters are fiercely determined to remain closed.

Ta da! 
Are you cheering? I said "Ta da!"

I'd like to have a little chat with the brave, clearly diagnosable and starving soul who very first looked at a raw oyster and said, "Wow, this looks tasty."

Do you see the size of this oyster? 
It's like the size of my palm. Bigger, even. 
All we could find were the big ones.

This felt like such a good idea when I first thought of it.

I originally imaged swallowing an oyster whole, like an oyster shooter. 
But this is way too big and my gag reflex kicks in just thinking about it. 

To make it more manageable, I cut it into thirds. 
At first thinking, with a cringe, "Eww, oyster internal organs." 
But then realize that oysters are pretty much one big internal organ.

Okay, oyster sliced and ready to consume.....


Like a 5 year old, playing with her food....
delaying the inevitable.

Thinking, "This New Thing thing is over-rated! Can we be done now?"

Okay, ready?  

Here goes.....

#9: Swallow the raw oyster.


Maybe I can't do this?

Too much nervous giggling.
I try slurping it up out of the shell but this does not work. 
And I don't want to tip the shell up and tilt my head back 
because all 3 sections will slide into my mouth. 
In which case, I'll throw up on the beach. 
An event that would not be a New Thing for me. 
(Tequila shots on Sunnyside Beach.....not my friend.)

Slurping sucks.

Give me one of those fancy forks.

Going, going....

Paralyzed with raw oyster in my mouth....

Raw, lukewarm, dissected, slimy mollusk parts sitting on my tongue....

# 9 : Swallow the raw oyster...

#10 : Drink! Give me something to drink. Something strong. 

This time, tequila on the beach is my friend.

Okay, that was completely disgusting. 

1/3 of a New Thing doesn't feel bona fide. 
So I'll see if a little lemon squirt and Cholula makes it any better.


Nope.   Still nasty. 

Really close to throwing up. 
A margarita has never tasted so good.

I'm such a light weight. It feels like I've swallowed a monumental amount of oyster flesh
but there's still at least a third of an oyster left. 

My accomplice shows off. Eating a few big daddy sized oysters. 
Each in one gulp. 
No dissecting. No shuddering. 
No margarita required. 
Yeah, whatever.

Then I spotted an oyster that was WAY more my size.

In the picture above, there are two oysters. 
The big, obvious, obnoxious, over-compensating one to the left.
And the petite, quiet, unassuming, nothing-to-prove one on the right.

This little bitty oyster feels like my chance to conduct the New Thing as I'd originally imaged. Swallowing raw oyster whole.

Go back to #6 : Insert oyster knife.

#6 : Insert oyster knife.

#6 : Insert oyster knife!! 
You know, you'd think these little, cutie pie oysters would be easier to open. 
But you'd be wrong.

Okay, got it! 
Now, a little lemon. Isn't it sweet, so tiny? 
This is going to be easy! 

Kneeling right here, I'll just lean back and....


...fall on my butt.

Third time is supposed to be a charm, but I'm just getting worse at this.
(Must be the Margarita.)

One more time.....

Okay, I think I need to be done now.
I'm a light-weight; it takes exactly one and one half cocktails before I'm saying some very interesting things.
Two drinks and I'm laying down with my eyes closed.

Alcohol is not a big part of my life, thank goodness. 
But it turned out to be a big part of this specific New Thing. Again, thank goodness. 
I couldn't have done it without the tequila. (Never said those words before.)

Time to stumble back up to the house. My reward await! 

Some New Things do not allow for much photo documentation, with this one I'm quite fortunate. 
And (as long as I don't die from some mollusk toxin) I'm quite grateful to my New Thing Nature Guide-slash- Photographer!

Here's a real question or two: 
The first oyster, I sliced into pieces. 
The second oyster, I popped open and slurped it down. So was is alive as I swallowed it? Was it alive inside me? Wiggling in there during the movie later? 

Can I count that as another New Thing?