New Things: The Final Edition

I have another post in mind, but I find I’m a bit stuck as I churn over the “hows” of what I want to post. I’ve poked it, prodded it, written it a dozen different ways in my head, and now I’m going to let it marinate a bit then maybe have another go at it before year’s end (gads, that’s only three days away). In order to get out a post in December, my only real story option is to catch you up on the new things I’ve done in November and December. Of course, because I’ve settled down and started typing, all of them have fled my head – at least the November version. You’ll just have to trust that I did in fact do new things in November, and I’m certain I enjoyed them.

Moving On

Let’s start with a big one: I got a new job that will start in January. I’m excited and anxious all at once. I could tell you all about the why’s and how’s, but well that would be breaking a promise I made to myself about writing about work on this blog. Those kind of stories can be a bit career-limiting. Plus, my former supervisor, and soon-to-be co-worker (who incidentally reads this blog and whom I can sass in a mere 9 days with, “You’re not the boss of me!!!”) doesn’t need his ego stroked more than usual. The fact we’re both leaving is its own statement, so I’ll leave that there.

I quit my swim class; I’ve never done that before! I mean, that probably doesn’t count as a new thing if we’re going to make new things only about happy/positive things. Ultimately, I wrestled with it, and decided my frustration over not progressing athletically was a decent reason. No one’s fault. Well, mine and my stupid brain and body for not cooperating in a manner and at a pace I’d prefer.

Quitting was quickly followed by: I advanced to the intro to lap class, and then announced that I was rejoining swimming. As you can see, I’ve lead quite the mercurial swim life. I’m currently learning how to do the butterfly stroke. Of course, that reminds me of a Trevor Noah bit making fun of swimming and the various strokes, which leads me to…

I saw Trevor Noah live, which I saw in November. (HAH! I knew I could remember at least one thing I’d done.) It was an absolutely fantastic show where he did a hilarious bit about swimming. Have I mentioned that? If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading his book, Born a Crime. I’m typically a fiction-only reader (and yeah, I get it – go ahead and get your “His book is fiction” cracks out of your system – go on), but this was fantastic. He talks about his family and growing-up in South Africa during Apartheid where he was quite literally born a crime. If you can, listen to it as an audio book where he narrates his own story. Also, as a favor to me, read a real review; mine isn’t doing the book any justice and you’re probably not as tempted to pick it up as you should be. I personally recommend the review from the NY Times. I think it might be good based on the preview I could see on Google. However, I couldn’t actually confirm it. Apparently, one of us (me) has read their three free NY Times online articles and now they want money. 😦 I will not surrender to you, NYT! Also, I’m kind of cheap!

I had brunch with my first boyfriend. It was a wonderful visit. He’s funny, smart, clever, and has been involved in some really incredible things (testifying before Congress among them) – gone on many a grand adventure/jaunt/wander – and to put it simply, he’s continued to be a neat person. I like to think of him as a true survivor of dramatic, demanding teen-girl me, which is truly medal-worthy. Sorry David, no medals have been minted yet, but I give a great “atta-boy” for surviving. ATTA BOY!

I went to the opening of a campaign office. In this case, I was there for Elizabeth Warren’s office opening here in town. A good friend of mine is a huge Warren supporter so I went as moral support (lots of supporting happening that day) and also, I suppose I went for the opportunity to punch him every time he pointed out that we were standing in Beto’s former offices.

I spent Christmas alone. This one probably isn’t making you think, “Yay!” Basically, I turned off my phone and avoided FB most of the day. You see, it’s also my birthday, and it was a choice I got to make as an adult. As we always say at work (former work): It is what it is. (I suppose other people say it, too but I’m giving my office all the credit since I heard it there first, and often – usually daily. Hrmm… a defeatest phrase the whole team took up at work, possibly another clue?) I’m pretty sure there was one wellness check in the form of my trainer who came by with her daughter that evening. I love her! Before day’s end, I brought everything back up online and returned greetings so my Mother would stop frowning down over my poor manners.

Seriously though, I sometimes don’t feel like being “Edie,” and that’s kind of who I feel I am right now. (Inside family thing. Just nod your head in understanding.) After having a brief chat with my suicide loss survivors gang (a group for those who have lost spouses/partners to suicide), we agreed that next year I should plan to take a trip away from here. I think I’m going to do that.

The day after Christmas, a friend scooped me up and we just finished spending the past few days around Aransas Bay as part of my 2019 Beth-venture. It was absolutely beautiful!

In sum, I’ve spent the year trying a lot of new things – some big, some small – things I wasn’t always sure I’d enjoy. I swam, I spent time in the mountains, I fed more stingrays, I met new/incredible people (the kind you’re immediately drawn to, because you recognize they’re your tribe). I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve written a bit.

I look forward to 2020 and all of its adventures – its ups and downs – all the new things – all the times I get to be with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and be alive with you. I love you!

I leave you with this morning’s sunrise from my balcony where a dolphin was playing down below. May you all wake up to the simple wonder of gorgeous sunrises and playful dolphins.

Rockport, TX

A Donated Dare

I need your help.  Yes, I’m talking directly to you.  Don’t even think about looking over your shoulder.  Well, unless you’ve found yourself at the center of a spy thriller or you’re a conspiracy nut (and by “nut” I mean “thoughtful individual who clearly sees all of those clandestine government plots and truly understands ‘they’re out to get you’”).  Anyway, back to the help I need.

Some Background (everyone loves a story)

Some of you are aware that I follow a blog written by a 24 year old (now, 24 ½!) who is out in Asia in the midst of a two year adventure. It’s called Backpackology.  Unfortunately, that adventure became a little too adventurous and he lost all of the tools he uses to bring his blog to life. After months of not writing, where we were pretty sure his entrails were decorating some mad hermits wall in some remote jungle (because what mad hermit would live anywhere else), he posted an update letting everyone know that he was indeed alive.  A collective sigh or relief was breathed throughout the internet and money was exchanged as the bets were called in. “I had $25 on him being alive! Hand it over, folks!”

In the update he announced he’d started a Kickstarter campaign.  If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s .”..a funding platform for creative projects…”  It’s something I use to back some of my favorite projects, and you can learn more about them here: Kickstarter Basics

The great thing about Kickstarter is that once the project is funded, you can receive  rewards for your donations. In this case I pledged for a “dare”.

The Help I Need (see, cleverly titled so you’ll know this is the “ask” part of the blog)

This is where I need your ideas.  The “Dare” level gives me the “opportunity to dare [him] to do something (ANYTHING) that [he] will film and publish on [his] blog.  The stipulations are: it must be legal, it can’t take longer that one day to perform, cost more than $50, it can’t harm other or live animals and it cannot cause seriously harm to [him] or [his] belongings (though psychological harm is completely permissible so long as it’s funny).” (I’m loosely quoting since Kickstarter won’t let me cut and paste and I don’t feel like typing everything at the moment due to a profound sense of laziness.)

Now, I mostly contributed at this level to help him continue to do what he loves doing and that he is quite talented at sharing and well… because I want to continue to live vicariously through his adventures since my big trip at 24 was to mosey around New Orleans and get a hurricane glass from Pat O’Brien’s. WOO! Cheap, tall glass y’all!  (I know, I was a wild one.)  That being said though, I’d like to make an attempt at a dare, but I’m drawing a big blank.  See, I’m at an age where my dares are more along the lines of: “I dare you to go straight home and stop risking your life and worrying your family.”  I realize this technically falls under the category of “lame”, but in my defense, and why I’m now turning to you adventurous sorts (again, no need to look over your shoulder, I do mean you), everyone I asked had the exact same reaction (granted, they’re all about my age – we wave canes at one another and curse change – you know the sort). Even people I approached from around the area of the world where he’s traveling gave it some thought and stated coming home was the best adventure. (You know, I kind of thought they’d be good for some off the beaten path kind of ideas.) For the record, he’s traveling around China, Korea, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan to give you some idea.  The only “near” adventure I could think of was to have him participate in the celebration of Holi, in India (or Pakistan) but that occurs at the end of this month which is before the project is officially funded (which is also right before April 1st – come to think of it that may be the most appropriate time to propose a dare).

Wikipedia Commons – Sandeep Pranavam

So, you worldly travelers, can you think of any offbeat festival to attend, any odd regional food you’d like to see tried (he did try a 1,000 year old egg… there was video proof… umm blech), any fun, ridiculous, inspiring, crazy (yet safe) thing I (and of course by “I” I mean “we”) could suggest? (I’ll definitely post the results here once he’s completed it).  Think big! Think fun! Think challenging! Think of what you’d want to do if you were 24 ½! Think of something that doesn’t sounds like, “board a plane back to the United States and become a sensible, contributing member of society so you can die in obscurity like the rest of us – tally ho and such, call your mother” because that would be stealing my idea.

Backpackology with Steve McDonald

I rarely talk about the blogs I read.  It’s not a remark on the blogs themselves, it’s more of a selfish thing.  I discover them (or they discover me) and then I start hoarding them – like that lady you once saw on that reality show – you know – that lady – the one who had all the stuff and a crazed look in her eyes.  I’m sure she had cats.   (Ok, confession: I’ve never actually seen Hoarders, so I’m kind of hoping you have and that we’re starting to bond.  I’m also hoping that you recall some lady from the show (maybe more than one – maybe she had some crazed lady relatives – who doesn’t?), with an insane look in her eyes (or eye, I won’t discriminate) and some cats so you can relate to the hoarding analogy thing.  We are relating now, right?) So you see, I’m like her or maybe them, depending on the episode, except instead of cats or sporks or Betty Boop doo-dads  I hoard blogs.  Oh dear, it seems I’ve found myself in the middle of an analogy that’s quickly going south. Eject! EJECT!

These special online finds make me feel like I’ve joined an  elite “in the know” group who are privileged enough to get to share in (live vicariously through) the author’s many adventures. Well today I’ve decided I’m making an exception, because I’m enjoying a particular blog so much that it’s not fair not to share it.  It’s called Backpackology.  It’s the travel-blog of a 24 year old out on a 2 year adventure to backpack solo across Asia.  It’s well-written, entertaining and occasionally suspenseful as his laptop needs repairs or he’s simply unable to file any updates and the next post appears with a title like “Kidnapped in Alipur“.

I highly recommend it if you’re up for a real life adventure and suggest you start your adventures with him here: Stepping Off the Edge

It’s well worth a read.