Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Life List 1.0

My very first pass at listing out things that I'd love to do in this lifetime. What's on YOUR life list?

Do the 365 days of Self Portraits project on Flickr.

Have a tea leaf reading
Have a phrenology reading
Have my palm read
Have my Tarot cards read

Learn to drive a stick shift confidently.
Learn the art of Bonsai.
Learn the phonetic alphabet.
Learn to identify at least 5 constellations other than the Dippers & Orion.
Learn to do a handstand.
Learn to swim confidently.
Learn to whistle with my fingers.
Learn Tai Chi.
Learn to make a great cup of coffee.
Learn Calligraphy.
Learn Sign Language.
Learn to sew with a sewing machine.
Learn to read Braille.
Learn more about Mythology.
Learn to quilt.
Learn to make Mosaics.
Learn to hacky sack.
Learn to play bridge.
Learn pinhole photography.
Learn shorthand.
Learn to read Hieroglyphics.
Learn to do a pushup.
Get another degree.
Take a public speaking class.
Take a stained glass making class.
Know conversational Spanish.

Drive the entire Route 66.
Go underwater spelunking.
Do an Outward Bound wilderness trip.
Walk across Hot coals.
White Water Raft.
Take a 50-mile bike ride.
Camp in Death Valley.
Walk the Great Wall of China.
Eat a tequila worm.
Bungee Jump.
Walk across a tightrope.

March for a cause.
Give a lottery ticket to a stranger.
Serve Xmas or Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter.
Volunteer at a zoo.
Volunteer for the SPCA.
Volunteer for the Library.
Volunteer for a local park or beach.
Give a microloan through
Be an anonymous donor.
Participate in a beach cleanup day.

Sleep on the beach.
Say "Shut up and kiss me."
Spontaneously kiss a stranger.
Say to a taxi driver "Follow that car..." or "...And step on it!"
Have a public pillow fight.
Get kissed under the mistletoe.
Dance in the street.
Write on a bathroom wall.
Whistle with a blade of grass.
See a concert on a whim.
Throw a public water balloon fight.

Roast a duck.
Make baked Alaska.
Make yogurt.
Take a knife skills class.
Grill pineapple.
Make jam.
Prepare a flambe.
Deep fry a pickle.
Make gnocchi.
Make egg rolls.
Learn to make Soul food.
Make my own spaghetti sauce.
Make risotto.
Learn to cook chinese food.
Crystallize Creme Brulee with a blowtorch
Bake my own bread.
Make a cookbook of family recipes
Make Samosas
Make biscuits
Make a gingerbread house from scratch
Make Pad Thai
Make a souffle
Learn to cook osso buco
Crystallize flowers
Learn to make curry
Learn more about spices
Make hummus from scratch

Own a house.
Pay off all my student loans.
Pay off all my debts.
Leave town and don't tell anyone.
Take a solo trip to Europe.
Start my own business.

Learn to read music (again.)
Learn to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.
Learn to play Fur Elise.
Go to a juke joint in Mississippi.
Perform in a local musical.
Play the steel drums on my 50th birthday.
Sing an entire song in Spanish.
Be a street performer.
Learn to play the spoons.
Own a vintage guitar.

Give 10% of my income to charity.

Have a spa day.
Go to a health spa for a week.
Get a facial.
Walk a marathon.
Be able to do pull ups.
Run a mile without stopping.
Do a colon cleanse.
Get checked for skin cancer.
Get an eye exam.
Bicycle 200 miles in a month.
Run a 10k.

Go on a yoga retreat.
Visit hot springs.

Plant a fruit tree.
Ride an elephant in India.
Ride a camel in Egypt.
Eat a fresh fig.
Jump into a huge pile of leaves.
Walk through an orchard.
Skip stones across a lake.
Plant a rose garden.
Grow sunflowers.
Eat a piece of fruit right from the tree.
Plant a tree on Arbor Day.
Dive in the kelp forest of Monterey Bay.
Snorkel in a coral reef.
Swim in a bioluminescent bay.
Camp in Yellowstone National Park.
See a buffalo.
Kayak in the Galapagos.
Have a picnic in Joshua Tree.
Camp at Yosemite.
Go on safari in Africa.
Run through a field of wildflowers.
Walk on a glacier.

Go to a big gala or charity event dressed to the nines.
Attend a film festival.
Drink tea in a Japanese tea garden.
Take a cake decorating class.
Visit a candy factory.
Take a massage class.
Take a woodworking class.
Attend a poetry reading.
Have a sunrise picnic.
Go to the opera.
Visit a planetarium.
Take a jewelry making class.
Play bingo.
Take a flower arranging class.
Go to a wine tasting event.
Visit the SF Zoo.
Feed the ducks.
Attend a fashion show.
Go to an afternoon tea.
Play chess with the guys at the park.
Attend the symphony.
Go to a pub crawl.
Go for a sleigh ride.
Go on a hay ride.
Go for a horse drawn carriage ride.

Make a sock monkey.
Learn to blow glass beads.
Write a children's book.
Have my writing published.
Publish a coffee table book of my photography.
Learn to silk screen.
Take an acrylic painting class.
Learn to knit.
Learn to crochet.
Stencil public property.
Make a papier-mache mask.
Collaborate on an art installation.
Create a logo for Snapped In Sin.
Paint with oils.
Choreograph a dance.
Make a ceramic vase.
Learn to throw pottery on a wheel.
Cast a sculpture in bronze.
Carve an ice sculpture.
Tie-dye a T-shirt.

Bury a box of treasures.
Play spin the bottle.
Run through the sprinklers at night.
Slide down a banister.
Twirl a baton.
Make balloon animals.
Roll down a sand dune.
Throw a paper airplane off the Empire State Building.
Blow bubbles in a mall.
Start a food fight.
Play hopscotch with kids I don't know.
Bury a friend in the sand.
Send a singing telegram.

Win a trophy.

Show up at the airport with my Passport and a bag and take the next flight.
Ride the Orient Express.
Go on a walkabout in Australia.
See the Marfa Mystery Lights in Texas.
See Mt. Rushmore.
See the Grand Canyon.
Visit Victoria, British Columbia.
Go to the Rose Bowl.
Visit the Top of the Eiffel Tower.
Visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Go to Stonehenge
Kiss the Blarney Stone.
Visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam.
Have dinner at the Moulin Rouge.
Ride a gondola in Venice.
Throw a dart in the map and go wherever it lands.
Take a steamboat down the Mississippi.
Zipline over the Amazon.
Visit the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Take a hot air balloon ride.
See the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Live.
Go to the Olympic Games.
See a rugby match in London.
Ride the Chunnel from England to France.
Visit Dracula's Castle.
Attend Sundance.
Bicycle in Holland.
See a NASA shuttle launch.
Do a girls only trip to Vegas.
Visit a winery in Napa.
Samba at Carnival in Brazil.
Lead a conga line.

Take a famous photo.

Bury a time capsule.
Publish my autobiography.
Scan all my family photos.

Have sex on a rooftop.
Have sex in the rain.
Have sex in a movie theater.
Have sex in a field of wildflowers.

Build a snowman.
Build a kite.
Build a clock.

Play paintball.
Bet $100 on black in roulette in Vegas.
Steal a lawn gnome.
Pose nude.
Spray champagne on someone.
Run through sprinklers when I'm 80.
Pick a lock.
Write my name in wet cement.

Ride a motorcycle.
Visit as many ballparks and stadiums as possible.

Building a Life List.

I have so much to say about this year and this project, but am not ready to put all the pieces together in words. What I am ready to do is declare this blog space my life list tracker going forward. I have my journal and photoblog and social networks, but this is a place to really focus on living life fully. I am going to start building my life list. Places I want to go, things I want to learn and whatever else fits. Some things may be small and some big, some may take my whole life, some may take next week. But I want to see growth and progress and learning, and to do that, you have to start somewhere, and for me that is going to be building this list. So many things made an appearance on the P30 list and then dropped. Well, that doesn't mean I don't still want to do them, so now is the time they come back and be part of the bigger overall life list.

I've read a few books recently that helped me kick off this list. Big props to "Dream It. List It. Do It" which was recently published by the website, which is for life listing in sets of 43 things, as the name implies. I had forgotten I played on that site years ago, but never really liked it. Even the book has some annoying points for me, but it's a brilliant jumping off point. I've now read the whole list of 4000 something things they list and circled a ton, now I will go back and start to compile some semblance of a list from it. Watch for this list, and for it to grow, and shape over time. I encourage you to build your own life lists, share your desires and see what we can do together.

Here's to living!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Final Project 30 Official List

Final Project 30 Official List -

#1 - Purchase an Ipod - Complete
#2 - Visit Vegas & See a show (Spice Girls) - Complete
#3 - Whale Watching on Monterey Bay - Complete

#4 - Tour St. George's Spirits, Makers of Hangar One Vodka - Complete

#5 - See 'Wicked', the Broadway Musical - Complete
#6 - Ride a Mechanical Bull for Valentines Day - Complete
#7 - Multi-Course Dinner - AsiaSF - Complete
#8 - Winchester Mystery House - Wild Card - Complete
#9 - Kooza, Cirque Du Soleil Show - Wild Card - Complete

#10 - San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues Hockey Game - Complete
#11 - Elephant Seals during Mating Season at Ano Nuevo - Complete
#12 - Dance Lessons - Friday Night Waltz - Complete

#13 - Broadway Show in NYC - Complete
#14 - Baseball Game #1 - See Yankees (Last Year in Stadium) - Complete
#15 - Tour Museums in DC - Complete
#16 - Baseball Game #2 - See Mets (Last Year in Stadium) - Complete

I turned 30!

#17 - Minor League Baseball Game - Complete
#18 - Berry Picking - Complete

#19 - Secret Stencil Mission - Complete

#20 - Gun Shooting - Complete
#21 - Santa Cruz Mystery Spot - Complete
#22 - Roaring Camp Railroad - Complete
#23 - Horseback Riding in Half Moon Bay - Complete
#24 - Wine tasting - Complete

#25 - Monterey Bay Aquarium - Complete
#26 - Alcatraz - Complete
#27 - Open Studio at my house - Complete

#28 - Acupuncture - Complete
#29 - Make a Paper Crane - Complete
#30 - Live Life Loud! Doing more than 30 things OTHER than the project! - Complete

Project 30: LIVE LIFE LOUD

Me at Sunset

Task 30/30: When in doubt...say yes.
Complete: NEVER!
Written: December 15, 2008

There are MANY things that I did this year I had never done that just didn’t seem worthy enough for their own post at the time. In reflecting on the other 29 tasks I have completed, I think it is completely remiss to not state how many other things got done this year, both that I had never done, and even that I had done that I managed to do in the midst of this madness. It is very neat to me that I not only did 29 pretty significant things during my 13 month project, but I did all this other stuff as well that I am going to sum up into this one neat little themed project called “LIVING MY LIFE LOUD.” I did a lot of things this year and it felt like I was always on the go or always going through security somewhere for something, but wow, I don’t regret a moment of going!

(New!) New Years Eve @ the Santa Cruz Clock Tower

(New!) Denver – January 10-14 - I had never been to Colorado and it had been years since I had seen snow and way too long since I had seen my good friend, so off I was. It was an awesome, but cold trip of catching up and exploring one of the oldest gold mining towns in the west.

(New!) Rosicrucian Museum, San Jose - February 9 (Mentioned in Winchester Mystery House post.)

(New!) Gruene, Texas - February 17 - Side trip from Austin visit where we made the side trip to San Antonio for Bull riding.

Farmington, Missouri - March 3-9 - Visiting Family

(New!) Philadelphia – April 7-8 – Most of the attention about my big east coast trips went to Broadway, baseball and museums, but in between all that there was a stopover in Philly. Since I was taking the train and the train was going through Philly, it seemed silly to not get off for a night or two. Since I had wanted to do some train tripping in California, this week was a nice substitute for the experience. I really thought that if I lived out there, it would be hard to keep me from bouncing around the eastern seaboard with the help of Amtrak. Granted I was sick while I was in Philly, so there was less excitement than I had wished, but it was a good pace for the middle of my adventure. I saw the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’s house and Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, along with dozens of other important old buildings. I also had deep fried macaroni with tomato soup that I still dream about at night.

Birthday Dinner @ the Red - May 27 - While we always end up there for Pt II of Bday activities, this time, I just decided to make it the main event.

Birthday Party @ The Saddlerack, Fremont - the Cowboy Bar - May 30 - Gave people a chance to reenact the bull and me a chance to really check out the local cowboy bar.

(New!) Camping in Big Sur and Viewing Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas – June 26-28 – One of my bestest girlfriends was turning 40 and decided that she wanted to spend her time celebrating among the beautiful natural elements of the central coast. This would be fabulous if I was into sleeping in beautiful, natural elements instead of just photographing them and going home. But it was her 40th and only a short time before she was going to move away, so I was determined to be a trooper and head out anyway. Unfortunately, we experienced some awful fires this season and the main highway down the coast to Big Sur was closed, leaving only the very hairy drive over the mountains through the military base. There was a second where I thought of canceling, but with no way to notify my friend who was already off on her cell-phone free zone adventure, and everyone else pulling out at the last minute, I knew I had to go.
While the drive there was pretty scary, and absolutely overheated my brakes to the point of failure, thankfully at the bottom of the hill, it was an absolutely amazing trip. I am so thankful for those few days to make memories on the coast, camping on grass overlooking the ocean. It was perfect and I am so very glad I did it, I think we had a fantastic celebration. On the drive home, I decided to take the “long” way home, which meant down south past Piedras Blancas and the elephant seals living there. I had stopped here before and seen some pretty inactive elephant seals once or twice before on drives up and down the coast, but saw nothing like this time. The males were so active and vocal and nothing like the emaciated ones I saw at Ano Nuevo as part of the project earlier in the year. It was such a wonderful site, but I hadn’t showered for 3 days and smelled of campfire with a long drive ahead, so I took off, but smiling.

Burning Man 2008 @ Black Rock City, Nevada - August 23-September 1 - Third Time is a Charm.

(New!) Discovered Manresa Beach in Santa Cruz, Visited the Golden Gate Nation Recreation Area on Hwy 1 North, and discovered Stinson Beach. I also saw dozens of unique sunsets and started the 60 second sunset project.

Trade Shows
(New!) MacWorld, San Francisco – January 15-17
(New!) WonderCon, San Francisco - February 21-24
(New!) New York Comic Con, New York City - April 16-20
San Diego Comic Con, San Diego – July 22-27
Siggraph, Los Angeles – August 11-13

Musicians & Performances
(New!) Tim Bluhm with Steve Poltz and the Cynics @ the Crepe Place, Santa Cruz - January 26
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals @ the Catalyst, Santa Cruz – January 29
(New!) Devil Doll @ Continental Club, Austin - February 15
(New!) Colin Gilmore @ Flipnotics, Austin – February 16
Steve Poltz and the Cynics @ the Crepe Place, Santa Cruz - April 13
Juvenators @ the Wharf House, Capitola - June 7
(New!) Dance Odyssey Student Dance Night @ Louden Nelson, Santa Cruz - June 14
(New!) Hayes Carll @ Don Quixote’s, Felton – June 18
Indigo Girls @ the Catalyst, Santa Cruz - June 25
Matt the Electrician (solo) @ the Crepe Place, Santa Cruz - July 19
(New!) Tom Freund with Matt the Electrician @ The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz - November 14
(New!) Oasis with Ryan Adams & the Cardinals @ Oracle Arena, Oakland - December 3

(New!) Mamma Mia @ American Musical Theater, San Jose - April 26
(New!) Beauty & the Beast @ American Musical Theater, San Jose - May 18
(New!) A Chorus Line @ Currant Theater, San Francisco - July 13
(New!) Spring Awakening @ Curran Theater, San Francisco - October 4

Other Fantastic Things Of Noteworthy Presence in 2008
Birthdays & Bonfires, Beltane, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving & cocktail gatherings!
(New!) Jury Duty in September - Dismissed.
(New!) Got my eyebrows waxed for the first time.
(New!) Celebrated weddings, pregnancies and sending one of my friends to live abroad!
(New!) Voted for the first African American to be the next President of the United States - Barack Obama!

And with all those little things wrapped up into one big thing summarizing what an amazing year I've had, I am going to call this PROJECT COMPLETE! Watch for additional reflections coming soon on what all of this meant to me and all that fun stuff about carrying it into the future and what I'm going to do for 31! For now, just enjoy the links, and help me toast and cheer and celebrate that this has been a very worthwhile project.

I'm so very proud.

Review the Final Complete Project List Here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Project 30: Fly.

Paper Cranes

Task 29/30: Learn to make an origami paper crane
Complete: December 14, 2008

It seems like such a small thing to be in the project, but here I am ranking learning how to twist and fold paper up with seeing Broadway and riding horses on the beach. One of the main themes of this project was to do things I've always wanted to do, not just that I hadn't done. With all my crafty ways, one of the things I've never really explored much is Origami. Like many skills in life, I have always marveled and sat in awe of the people that seemed to concoct the most lovely creations from simple paper, but never had the focus to acquire it myself. A few years ago, a friend even got me an Origami set for Christmas, and yet it wasn't enough of a kickstart to really take me away from other things that held my interest more. At Burning Man, I've frequently seen people give out cranes as gifts, and I thought they were so touching and sweet and seemingly perfect for the setting. Then, this year there was the Temple of Community, a larger than life crane that served as a Memorial. Again, I marveled at the shape and meaning and mentally noted that I would like to learn to fold paper so beautifully.

Sembazuru: Temple of Community

This entire project is a lot about flight. Not just the dozens of times I have done take offs and landings this year, but about flying free and independent in my spirit and willing to just jump and raise my wings. As I struggled to really find one solid last task that didn't seem repetitive, I was suddenly in the art store standing in front of this box that said "Learn to make 1,000 paper cranes." Before I knew it, it was in my basket and I was checking out, still unsure that this was something I could really do. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that holding this as one of the last large tasks, with a goal of going forward making 1,000 cranes, I could happily carry this project forward into the future in a really neat way.

I came home and busted open the box to see it filled with 1000 3x3 squares of rainbow colors of paper and a sheet of instructions that seemed vague if anything. I struggled getting started, but thanks to some clever web resources and a quick Youtube video, the very basic skill that had always been out of my reach was mine. I folded 3 my first night and then 8 the next, upgrading for my last one to the larger sheets of paper that came with my older Origami set and making it MUCH easier to complete the cranes without them looking a bit mangled. Tonight I made one completely from memory and am sort of eager to get a more advanced book and try different things. It's exciting finding a new art. I have .01% of the cranes needed to get a possibility of luck, but this project is most certainly 100% MISSION COMPLETE!

Paper Cranes

Project 30: Human Pin Cushion

Task 28/30: Have acupuncture.
Complete: December 1, 2008 & December 10, 2008

I am not sure if it is because I live in Santa Cruz and alternative medicine is so readily available, but it seems like acupuncture is just one of those things that everyone does. It's even covered by my medical insurance through work. I hate needles. To the point where I generally have to leave the room if they are there and had the last woman who successfully drew blood without me screaming note her name in the file for future reference. There is absolutely nothing potentially relaxing for me about shoving a bunch of needles in yourself, nor do I carry enough of an open mind about alternative medicine to even try to attempt this hair brained idea. Or so I thought. With my career being one of the constantly typing type and my hobbies fairly computer driven, I have had some occasionally problems with my back, neck and shoulders. Improper posture for the duration of my life, laziness and a general lack of exercise as of late haven't really help alleviate the situation either. When injuries arise, assuredly someone always suggests one of two unexplored options in acupuncture and a chiropractor and I generally shrug it (painfully) off.

Recently a friend at work started seeing an acupuncture person with whom she shared my fear of needles, but also my persistent pain and he thought he could maybe use some other methods under the umbrella of his care to help me heal. Since I knew budgetary limitations were going to keep me from knocking off any really spoiling spa day, I figured that this was something that I had always been curious about, but afraid of, and was something still caring for myself in the spirit of the project. After a brief email introduction was made, and a casual phone conversation, all of a sudden, I was booked into my very first appointment to be a human pin cushion. Even though there would be a majority of other care, in order for it to credit with the insurance and walk out of there short only a copay, I had to have "a needle or two." He explained this before hand, and I figured it was something I could come to terms with as the other option on the plate was an $85 an hour massage. I feared an empty bank account a bit more than I did needles suddenly, and since he hadn't exactly killed my coworker yet, I figured it couldn't be that horrific. For as much of a wuss as I am, I am actually more of a whiner than anything, I can generally threshold a fair amount and I was certain I would survive whatever was ahead.

I left work early, but in my usual rushing down the declining slope of the freeway, I looked in my mirror to see Mr. motorcycle cop pulling me over for speeding. While he was nice and I decided to postpone the freak out and major stress until the cost of the ticket and due date were revealed, it was not a very relaxing way to transition from a stressful day at work to a care appointment. I tried to push it out of my head, drive the correct speed and not worry that I was going to cut it just under the wire for being on time. I hate being late places and it is not a good impression on someone that is going to be a partner in improving my health.

I arrived in the beautiful Santa Cruz office, complete with all the relaxing elements you'd think to find in there, including a fish tank with gorgeous gold fish. I was handed a clip board with some paper work that seemed fairly similar to any first health care appointment I had been to and I was suddenly thankful for the formality. I guess it's just reassuring that you see that people sticking you in vulnerable spots have some sort of order and care about themselves and their presentation. In no time I was being led back to an office to sit in a chair to sit and begin our intake conversation. I guess I expected all of the health type questions, but I have to admit that there was some serious eye rolling on my part in the lifestyle changes section. I tried to be respectful and understanding that some people truly understand and grasp things out of my nature and that while I may not want to embrace the life they are suggesting, it doesn't mean I should deny it as possibly true. There was a lot of these unwelcome suggestions that went on. I believe in birth control pills with everything my lovely little education instilled in me, there is a reason to be on it. There is no way I am giving up cold drinks. My body could be whatever ecosystem you say and you could say that I would be guaranteed 10 more years of life if I gave up iced tea and crisp lemonade, I would die early and cool. There isn't going to be kale for breakfast, there is barely breakfast. But I saw the benefits of the tone of his overall suggestions, even if I didn't like the specifics. Okay, yes, there needs to be more for breakfast than triple mochas and I should be more active and start to consider supplements. I am 30 years old and I use my body pretty foolishly sometimes, it might not be a horrible idea to start making smaller changes in my life now to end up with big differences later. While I am not sure I can complete all the homework or make the full changes, I think there is something to be said for having someone to check in with that is willing to embrace working with me on more than my muscle tension.

When it came time for the first treatment, he ended up sticking only a single needle, which I never saw or felt, directly into the top of my head. He proceeded to work on the adjustment of my neck, trying to stretch and retrain the muscles. Overall, there was much more talk the first time than treating, and I definitely think there was some serious skepticism on my part, but he was so nice and well intentioned, that I saw no harm in giving it another go and made another appointment. He suggested a book that I started using on neck exercises, and tried to set out from his office with a geniune reevaluation of my diet and lifestyle. He even called the next day to check on me, and I was really impressed.

I came back the second time the next week before work. I knew I hadn't done all the homework, partially because I was sick, and partially as I said, there will never be kale for breakfast in any universe I live in. But I had gone to the Farmer's Market and I had started cutting down on sweet drinks and caffeine. I even tried to acknowledge when I was having cold things, but realizing that I just wasn't ready to give that up as part of my treatment. I figured I had done enough of the right things to not feel guilty about taking up this guys time who was putting forth a great effort to try and treat my pain. This time there was a bit more lecturing about the cold drinks, apparently, this isn't so much a negotiable part of the treatment and he shared lots of disappointment about my progress in that line item. (I think we will just avoid discussing it in the future so I don't have to lie.) I shared that I was eating more and the big win was the less caffeine, partially kicked off to wanting to save money and being sick.

For the second treatment, we ventured into more needles. This time as I laid face down into the bed, he rolled up the cuffs of my pants and stuck me in the inside of my knees, in addition to my shoulder where I was having some tenderness from the exercises. He then proceeded to do some "cupping" on my neck and shoulders, which he prefaced with warning me about the bruises they would leave. He said the marks were the badge of honor in Hollywood since Gwenyth Paltrow had been spotted with them but this only induced more eye rolling on my part. Neither hippie nor diva am I. The cupping involved him taking 4 jars and suctioning them to my skin and then leaving the room while I laid there like I was being sucked by leeches and poked by a porcupine. I tried to relax and really appreciate that this was an entire hour in my week where I wasn't rushing and was completely for me. The cups actually felt really neat, it was just a weird position to be in, feeling my back pulled on like it was. When I started growing impatient and sort of willing him back into the room, I ended up taking a big deep breath that popped one of the jars off and onto the floor, with my hopes it hadn't shattered. I was still stiff with 3 more and needles and face down. He returned pretty shortly after and removed all the gadgets from my form and I was again getting ready to leave. We made another appointment since I feel like I can commit to enough of the lifestyle suggestions to make it worthwhile for both of us, and it's only $15 each time and an hour for me to breathe. I'm pretty pleased that I faced my fear here to find a possible new avenue for exploring healing my body, and this is most certainly MISSION COMPLETE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Project 30: I'm a Photographer.

Christmas Sunset in Santa Cruz

Task 27/30: Have an "Open Studio"
Complete: November 30, 2008

I am sort of a homebody. A messy homebody at that. Also, my house is a bit of my sanctuary. It does not look like an IKEA catalog. I collect things and I like my sentimental nature of displaying them. I have lived in my beautiful apartment for 5 years now, and over the course of that time, I have shuffled, rearranged, bought, thrown away and cleaned so many times I lost count. Always with this goal of having an adult house that people could come visit, but never actually reaching that goal. Until recently. Billed as potentially the final task in this project, I invited everyone I knew, including bravely my entire building, to an Art and Photography Vodka Spectacular and opened up my home to any that wanted to drop by.

It was a fairly stressful mission for me to even commit to the idea without a clean house and prints that impressed me, feeling a bit shy about my paintings being enough to hold the show. But an invitation had to be sent far enough in advance that people could plan, so I went ahead and sent it. By making the event more about the socializing and the open house and house warming instead of the art and photography, I took a bit of the pressure off of myself to really wow people with my work. It still had me up until 3am the night before moving around things and tidying up and still leaving things undusted and not perfect, but better than ever before. In order to motivate myself to finish the cleaning, I first hung the prints that I had ordered and slipped into the mattes, which ended up looking amazing pinned to the walls. Armed with every vodka mixer imaginable, some suggested cocktails and an apartment that was set to display my creative nature, I opened my door.

Growth For Sale.  Please Contact Me for More Information.

I am a very lucky girl that I have so many supportive and amazing friends that came out to spend the afternoon with me and gander at my things. It was a lovely turnout with quite a successful set of sales, including the 2 paintings above. It was 4 hours of conversation and good times over yummy drinks. (Absolut Peach Lemonade and Pear Vodka with Sprite were the clear favorites but found a new fan for the Mango Black Pepper vodka that doesn't really appeal to me personally.) It was nice to have people in my space and not feel amazingly anxious about it the entire time, and it really seemed to be as the day really was what the project was supposed to be all about. I pushed myself to do something that I normally wouldn't do, and learned a lot about myself in the process. It was nice having some of the neighbors over and bonding with them more, and being able to share with everyone a bit more who I really am. My house is a large representation of who I am, and it was neat to see people embrace it. Unfortunately, this was not the last task of the project, but a successful celebration of the project anyway! I'm very proud that this task can now be called MISSION COMPLETE.

Below are just a few of the selection of images that I chose to have printed in various sizes for my show, mostly old hits:

The Finger, Santa Cruz

Take Flight - Burning Man 2008

San Diego, Vacation Village

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Project 30: The Rock

Alcatraz Island

Task 26/30: Visit Alcatraz Island
Complete: November 22, 2008

Who would have thought that an afternoon visit to a prison would be so lovely? I couldn't have chosen a better day to sail upon the San Francisco Bay out to the famous Alcatraz island. Thanks to the internet, I was able to wait until the last minute to decide how much I wanted to sleep in, booking my ticket early in the morning with enough time to park and walk to the loading dock. The tour seemed to be sold out, and full, but not crowded. I was happy to go to the island about mid day and missing the morning fog. As usual, traveling alone allows me to get to the front and premium seating or able to break away from the big packs with my quick walking, so I felt happy with my whole trip in a way that I don't normally feel happy around tourists. The ride on the bay was absolutely beautiful, but still brisk. When we docked on Alcatraz, I purchased the self tour map and quickly walked away from the masses and up the hill into the cellhouse. It was nice because while I never take the audio tour, this time I knew I wanted to and I did not want to be on the same pace as the rest of the entire boat that I just landed with. I knew that I could linger my way back down the hill and around the island after, but was there to see the jail. The audio tour was great, and I actually really enjoyed my walk through history. It was most crazy to me to think that the prisoners would get these glimpses of the beauty just out of their reach. It reminded me of the jail in Boston that sits with the best views of the river. As a sociologist, I found myself imagining the thoughts of the people that walked the halls, what it must have felt like to live in that tiny space. I tried to imagine the stories of then happening in the times of now and realize how very far we have come in terms of the prison system that we often bash for being out of date. I found myself deciding to take the long seasonal route around the back of the island and through some amazingly large agave plants. It was neat to be walking just steps from the short of the bay as it splashed on the rocks. It was such a lovely afternoon and I found myself so excited to take in more of the city that I decided that 2.5 hours on the island was enough and got in line for the ferry back. I found that I enjoyed the whole experience on Alcatraz way more than I possibly expected, but was much more captivated by a chance to see the beauty of the bay from a different viewpoint. I definitely think that I will be scheduling a visit to Angel Island next, but for now, calling this MISSION COMPLETE (and a much better way to spend $25 than the Winchester Mystery House!)

Some pictures...

Alcatraz Island Alcatraz Island - National Park Service

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island - Warning Sign Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island - Water Tower

Alcatraz Island - Watch Tower

Alcatraz Island - Approaching the dock

Alcatraz Island

The whole set of pictures here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Project 30: Sealife & Stuff

Through the Scope

Task 25/30: Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Complete: November 15, 2008

I fear tourists. But I cannot believe my fear of crowds and such available "I'll just go another time" reasoning has kept me away from the aquarium for this long. A few weeks ago, my favorite munchkins gave me my initial tour of a place that one of them was sharing he has been to "799 times." I was quite amazed how full of an afternoon that we had, starting out midday. Monterey is really such a short drive, and in no time, we were parked and inside the building at the end of Cannery Row. The enthusiasm held by the boys was inspirational and I have noted since then that I'd love to be that excited about something again. Even in my adult sensibilities, I was definitely in a world of wonder where I found myself able to just gaze off and get lost. I miss my own personal aquarium, but I have always enjoyed the relaxing properties of circling fish and waving water. I found such a great appreciation for all of the wonderful wildlife that I got to partake in over the afternoon, as the boys dragged me from one room to the other. I bet I could spend an entire afternoon just sitting and watching the fish swim in those giant tanks. The otters were cool as always, but I found that there were other species that entertained me more. The octopus was active, and the birds were just beautiful. They are adding a seahorse exhibit and I can tell you that I will not live in Santa Cruz another 12 years before I go back to see that wonderful wonder. We ended our afternoon with a delicious meal where I was happy to splurge myself over good company and silly laughs to call this MISSION COMPLETE.

Now on to the pictures...

Jellyfish Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellyfish Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellyfish Monterey Bay Aquarium

Kelp Forest:
Kelp Forest Monterey Bay Aquarium

Other Neat Creatures:
Snake Monterey Bay Aquarium

Frog Monterey Bay Aquarium


Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Whole Set