Monday, May 31, 2010

Week Twenty-One

Event:  Signed up for E-Harmony

Let the train wreck begin! 

Ok technically I've done this before so maybe this doesn't count as a *new* challenge, but I'm going to challenge myself to not be so picky this time, and really put myself out there.

Stay tuned...this will definitely be a fun (I mean funny) adventure!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week Twenty

Event: Bike ride to Target

Earlier this year I got a new bicycle.  For the record I haven't ridden a bike since the early 80's.  Back then I would hit the streets on my hot pink 'Sweet Thunder' Huffy bike complete with banana seat and a basket for my ET doll.  My new bike, however, is nothing like Sweet Thunder.  Don't get me wrong, I don't snap my feet onto the pedals like Lance Armstrong, but it's a nice hybrid of a mountain bike and a city bike.  Perfect for riding around the neighborhood, on trails, etc.  So today I decided to break it in. 

I went to the store yesterday and managed to spend $80 on everything under the sun - except paper towels.  You don't realize how much you use paper towels until you're out.  This morning, I went to grab a paper towel about 17 times before deciding I couldn't get through the day without them.  Instead of driving to the store to get one item, I thought, "Why not ride my bike!"  Excited by the thought, I went to grab a backpack only to realize - I don't own a backpack.  Ah ha!  No problem - I'll ride my bike to Target, buy a backpack AND paper towels and I'll be set!  So, with that, I grabbed my keys and cash, put on my stylish pink/purple helmet (in honor of Sweet Thunder) and hit the road.  One small problem.  I made it half way down my street and my thighs were rubbing together so bad I had created enough friction to start a fire.  This was going to be a loooooong bike ride.

Pushing on, I made it two blocks before having to shift gears to the easiest setting - gear 1 on the left and gear 1 on the right.  I think an old man on a rascal could have passed me.  Super.  Not giving up, I pressed on.  Slow and steady.  By the way, I have a new love in life - hills.  The ones with a downward slope.  Anyway, making it to the main street I needed to be on I went about 100 feet before realizing the sidewalk I was on ended.  So I looked across the street and found it didn't have a sidewalk.  "Where are cyclists supposed to ride their bikes?"  I yelled.  (Not sure who I was yelling at).  And because I've cursed so many cyclists for taking up a lane on the road I was not about to do that.  Instead, I rode through grass, gravel, concrete and parking lots, finally making it to Target.  I've never been so happy to see that dang bull's eye.

Happy to be breathing, me and my sweet thunder thighs walked into Target looking like I had just run a marathon.  I was a hot and sweaty mess and was walking like I just got off a horse.  I immediately grabbed a bottle of water and chugged it as I walked through the women's yoga department.  Biker shorts to prevent friction and chafing - check.  I then went to the luggage department.  Grey and hot pink backpack to carry biker shorts, paper towels and water - check. 

I checked out, stuffed my backpack, hopped back on my bike and headed home.  I didn't make it through the parking lot before feeling that old, familiar pain in my thighs, but my pride helped me push on.  Deciding to take an alternate route (with sidewalks!) I had to ride through a major intersection first.  I lined up behind 3 cars and waited for the light to change.  I could feel the cars line up behind me, just certain they were saying what I always said, "Get off the road and find a sidewalk!"  Little did they know, I was trying.  As the light changed to green, I admittedly got a slow start, but made it through the light just as it turned yellow.  As I rode through, I glanced to my right and noticed a police officer sitting at the light.  Oh great.  I'm probably breaking 1,000 laws and I don't even know it.  This will be interesting.  Making my way through the light the jerk behind me sped through the intersection and passed me as we made our way down the street.  As soon as he passed me though, he slammed on his breaks.  What a jerk!  He was in such a hurry to pass me, only to pull over right in front of me.  That's when I noticed the flashing lights...he was being pulled over by the cop!

I couldn't help but feel a little guilty - did my slow start cause him to run a red light?  No matter, I pedaled for my life hoping my mad cycling skills would keep me from being caught - by him or the cops.

Going at least 70 mph (or maybe 7 mph), I hit a crack in the sidewalk, skidded on a sweet gum ball that had dropped from a tree and almost lost control as I over-negotiated a weave around a stick.  Slowing to a slow and steady roll, fear turned into elation when I realized the rest of my journey home was downhill...and cop free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Nineteen

Event:  Donated Blood

Throughout my lifetime, I've been able to come up with every excuse in the book on why I can't give blood.  This week, my company was doing a blood drive and I decided now was the time.  I mean, what's the worse that can happen? 

For the record, I'm not afraid of needles and I don't get weak in the knees at the sight of blood.  But I do ask that the blood center representatives are clean, educated and knowledgeable.  So imagine my surprise when I am greeted by a woman who has no front teeth (or any teeth on the top for that matter).  Luckily, she just signed me in and handed me off to someone else.  Whew.  Now I'm in the hands of a young guy who appears nice and clean, but as I look closer, his nails are longer than mine and he keeps making comments like "Sorry, I just got here so I'm a little scatter-brained" and "You're my first patient of the day so hopefully all goes well..."  Are you kidding me?  As it turned out, his only job was to take my blood pressure and prick my finger.  Again, whew.

After passing his tests, I was told to sit down, drink a bottle of water and do some exercises to get the blood flowing.  Sitting in the hard, plastic chair, chugging my water, doing my exercises, I quickly became aware of how freaking cold it was in this room.  At one point I looked down and my arms were shaking.  Part nerves, part hypothermia.  But before I could do anything about it, it was time to go.  I was escorted to a bed and the whole time I was praying, "Please give me someone who knows what they're doing, has all their teeth and a loving personality who will hold my hand."  Well, two out of three ain't bad.  As I sat down on my bed, the nurse turned to me and she was sweet and kind and has been doing this for 20 years but she was MISSING TWO FRONT TEETH!  What are the chances! 

I'm pretty sure I told her 12 times that I have never done this before and she assured me it would be fine.  As I started to relax, I overheard another nurse say, "Can I see the new needle when you're ready for her?"  I was like, WHAT NEW NEEDLE?  So, toothless wonder explained to me that they use a new needle that has wings to make the blood flow faster.  MY NEEDLE HAS WINGS?  I mean, as if this experience wasn't traumatic enough, I now have to picture a Robin Hood sized arrow going into my teeny tiny vein.  She then said, "You know, it's like those maxi pads - the ones with the wings!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 

Before I knew it, she was sterilizing my arm with a Q-tip the size of a ping-pong ball and as she tied the rubber band around my upper arm, I realized there was no turning back.  She reminded me to breath and move my legs to get the circulation going and warned me if I started to get warm, I should let her know.  That was no concern of mine, considering I was fighting off frost bite as I laid there.  And we're off. 

The maxi-pad needle was in and according to my new BFF the blood was flowing good and fast.  She stayed by my side as I gently squeezed the paper towel covered ball.  She kept me posted on how much progress I was making.  First 30 ml, then 100 ml, then 200 ml, then 350 ml and as I turned the corner with only 100 ml left, something happened.  I was dizzy, hot, seeing stars and my mouth was salivating.  My nurse looked at me and said, "You ok?"  I was fading fast.  Before I knew it, three little nurse bees were swarming all around me, putting ice cold towels on my forehead, behind my neck, even under my shirt!  They put my chair down flat and forced me to start drinking Sprite from a straw.  Ahh sweet nectar.  Slowly, I came back to life, and was told to burp like a truck driver.  Boy did I ever.  I bounced back about as quickly as I went down and during that time, I finished up my pint.  Hooray!  My arms and legs were heavy as lead, so I had to sit in my chair and drink my Sprite with two hands like a 4-year-old.  A few minutes later I was escorted over to the revitalization station where I treated myself to a Coke, 6 Oreo cookies and two stickers.  I was proud.

Once I felt like I was back to my old self, I celebrated with chicken fingers and quickly made it to my next meeting.  Despite being late due to my near faint, I assured myself and the team I was feeling much better.  That was until I started speaking - and instead of saying, "Let's go over the first part" I said, "Let's go over the pirst FART." 

End scene, fade to black, roll credits.  I'm done.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week Eighteen

Event:  Rode the city bus to work

Did you know you can take the bus for $1.50 from midtown to downtown and it only takes 5 more minutes than driving?  Sheesh.  Where have I been?

On Thursday I decided to take the bus to work.  I got online, did my research, found a "park and ride" location and was ready for a new adventure.  The bus I needed to take was to depart at 7:53am.  So when I came screeching into the parking lot dropping f-bombs, burning rubber, driving like a maniac at 7:53 and a half, I was not surprised to see the bus pull away just as I turned in.  Super.

I ran out of my car and luckily 3 buses were still there.  Hopeful, I jumped on the middle bus and asked the driver if he was going downtown.  Of course not.  I jumped onto the next bus and the bus driver said, "Yes, but not for 30 minutes.  Go ask the first bus."  Ugh.  Glad I wore heels.  I jumped off and ran up to the first bus only to find it was empty with no driver.  "He's not here yet" a woman standing on the curb said to me.  "He's coming around the corner now."  I turned around and eagerly asked the driver if he was heading downtown.  Not only was he heading there, but he was leaving in 4 minutes.  Score!

While at the stop, a few more people hopped on.  A mom and her young daughter, a businessman and a student.  We made frequent stops and the people watching was fantastic.  Especially when a super good looking guy got on. Unfortunately, not only did he not sit by me (I cleared the seat and everything) but he was married.  Dang!  The best, though, was when a homeless guy got on.  He walked up the stairs and told the bus driver, "I only have two minutes left on this card!"  Oh boy.  He had stained pants (I don't want to know from what) and had something that resembled vomit on his jacket.  Again, I don't want to know.  As he walked down the aisle, I kept saying to myself, please don't sit by me, please don't sit by me.  Sure as shit, he sits by me.  Luckily I had a copy of the bus route in my hand, so I pretended to study it since I had no interest in engaging in a conversation with him.  That became difficult, especially when he turned to me and yelled, "Did you know the Germans built Jets before we did?"  (I was like, OMG somebody save me).  He said again, this time louder, "Did you know the Germans built Jets before us?"  I kept focused on my map, never made eye contact, but about lost it when he then exclaimed, "Those dirty bastards!"   

Next stop:  Downtown.  That's me!  Gotta go!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week Seventeen

Event:  Signed up for Continuing Education Classes

Since summer camp is out of the question (rats!) I figured the next best thing to do this summer is to check out what the local community college has to offer.  So, I got on their website and learned that there are hundreds of continuing education courses available.  I enjoyed reading about each one, and found it was hard to narrow it down.  Some of my favorites were:
-"Sign Language for Beginners" - Sounds fun, but I'm not sure who I could practice with.  I'd end up signing to myself in the mirror, but then I'd be seeing it backwards and I'd probably get all confused and frustrated...
-"Goodbye to Shy" - Hmmm.  Clearly don't have that problem.
-"Decorating Sugar Cookies with Colorflow/Glaze Icing" - Seriously?  This is a class?  I needed to take the pre-requisite class: "How to make sugar cookies when even the slice and bake sugar cookies don't turn out right".  Maybe next summer...
-"Beginning Braille - Web-Based" - Isn't that an oxymoron?  Web-based braille? Now that's just not fair. 
-"Lactation Management Strategies - Birth to Weaning" - Someday I'll know exactly what this means.  For now, I don't think I want to know.
-"Massage and bodywork for the Cervical Region" - WTF?

While all of these sounded fun and challenging, I ended up choosing three finalists that were right up my alley.  And then I decided, what the heck, I'll take all three. 

In June, I'll be attending a class called:  "What's Happening Around Town for Singles".  I shit you not.  Course description: "This class is for singles who want to know about singles groups, events and activities taking place around town.  The facilitator will discuss various social and special interest singles groups.  The fee includes the cost of a directory and other materials." 
Oh goody!  I can't wait to find out what those are!  Will the directory lead me to a good looking, wealthy bachelor?

In July, I'll be attending a class called:  "101 Fun and Clever Ways to Get Noticed".  Again, seriously?  I just couldn't pass this one up.
Course description:  "The first step in starting a relationship with someone of the opposite sex is getting noticed.  This workshop will discuss fun and clever ways to do that.  The instructor is a singles leader and author.  Come and have fun meeting others and contribute your own clever ways of getting noticed.  The fee includes handout materials."
Would flashing the class be a good idea for the first day?  And again, I get handouts? 

And finally, the last class I signed up for is called "Write and publish your own book". 
Course description:  "Learn how to plan, write, edit and publish your own masterpiece.  How to choose a topic, appraise the competition, conduct research and interviews, and write winning query letters and proposals for publishers and agents."

This blog may be as far is it goes, but why not?