Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 31 - Recap

In looking back over the past month of my blogging adventures, I feel I've already grown and learned a lot about myself. By challenging my fears I am hopefully making myself a better person, and the world around me a better place. While blogging every day has definitely been more time consuming then I could have imagined, the benefits far outweigh any thoughts of stopping. Also, I must admit, some of my fears are costing me money! Costs of things such as entrance fees to events and places, or supplies needed in order to tackle fears weren't calculated in the undertaking of this blog but still, I continue because I am loving this experiment in self-exploration! So far, in the past 31 days I've:

- I trusted a stranger, and he was right!

- I confronted numerous people in a positive manner and by not choosing the comfort of quietness, I braved my fears and got the results I wanted!

- My self confidence has been boosted by compliments received and I can now confidently wear long necklaces. I now own 3 great necklaces, and continue to shop for more!

- I have successfully baked 3 batches of cookies this month! While my waistline doesn't need them, I'm so excited to be able to bake them that I don't care!

- I tackled my fear of stairs and raised $220 for charity!

- I groomed my cat successfully and not only does she feel better, but I have less clean-up from shedding and hairball disasters. It's been a win-win situation!

- I learned to trust in myself and my talents, and accept truths such as, I am good at what I do!

- I am taking charge of my health and made doctor's appointments that are long over due and even made an appointment to boost my bust and self esteem, too! No "boob jobs" planned, refer to my "Uplifted" post if you must!

- I conquered my fear of bugs. Okay, it's limited to the cricket species but one step at a time, right?

While all my accomplishments aren't included here (that's what the blog is for!), I am really happy with the results of the things I've tackled so far. I'm looking forward to participating in the upcoming events I've already signed up for, and can't wait to find new adventures and fears to tackle as well! Here's to the next 334 blog posts! Hopefully if you're reading this, you'll join me in some of my efforts. Cheers!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 30 - Step Up Event

Today was a big day for me, I conquered the Kohl's Step Up For Kids, half climb of the AON building (refer to blog post, "Day 7" for the basics). Following is a recount of this first time climber's experience...

With 40 flights of stairs ahead of me, I took a moment at the base of the climb to make sure my I-pod was well prepared for the journey, and before I knew it, I was off. By floor 17, I thought, "Wow, this is real, I can't believe I'm doing this!" and that's when the real huffing and puffing started. At floor 20 I thought, "Thank goodness, I'm half way done!". At flight 23 I found a lost child and worked with another climber to help find her mother, and then continued onward and upward. I must have looked pretty pathetic nearing floor 29 as another climber offered what I hope was encouraging words followed by the "thumbs up" signal but between my I-pod and what seemed to be my heart pounding in my head I couldn't hear him and really, he could have told me anything so I just smiled and said "thank you!" as he passed me by. The landing at level 32 found me thinking, "Hell." Yeah, that's about all I thought at that point and at floor 35 I began the countdown in my head, "Just 5 more to go!". I think it was at staircase 36 that a father carrying a new born up the stairs lapped me, and I just had to laugh and remind myself today was about completing the task, not about time.

As I neared 40, I could hear the music blaring encouraging me to climb faster, so I did. I stepped through the doorway at 40 feeling super-accomplished. I took a moment to drink some water and cool down and was relieved, I was done! Of course, after standing around for a minute or two in efforts to catch my breath, a gentleman told me I had to step across the time clock to allow the timing chip on my shoe to calculate an end time. I had to laugh and again remind myself that this was all about finishing and not about my final time, right!? Fear of stairs conquered, blog updated, and now I think it's time for this blogger to conquer a nap!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 29 - Sketch

I signed up for a wildlife sketch workshop, via the link above, hosted by the Lincoln Park Zoo. I've always wanted to be one of those artists that sit in the park and sketch, or paint along the streets of Venice, but have made a lot of excuses for not doing so. When I saw this structured opportunity on the zoo's website, I jumped at the chance to set fear aside and confidently draw where no Lynn has drawn before. I'm looking forward to seeing my results and maybe even sharing them with you in March!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 28 - Lion Tamer

I am the proud owner of a fuzz-ball. Actually, she owns me, who am I kidding? Being a fuzz-ball, or to be politically correct "Domestic Long Hair", cat owner has it's challenges. Matts. Tangles. Knots. Shedding. These things are not helped by the fact that my DLH seems to have no grooming skills of her own, and solely relies on me to brush her and keep her tangle free. That of course, is a full time job and seeing as I already have two jobs, brushing and grooming the DLH doesn't get done as often as it should. So, since neither I nor the DLH can keep up with her high-maintenance grooming schedule, I elect to get her groomed professionally and trimmed into what is called a Lion Cut. She comes home with a mane, a trimmed body and legs, and fur "boots". While she truly enjoys her days at the spa, the problem is, quarterly spa treatments get expensive!

Last fall, I found myself in the grooming supply section of a pet store, and I realized that for the price of one "spa treatment", I could purchase a mid-level trimmer and groom the DLH myself. So I took a leap, and made the purchase. Now mind you, I have not gone to kitty grooming school and know nothing on how to give a proper haircut. My haircutting resume would be short, and my references would include very unsatisfied, mangled Barbie doll heads, but I didn't let lack of experience dissuade me. I have so far, given my DLH two fur-trims, and while the results were probably humiliating for the girl, I must mention that I have never been confident enough to give her a full Lion Cut. Why? Because she GROWLS! She growls continuously to let me know that she does not want those trimmers anywhere near her chest, belly or "naughty bits". So my previous de-fuzzing sessions of the DLH have been limited to her back and sides, and scissoring of the belly. This still leaves a tangled chest and rear end. Because I know growling is a warning, and that cat bites are very nasty and hard to keep clean, the DLH wins the battle of the trimmers and I back off to avoid any escalated behaviors or reactions.

Recently, with the full support of my blog behind me, I decided I would tame the lion! The most recent grooming session of the DLH included a trimmed body, chest and legs! No scissors allowed! I pushed past my fears and intimidation created by the horrendous growling and got the job done. And while it is nowhere near a great job, it does save me $320+ a year in grooming fees and it helps the DLH avoid hairballs (yuk!). Who knows, with enough practice maybe I'll open a kitty salon someday, but for now the lion has been tamed, and fear conquered. Results below.

- Lion Cut, 2011 -

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 27 - @#$&*%!

Today's planned blog has been postponed because, quite frankly, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Hopefully, regular programming will return tomorrow. I had planned on creating a post of a much different subject and fear today, but ya know what, I'm irritated and I just want to complain. Yep, I just want to complain for the sake of complaining. Now, you might wonder, "How does complaining translate to the overall theme of this blog?". Well, to be honest, I'm afraid to complain.

The fact is, everyone has a bad day now and again and most people let the world know when they do. My fear is, if I complain publicly then people will see that I am not perfect, or perhaps think that I just can't "handle" life, or interpret my complaints as weaknesses. There are a few people that I wholeheartedly confide in, but over all, I don't let people know that sometimes just getting out of bed seems like an insurmountable chore. For e
xample, I belong to a social networking site and although I read other people's statuses who kvetch, I refuse to post anything that even hints at negativity because I don't want people to know that I'm human. Human = imperfect, vulnerable, and weak. Perfectionist much?

So, with fear of being weak or viewed as being imperfect set aside, here are my unedited, somewhat trivial, complaints for the day. I leave you with these thoughts...

I woke up 10 minutes early, but two accidents on the way to work
delayed my commute by 20 minutes, so thank you asshole drivers who crashed and made me miss my much needed Rise-n-Shine Yoga class today.

I really needed Yoga today, physically, mentally and emotionally.

The bathrooms at work are under construction. This does not make someone with stomach cramps happy and what the hell anyway? You (building people that are doing construction) KNEW people would be using this facility pre-November 2010, so why are you just NOW working on the damn bathroom that was perfectly FINE before???

At lunch, the cafeteria ran out of eggrolls and I ended up with another chicken breast sandwich. There are only so many condiment combinations that one can create in order to turn a char grilled, dried out chicken breast into something edible.

Quit asking me questions, I don't have all the answers!


If we're going to dinner, and you say, "You pick the restaurant, I don't care where we go.", I don't expect to hear "No, I don't want spaghetti I want a hamburger." when I suggest Italian food. Just tell me where the hell it is you want to eat then, why am I guessing and wasting my energy if you already know what it is you do and don't want?!

Can't you people clean up after yourselves?!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 26 - Advice of Strangers

While having drinks one night at a local bar, the topic of conversation became recently viewed movies. As my most recent cinematic experience was the laughable cartoon, "Tangled", the bartender quickly took control of the conversation and mentioned a movie that, at the time, I hadn't even heard of. He began to give a glowing synopsis of the movie, "The King's Speech" and offered his personal review of the actors as well. As he spoke, I decided that my bartender was obviously in the wrong profession and was really the next Roger Ebert in disguise. Believing in his movie critique talent, I couldn't refuse his suggestion.

Putting fear of differences aside, I put complete trust in a stranger's advice to see a movie I had never heard of. Of course, the lapse of time between our conversation and the actual ticket buying allowed me to realize the movie I was preparing to see is now a 12 time Oscar nominee. However, had I not had the previous conversation with my own personal Roger Ebert, I would have quickly gotten annoyed with the current Oscar hype, and ignored viewing what turned out to be an excellent movie. I give it two thumbs up!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 25 - 2N

Included in my ever-growing spreadsheet of fears to tackle was task #86: "Introduce yourself to a neighbor". I wanted to task myself with an introduction because, 1) it's downright intimidating and 2) it's sad when you live in a 3 floor walk up, 6 units, and don't know anyone that shares that space with you. When I added this fear to my list, I originally thought I might bake cookies, or slip an invite under my neighbor's door to break the ice. I imagined coffee, baked goods, nice conversation and maybe even an invite into their home - what I got was loud music.

Enter fear #78: "Confront Someone". I'm horrible at finding the nerve to confront people, so I added this task to my list to help me grow personally. Little did I know #86 and #78 would be a head on collision for me as I came home last night.

Just as I took my shoes off to relax, it started. That's right, the 1960's, Oldies But Goodies sing along was taking place right underneath me. At first, I tried to ignore it, after all it was still early in the evening but as the do-wops continued, it became apparent that I wasn't going to be able to tune out such lyrics as, "He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good". I got irritated. I paced the floor debating my course of action and then just as, "and then he kissed me..." played, I found myself putting on my shoes.

I descended the stairs quickly and pounded on the door of unit 2N to no avail. Since the occupant couldn't hear me over the blaring noise, I waited for a break in the song before I knocked again. Finally the music stopped and a meek little voice answered, "Hello?" through the door. "What? I'm not talking through a damn door", I thought, so I calmly asked, "Can we talk?". The door opened slowly, and what appeared to be a timid little Munchkin peeked out from around the corner.

I said hello, and noted that we had never properly met so I introduced myself. I also mentioned that I might be just a little perturbed by the volume of his music. To make light of an awkward situation, I did include that I liked most of his musical selections, but requested they just be turned down a bit. He giggled. He thanked me for pointing out his abuse of musical power, as he didn't want to be known as the "obnoxious neighbor" to everyone in the building. I giggled this time around. We parted ways on a good note, and I'm hoping by putting fears aside and introducing myself that my confrontation will pay off with a little more peace and quiet for all to relish.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 24 - Fireproof

"Baptism by fire". We've all heard the phrase and probably even said it quite a few times. And while I've always understood the general meaning, I decided to look up the definition of this well repeated quote. According to Wikipedia the phrase describes, "anyone doing something "the hard way" for the first time, particularly if training is necessarily insufficient to fully prepare one for the experience". Training...insufficient...yeah, I think that sums up my fearful situation today.

Today I got baptized by fire at work when senior management decided I was to give a presentation with a generous 45 minute advance notice. The presentation I was to give was for my company's IT department and I'm sorry, but you just can't "wing it" and expect to sound credible in front of a bunch of system analyst nerds. You have to know your "stuff", cold. You have to be prepared. I wasn't either of those things. Despite my lack of preparation, the meeting wasn't going to wait for me, and before I knew it, it was show time.

My nerves showed up just in time to allow me to grip the podium way too tight, and then begin the Power Point presentation by clicking far too many slides ahead of what it was I was speaking about. In addition,
I'm sure I also finished my subject matter in record time. I was perfectly, imperfect and I was okay with that! At the end of the hour, I gave myself permission to accept the presentation and my performance for what it was. I set my fears aside and survived the baptism, but most importantly I did not disintegrate. Fear of sounding like a complete idiot, conquered. Fire proofing myself, complete.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 23 - Dog Day Afternoon

Today I conquered insecurity. This wasn't a planned fear to tackle but became one rather quickly. I was asked to help out a friend with a dog problem and after putting it off once, I had to face facts that today was the day to conquer the "Angry Basset". I've been training dogs close to 3 years, and while I have moments of greatness, sometimes it doesn't occur to me that I'm a good trainer. When friends ask for free advice where their pups are concerned, I reply that I might be able to help. Never do I seem to utter a confident response of, "Sure, I can do that!".

After an hour and a half drive, I was reacquainted with a long lost friend and his pack which included a Boxer, a Newfie and the "Angry Basset". The angry Basset was the problem child of the group, and his laundry list of bad habits was quickly divulged to me. I was immediately intimidated by the list of naughty behaviors, and quite honestly wanted to turn tail and run! I quickly regained my composure and realized I couldn't tackle everything on the list, so I focused on what the pup's parents thought were his top 2 issues and offered up some free advice. By the end of my visit, the angry Basset didn't seem so angry anymore and his parents began to see their own involvement in his bad behaviors. I advised the Basset's humans of some modifications they could do, and I think with a little consistency they'll see a new dog emerge. As I left, I was complimented on my skills, and thanked for my time. Payment was a shirt covered in drool, and a full serving of self confidence that yes, I am good at what I do!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22 - Hello

Today's agenda, smile and say hello to 100 people. That may sound easy and even a bit silly, but let me tell you, after being repeatedly ignored it's hard to work up the courage to attempt your next "hello". It's sad that we as humans live our lives in a bubble and walk around ignoring others. What is it that makes us afraid to reach out to others? Why is it that we're looked upon as weird if we say hello to a stranger? Why is it that being cordial is seen as the odd behavior, versus ignoring others?

Hell bent on moving outside my comfort zone and challenging others, I started my morning walking through my neighborhood greeting everyone I saw with a cheerful, "Good morning!" paired with a smile. I was ignored. I was stared at as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. It was disappointing to say the least. My third "Good morning!" fell upon a fast walking couple that slowed a moment to smile and say good morning in return. That was all the encouragement I needed to continue with my project.

As the day progressed, I lost count of how many people I said hello to and started over numerous times. My official count (that I actually kept track of) was 98 hellos. I'm sure those added with my "do-overs" propelled me well into the mid-100s. Despite being snubbed numerous times, my "hellos" did make quite a few people smile and some people even stopped to respond and ask how I was doing.

Overall, project "Hello" was a success, but it was definitely exhausting! The majority of my 98+ "hello" responders smiled and seemed genuinely glad someone showed an interest in them. For me, the positive outcome was worth setting my fears of rejection aside. While I can't promise to greet 100 people every day, I'll definitely be giving away more smiles and hellos in the future. After all...

"A smile is the shortest distance between two people." - Author Unknown

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21 - Naked (Not Really)

I decided to take a photo of myself without make-up. It's pretty scary. Not the photo (I hope), but the fact that me, without make-up, will be permanently documented. I am not one of those people who have to have make-up on before I leave the house, but if doing so, I usually make sure I'm going to places where I won't run into people I know. So again, taking a picture for all to see, is quite a scary feat for me. What will people think?

What do I think? I'm afraid that people will see the uneven skin tone, and any other imperfection that I can dream up. I'm afraid people will see someone un-lovable. But that fact is, what I should see, setting fears aside, is a bright smile paired with mischievous and perhaps intriguing eyes. What I should see, is an intelligent woman with a bright future. What I should see, is a fun girl who anyone else would be lucky to be friends with.

Why are we all our own worst critics? Why can't we put fears aside and just love ourselves and each other without judgement? How can we expect others to not pass judgement, when we judge what we see in the mirror every day? Here's to facing fears, and being okay with just being me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20 - Namaste

Today I set fears aside and tried a new exercise class. While I'm no stranger to Yoga, I wasn't sure what to expect from the class entitled, "Rise-n-Shine Yoga". Committing myself to attending was facing one fear, while actually getting there was another. I have quite a commute to tackle before arriving at the 7am class, and was fearful of running late. While traffic was mostly a breeze, I did end up about 2 minutes late for class. I'm always intimidated walking into a class or meeting late, so my immediate fear-based idea was "just don't go in and do some other work out instead". I pushed through that fear and pushed the classroom door open, and of course, all eyes were on me just like I awkwardly imagined they would be. But what I didn't expect was the warm welcome I received from my favorite instructor who said it was great to see me and to come on in! I rolled out my mat, took off my shoes and socks, and entered savasana (corpse porse) and let my fears, and pre-conceived thoughts of the day melt into the floor. A couple of sun-salutations and downward dogs later, I feel like a million bucks! Rise-n-Shine yoga it is!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19 - Secrets

Everyone has secrets. Some secrets you allow yourself to share with others, while other stay cemented safely in the pavement of your mind. Some secrets are easier shared with a complete stranger, but finding the right stranger to listen to you can be difficult. That said, "Post Secret" started as an art project that allowed people to design a postcard, and share their secrets, their fears, or regrets anonymously by mailing them in to the address pictured above. These secrets then had the potential to be published by project creator, Frank Warren via his blog, and now his books.

Sharing secrets can be a stress relief, or your worst nightmare if you share them with the wrong person. Putting fear of judgement aside, I'm sharing some secrets here and will be mailing my own postcard off to Post Secret shortly. What would your postcard say?

1) I like the Beatles. I have adamantly protested liking them until seeing a recent tribute to Paul McCartney on TV and realized I like their music, I just never knew who sang the songs.

2) I own a Snuggie and love it.

3) Despite my achievements in life, I'm afraid I'm failing at it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18 - First Things First

I've received numerous inspirational emails in the past with stories and advice that tell me I shouldn't save that sexy black dress for a special occasion, that I should invite more people over and not worry about how clean my home is, and that I should relish life and eat dessert first. And while I love these e-mails, I wonder who actually does any of this stuff? It all sounds great on paper, but again, I ask, who actually does this stuff? I can answer that question, today it was me!

I headed out to dinner with a great friend and her daughter and warned my company that I would be ordering dessert first (just in case they wanted to run and hide). I put fears aside that I would look like a gluttonous pig or a raging choc-o-holic that needed a fix and ordered the most calorie laden, decadent dessert my taste buds desired. While my dates ordered "normal" appetizers, I ordered up one slice of Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake for immediate consumption.

I giggled a bit as the waitress brought out my dessert. Sensing my discomfort, she said, "Hey, gotta make sure you get it all in, right?!". With my friends' encouragement, I slowly worked on my dessert and got about half way through when I decided to set it aside to save room for dinner. What an odd concept, "save room for dinner" when I'm used to hearing "did you save room for dessert?".

Today, as the Beatles would sing, I got "by with a little help from my friends". Fear of looking silly, conquered. Fear of being judged, conquered. Tummy ache, well that will need more then the Beatles lyrics to feel better. Despite the tummy rumbles, I still say enjoy the little things in life. Eat dessert first.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17 - Baubles

I have saved myself many a dollar and then some, by passing up the jewelry counters at my favorite stores. I have actively avoided purchasing many necklaces that I thought were beautiful because the "in" style these days seems to be long necklaces. You know, the type of long necklace that comes to rest about half way down the front of your shirt? This is the type of necklace that I believe sits at just the right length to draw even more attention to my frontal assets then need be. Of course, the fear and paranoia of over-advertising my "goods" is my own perception, and probably not that of others. In order to overcome my fear today, I actually had to go shopping this past Saturday!

Saturday found me perusing the jewelry department of a local department store that I love to frequent. Looking at jewelry with an actual intent to buy was intimidating to say the least. As I held up dozens of long necklaces, none of which passed my "wear-ability" inspection, I began to get nervous at the thought that I would not find a strand of baubles to wear. Finally my eyes landed on a multi-colored, two strand, semi-understated, simple necklace and then I thought, "Okay, now what do I wear this with?". Quickly bringing all items in my closet to mind, I believed this necklace would work with at least two different outfits so off to the register I went.

I must admit, it's been hard not to fidget with the necklace today, and when I see people looking at my chest, I still remain unsure of exactly what it is that they're looking at. Despite my fears, I've conquered wearing a lengthy necklace and will focus on the compliments I've received versus the insecurities I feel. Now all I want to know is, when is the next trip to the jewelry department?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16 - Complaint

I bitch and moan quite a lot, but to effectively complain and stand up for one's self is quite different. I tend to let a lot of things "slide" that bother me because either I don't find them worth the effort of complaining about, or more so, I'm afraid of the reception my complaint will receive. Today I decided to stand up for myself and let my complaint be heard. Granted, the situation wasn't life altering, but none the less I set fear aside and complained.

The day started as I dragged what seemed to be 50 pounds of laundry down 4 flights of stairs, only to find out there was no detergent left in the bottle I had toted with me. I happily walked to the grocery store and purchased more detergent with a lovely Spring scent to perk up my load. Returning to the laundry room, I haphazardly tossed my laundry in the machines, added said detergent, loaded the coin slots with quarters and pushed the handle inwards expecting the machine to start, but got nothing. That's right, no lights, no water, no power, no nothing. This only affected one of the three machines I was using so at first I thought, "whatever", it's just one machine. But then I thought, I just lost 6 quarters and that's at least one McDouble cheeseburger from McDonalds, or an hour of parking in the city and now I want it back!!!

I quickly consulted with my legal counsel, which is really my boyfriend of almost 5 years, to see if I had a case and the verdict was yes. Before I could lose momentum in arguing my case, I ended the call with my counselor and dialed my maintenance man. After a short description of the insubordinate machine's behavior, I was guaranteed a full refund. While it didn't help my laundry get done any faster, it did help my day go much easier! It was great to complain, be heard, and get results. Final ruling in favor of the plaintiff and fear defeated.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 15 - No

Today I put myself first by saying "no". I put the fear of being unpopular aside. I put the fear of being considered a jerk aside. I put the fear of making someone else upset aside. Saying no doesn't make me a bad person, and I need to remember that more often. Unfortunately my "no" includes rescheduling plans, and while I am truly sorry to the other party for the inconvenience of short notice, I think it's for the best. Saying no allows me to take the weekend to heal my soul, rest and rejuvenate both mentally and physically. I can make the world a much happier place when I'm a well rested, healthy and happier person! Here's to a full day of "no"!

Note: Today's photo is of the actual DVD of the movie "Juno", minus the letters "J" and "U".

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 14 - Laced Up

I'm finding that one post, leads to another idea, and then another...well, you get the idea. With already committing myself to the Kohl's Step Up event in January, and the Run for the Cheetah event in April, I figured, what's 10 more events? Putting fears aside, I've decided to lace up the sneakers and take on the task of participating in (at least) one physical event each month of 2011. Although 12 events over 365 days seems pretty easy, 1 event every 28-31 days doesn't! While subject to change, I'm hoping to participate in the following events:

January - Kohl's Step Up for Kids

February - North Shore Cupids Dash 7K

March - St. Paddy's Day 5K Run/Walk

April - Run for the Cheetah 5K

May - Bike the Drive/15 miles

June - United Run for the Zoo 5K

July - L.A.T.E. Ride/25 miles

August - Elvis is Alive 5K

September - Lung Run/Walk 5K

October - JDRF/Walk to Cure Diabetes

November - Hot Chocolate 5K

December - Santa Hustle 5K

If all goes well, I plan on having a t-shirt quilt made from all of my event t-shirts! I've always wanted a t-shirt quilt and what better way to remember 2011! Check out:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 13 - Meet a Cheetah

Robert Schuller once asked, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" and my reply would be, raise $1,000 so I can meet a cheetah. Yep, I wanna meet a cheetah, the world's largest purring cat! How can I accomplish this? Well, so glad you asked! I will be signing up for the Chicago event, "Run For the Cheetah" which takes place this April. I am taking on the bold task of raising $1,000 which, if achieved, would allow me to meet a cheetah! All donations benefit the Cheetah Conservatory, and while I will purr-ticipate in the event no matter the amount of money I raise, I must admit it's a very scary undertaking to fund-raise $1,000! I had a hard time committing myself to this goal, but this is a once in a life time opportunity that I will not let pass me by because I am afraid of failing. Cheetahs in the wild face much scarier things then I will in my fund-raising attempts, so let the fund-raising begin!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 12 - Bagged

I am afraid of bugs. Spare me the logic that "they're more afraid of you, then you are of them" because I just don't believe it. They scare me with their multiple legs, antennae and crunchy exoskeletons. No matter their size, I can admit I'm afraid of them. While we do our best to avoid each other, the one place I cannot avoid bugs is at work. I work part time in a pet retail store and we not only sell reptiles, frogs and lizards, but things to feed them. One of those "things" are live crickets. Because of my fear of bugs, I avoid the cricket bagging center where employees must accommodate customer requests by sticking their hands in a large bin of crickets and bag the number of bugs requested. I prefer to limit my interaction with the noisy boogers to random store floor sightings of those that managed to escape from the bin of doom.

Choosing to exterminate my fears, I decided today was the day I will bag crickets. I recruited an awesome co-worker to talk me through the bug gathering process and the best advice she offered was, "just think of them as raisins". That worked, I'm not afraid of raisins! It wasn't long until I had my first customer, "10 large crickets please"! I told him I was new at bagging and requested that he be patient, and he jokingly replied, "Don't let them bite you!". Just what I needed to hear in my panic given state, but then I remembered, raisins don't bite! As I sealed the bag that was now full of something's dinner, I realized I bagged a lot more then crickets - another fear conquered.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 11 - Tanks

- Le Handle -
(colors inverted)

I'm realizing the more I blog, the more odd I sound. Some of the things that I fear probably sound pretty silly to anyone reading this and well, today's post won't be any exception! I am totally creeped out by and fear toilet tanks! I think they're absolutely gross, and did I mention, creepy?

The childhood lore of alligators in the sewer and the possibility of them climbing up and out of the toilet to eat me have scarred me for life where toilets are concerned. To this day, I do not like toilets that don't allow for me to see the bottom of the bowl. That means any colored water, or dark colored bowl is avoided if at all possible because I just never know what might be lurking at the bottom waiting to attack my naked rear end as I take seat on the thrown.

In addition to being a "bowl snob", I really don't like toilet tanks. They scare me. They're ugly, and dirty, and the float ball just freaks me out. I never know what's going in the tank. I mean, the float ball could invite a family of alligators to live in there with it and I wouldn't know until I have to remove the tank lid to fix a lazy flush. And then well, who knows what chaos could ensue! Sure I'm exaggerating, a little, but the point is toilet tanks and dark bowls scare me.

As I believe education is power, I decided to educate myself about the toilet tank and everything in it. In addition, I removed the lid of my tank to compare my newly found "book smarts" against real world experience. I took a long hard look at the flapper valve, ballcock, float ball, chain and smelly water and while I can't say I enjoy the toilet tank any more then I did before, I think maybe the next time I have to remove the tank lid I won't be so afraid. Toilet tank anxiety successfully reduced, but not gone.

Toilet diagram from:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 10 - Tiramisu

Tiramisu seems to be a menu staple at almost any restaurant I've frequented, but yet, I've never tried it. Almost everyone I know loves it and highly recommends it, but yet, I resist. Why? Because I'm actually afraid I'll like it! My fear is that if I like the "pick me up" dessert it will become one more sinful item I'll have to resist when counting calories and more so, I don't want to become an espresso soaked Lady Fingers addict! I figure that if I never know what the Italian creation tastes like, I can't miss or crave it. Admittedly, the logic above seems silly and doesn't even take into consideration that I may not like tirmasu! Today's mission: tackle tiramisu.

Angelina Ristorante, a neighborhood favorite trattoria, supplied me with an order of tiramisu for my taste test. It was a whipped chocolate delight with hints of coffee throughout, but to no failure of the restaurant itself, I must admit their creme brulee is better! My waist line will have nothing to worry about with this dessert. Scale 1, dessert 0. Fear conquered!

If you're in Chicago, check out Angelina Ristorante, it's worth every penny! My favorites are the garganelli pasta and creme brulee!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 9 - Baked

- Yummy! -

Seriously, there's nothing like a holiday invite to a cookie exchange to strike fear into my heart almost instantly. Am I afraid of the calories I may consume with all the yummy cookies abounding? Nope, not at all. I'm afraid to RSVP because I can't bake a cookie to save my life! I have never successfully baked a cookie. That's right, not ONE good cookie has ever come out of this girl's oven. And now, I'm at a point in my life where I am literally afraid to try to bake a cookie as the results are sure to be charcoal disasters. Well...that was until I took on the task of "doing one thing every day that scares me."

The oven was warmed, the cookie sheet non-greased. The dough was divided up and spread out over the 15 x 12" pan. This was it, there was no turning back. It was bake time! Bake time turned out to be 8 minutes and 47 seconds for finally, a successful, non charred batch of chocolate chip perfection. I am so happy to have finally conquered the fear of baking cookies. Watch out Betty Crocker, there's a new girl in town!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 8 - Uplifting

Boobies. Ta-tas. The girls. Whatever it is that you call them, breasts need the right support via a properly fitted undergarment. It's a sad statistc that 85% of women walk the planet with a bra that doesn't fit, doesn't offer the right amount of support or comfort, and is actually being worn incorrectly. Because I'm sure I'm included in that percentage of women, I've made a bra fitting appointment with the "Bra Whisperer". The Bra Whisperer, Susan Nethero, trained under the bra-fitter of the Queen of England and has reached national acclaim. She was most recently featured on the Oprah show and that is how I heard about her and the miracles she works!

While you wouldn't think making a bra fitting appointment would be a scary thing, it is for me. My first and only attempt at a bra fitting took place at a well known lingerie store and it went horribly wrong. While I'll spare you most of the details, I will say it ended with me in tears. The highlight of the fitting was having to endure two store associates in the fitting room with me, both tugging on the bra in different directions and pointing out the reason that the bra didn't fit wasn't due to perhaps the bra being the wrong style for me, but rather due to my "body issues". Thanks ladies.

Wanting to put that traumatic experience behind me, I've set my nerves aside and have made an appointment for a free fitting at "Intimacy" in Chicago. I'm looking forward to spending time with a professional bra fitter that can help make me look and feel my best. Finding the right bra will definitely uplift more then just my "girls". I can't wait!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 7 - Step Up

I decided to participate in the "Kohl's Step Up for Kids" charity event stair climb because first and foremost, it's for a great cause. But since this blog is about doing one thing every day that scares me, I must admit I picked this particular event to participate in because I am afraid of stairs. OK, let me explain. I am not paralyzed in fear if I see stairs, but I've had numerous bad experiences on them or because of them to justify avoidance. Today should I need to take a flight of stairs up or down, you can rest assured that I am "white-knuckling" the hand rail the entire way.

Flashback to a time when Coke was just a beverage and it came in glass bottles. If you're old enough to remember, these glass bottles once emptied, could then be recycled and returned to the store for a partial refund of the purchase price. Being frugal, my family used to participate in this recycling effort and as such, we would store our empty bottles in our basement until we accumulated a batch or two to return to the store. Enter clumsy child, glass bottle and a missed step. Result? Said child (me) at the bottom of the stairs on stomach, broken glass and blood everywhere. My hand was severely cut on the glass as in my fall, I refused to let go of the bottle.

Fall number two came years later. My twenties allowed me to take a trip down the last 5 steps of the same staircase mentioned above. This fall resulted with me splayed on the floor in the Superman flying position. During my descent, I hit my left leg on the steps and ended up with bone-breaking pain that was diagnosed as a subdural-hematoma. The bruising and swelling lasted well over a year, and has permanently left my leg discolored in some spots. Sexy, huh?

Finally, in a previous effort to tackle my stair fear, I began training in 2009 on the Stair Master machine (known in most gyms as "The Beast") with hopes of participating in the "Hustle Up the Hancock" event held annually in Chicago. After a month or so of training on the machine, and actually reaching my goal of 96+ floors numerous times, I dislocated my knee which prevented me from participating in the event. While the injury did not actually take place on a set of stairs or on the Stair Master, I blame the dislocation whether I should or not, on over training on the stairs.

Despite my stair fear, on January 30th, 2011 I will tackle the half-climb of the AON building staircase and help others in need. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said;

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 6 - DDS

After putting off making a dentist appointment for longer than I care to admit, it's done. February 10th is my D-Day. I'm not afraid of the actual procedures or potential pain itself, I've never had a bad experience in that department. Rather, I'm afraid of being yelled at. My last dentist yelled at me for lack of flossing, and I can admit it, I'M A BAD FLOSSER! But don't swear and yell at me, please. Needless to say, I thoroughly "punished" that dentist by never returning to his establishment. Smart, right? My new and hopefully non-verbally abusive dentist is well reviewed by numerous people, as well as the ADA, and in walking distance from home. I have faith my smile will be whipped backed into gleaming shape in no time. Wish me luck!

PS) Is the dullness of the photo above a reflection of plaque and tartar build up?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 5 - Bespectacled

I took a chance on something new! Updating my look from a plain black (but ever so complimented) eyeglass frame to multi-colored and purple was quite a challenge. I was seriously afraid that, despite liking the shape of these frames, the multi-colored arms would make me look like something out of a Tammy Faye nightmare! So far, I'm loving them and getting used to the purpley-goodness.

Frame by: Lipstick
Name: Oh So Pretty

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 4 - USPS

I started day 4 with the intent to tackle the intimidation factor I felt when I decided to send some people with whom I've been out of touch with a New Years welcome card. Included in the white envelope was a personal invite to get back in touch with me, whether it be over coffee, or just over the internet. Despite fearing some of the recipients' responses, or lack there of, I made my way to the mailbox quite easily. Once there though, I found the obstacle wasn't in mailing the cards, but rather my fear of looking like a complete idiot by taking a picture of the mailbox to document my trip! While I don't think the photo above is quite up to my artsy standards, I posted it to serve as my unintended badge of courage for the day!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 3 - Weighed

After the holiday binging, and quite a bit of laziness, I was afraid to step on the scale to see what damage I had done to my waistline. While my numbers are definitely not those reflected in the picture, I am pleasantly surprised that my arch enemy only reflects a minimal gain of 4 pounds (all ingested foods considered). Over coming the fear to step on the scale today gives me a starting point for healthy living and I must remember, "Rather then aiming to be perfect, just aim to be a little bit better today then you were yesterday." - Author Unknown.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 2 - Out of the Box

I'm not a technology junkie and am knowingly "behind the times" where most electronics and gadgets are concerned, however I asked for a new "gadget" for Christmas and received it. Now, the problem with getting exactly what it is that you want, is doing something with it after you get it. For example, my Polar heart rate monitor has a dead battery that I wish I could say was due to over use, however the poor thing never came out of it's box (now aged 4 years). I'm sure one day I will send it back to Polar for a new battery and put it to use, however this added step just to "get it up and running" makes it that much more difficult to use. I won't even mention how old my computer printer is that has never seen the light of day. But I digress. Today my latest gadget, the Keurig Elite, has come out of it's box, and only post 7 days from it's Christmas unwrapping! I will not let fear of getting it dirty, or making the imperfect cup of coffee hold it hostage in its cardboard prison any longer! Today, French Vanilla, tomorrow the world!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 1 - Downsize

I'm no stranger to downsizing my closets and making sure any ill-fitting or unworn items go to good use by others, however, I've had a problem as of late letting go of a few items. Okay, so it's more then a few items. I've literally been afraid of letting go of clothing that I've some how let define me. To me, these items define a period when I was four sizes smaller, and seemingly the happiest I've ever been. I've let myself believe that if these items disappear so does all hope of reclaiming that past glory, happiness and of course, pant size. I've allowed denim and polyester blends to clutter my closet and dresser for over 2.5 years out of fear of losing something. A something that doesn't come in a pant size, and a something that I've realized was never able to be really lost. Me. As I now stare at a successfully exorcised closet, I face a new adventure to re-fill it and in doing so, free myself to create new memories that aren't defined by the size of what's contained within it.