Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 59 - TomTom & Gaga

OK, not really sure what I was thinking today. My goal was to set fear aside and work as a "Party Assistant" on the Chicago stretch of Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour. This is a highly fearful and stressful situation for me as any combination of the following thoughts flood my head, "Am I dressed 'cute' enough?" (I was instructed to dress 'cute'), I don't know where I am going, even after I get to the building where I'm going I still don't know where I'm going once I'm inside, I don't know what I'm doing, and will anyone like me?".

As I changed my outfit for the 4th time, I decided I would use my newly acquired TomTom GPS navigational system in efforts to reduce at least one of the fears I had, which was getting lost. I dread getting lost and always leave early to allow extra time for it. Today I confidently thought an extra 20 minutes and the TomTom would set me up for success. As the TomTom and I headed out, everything seemed fine until I obviously "fell off the map" according to the GPS. Despite me knowing I was still on Congress Parkway and heading due West, somehow the TomTom had my car literally spinning about on the screen and relocated me to Holden Street. I don't even know where Holden Street is, but now the TomTom was telling me to turn left down Harrison and right on Dearborn - what the hell? "I'm on Congress!!!", I screamed at the TomTom.
Somehow the TomTom must have understood my screaming, because within a block or two, not without a panicked call to my boyfriend for directions, it returned me to Congress Parkway.

"What did I get myself into?", I thought. "I'm not sure I'm even dressed right and if this TomTom does something stupid like that again, I'm probably gonna end up in Indiana or the lake, ARGGGHHHH!", I screamed to myself. The panic continued as now, due to construction, I was 30 minutes into what should have been a 20 minute car ride.

Thank goodness the TomTom allowed me to arrive to the venue with 5 minutes to spare, despite my virtual side trip to Holden Street. I was greatly relieved to see the one person I knew in the parking lot when I pulled up. I waved furiously to ensure she saw me, and parked my car in record time in efforts to catch up with her. She led me and two other girls though the loading docks, up an elevator and eventually to the VIP room. It was there that despite my best efforts to follow the "casual cute" dress code, I realized I was the most under dressed. I was the only one that took "jeans and a cute top", literal! I was mortified and wanted to run to the nearest clothing store immediately. "Oh well Lynn, suck it up!", I thought, "You're here now and there's nothing you can do about it.". Setting fear of being seen as a "slob" aside and mustering all the self confidence I could, I did my best to interact with the other girls. Throughout the conversation I offered advice where warranted about life, as I'm sure I was about 10 years their senior. "Man, I'm too old for this", I thought.

Eventually, we headed closer to the venue doors where I observed tons of "Little Monsters" (what Gaga has dubbed her fans) waiting for us. Once situated we doled out VIP passes, along with wristbands and directions for the night. I was definitely thankful to have something else to focus on for the moment. As the doors opened, I greeted each guest with a smile and handed out lanyards to the excited bunch. I tried to recall a time I was ever that excited about an artist as I observed the hoards of teens and pre-teens in Gaga costumes and heavy make-up, and now I thought, "I'm really too old for this.".

By the end of the night, while I was more then thankful for the opportunity to work and earn money, I have to admit I still felt like a fish out of water and couldn't wait to go home. Don't get me wrong, the night was not bad in any capacity and everyone was very nice, however it reminded me of my 20's and more so, that I'm not 20 anymore. At 34, this was just a job and a way to earn a little extra income, but had I been in my late teens or twenties this would have been the highlight of my life up until that point. To further my argument, the girls and I were given an amazing invite to watch the show after our shift was done, but despite liking Lady Gaga's music I was more focused on heading home and watching the 2nd season premiere of one of my favorite sitcoms and heading to bed!

I conquered quite a few fears today, including but not limited to; using new technology, branching out into a new opportunity, meeting new people while still maintaining self confidence and realizing clothing doesn't make you a good or bad employee. I recognized that I've done a lot of growing in the past 10 years, but understand I still have plenty of learning yet to do. I'm sure as I learn and grow, I'll continue to face all kinds of "Little Monsters" and over come them all! In the mean time, I'll be forever thankful for the wisdom instilled in me over the past 34 years and truly appreciate the roads I've been given to travel thus far.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 58 - Paciugo

Today wasn't too scary, but I set habit and fear of change aside and tried something new at a local gelato cafe called Paciugo. Pronounced, PA-CHOO-GO, meaning "messy concoction", the cafe offers pretty amazing gelato and tons of flavors. Sadly, I've been stuck on the Wedding Cake flavor and haven't allowed my taste buds to branch out. After talking to another patron in line I suggested she try the Wedding Cake, which she did, along with other free tasting samples of Extreme Chocolate and Salted Caramel.

Being a prime example of "monkey see, monkey do", I followed suit and asked for the same samples the lady ahead of me tried. As she purchased a festa pack of Wedding Cake flavored gelato I smiled that she took my advice and liked my recommendation. As I savored my free samples, I realized I couldn't decide which one flavor to get. Well, thank goodness Paciugo offers a piccolo size (small) cup that allows up to three flavors of gelato. So yep, you guessed it, I ordered, "A piccolo please with three flavors, Extreme Chocolate, Wedding Cake and Salted Caramel". It was awesome - thank goodness for change!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 57 - Marimo

- Marimo (cell phone picture) -

As part of a work promotion (at my second job, not the job I yell about headcount at) I was recently made aware of "marimo", or moss balls. Moss/algae balls are a Japanese plant that help keep fish tanks clean (amongst other hidden talents, I'm sure). One of the facts I read about them was, in order to keep their round shape, you can remove them from their tanks and roll them in the palms of your hands like cookie dough. This oddity made me want to seek out the marimo and see what they looked like.

I quickly sought out other marimo hunters, and found one lone container holding a golf ball sized, green fuzz ball. I stared at the moss ball in amazement as if it were going to do something magical as it lay in it's container. Observing is where I believed my marimo experience would end, however, I needed to conquer a fear today no matter how small!

I decided I would take the marimo out of it's container and help shape it as described in the rolling instructions I read earlier. As I removed the container lid, I was afraid the ball of moss would be slimy or that I might smush it, but no such thing occurred. I first poked at the ball and found my fingers flinch as if the little plant was going to bite me. Quickly moving past that silly thought, I picked up the marimo. The odd shaped ball felt like a solid batch of velvet in most places, and a bit like astro-turf in other spots. The best thing was, it wasn't slimy at all! In moments, I had rolled the little guy between my hands and placed it back into it's home for the night. Had it owned a little blanket, I probably would have tried to tuck it in for the night, too. Marimo fear conquered!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 56 - Mounted

-Trainer's Best Friend: The Clicker -

Dog training can be unpredictable, especially when the dog(s) you are working with are brand new to you. The first day of class for me is really all about reading body language, watching for signs of aggression or fear amongst the dogs, and really summing up and taking a mental picture of the work I have cut out for me over the next 5 weeks of class. Of course, my students only see a trainer droning on about the building blocks and fundamentals of positive reinforcement while internally, I am making check lists about who I will allow to interact with others and who I think would be a well behaved dog to use for my demonstrations.

Now maybe my judgement was lacking, but I decided to take on a 90+ pound Mastiff "puppy" to demonstrate to the class the "sit" behavior. Sweet natured as he was, he was not neutered which in turn led him (amongst other behavioral issues) to start mounting me in the middle of the class. Despite the fact I outweigh the dog, he definitely had more muscle mass then I do and I quickly found myself body blocking and turning away from him to no avail. While I normally would have tried to physically restrain the dog, I knew I was out powered by the beast. I panicked for a moment and thought about giving up. My fear of being completely over powered and embarrassed as a trainer made me want to trade him out for another dog. This thought process was only encouraged by his parents embarrassment as they asked for him to be returned to them.

It took a moment for me to regain my composure and I began walking my feet up his leash in efforts to keep him from jumping on me. I explained to the class my technique and as I talked, he slowly found himself out maneuvered and laid down. Once he was in the down position, I knew I had the "little" bastard. I immediately rewarded him for his good behavior, and got right back to working on "sit". Magically, he sat the first time I asked him. And the second and the third as well. His parents looked on in shock as I trained their dog.

Walking him back to his parents I calmly explained, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, "You just have to stick with it and follow through with what it is you want your dog to do". As the students looked on in what I hope was amazement, they quickly turned to their own dogs and began their practice. Phew! One more dog and fear tackled!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 55 - Spicy Bites

Today I went out to lunch. I have no idea what I ordered, other then the blanket statement of, "The Non-Vegetarian Special" please. The gentleman behind the counter was patient, and definitely customer service focused, but despite his attempts to describe the possible food combinations I could choose, I ended up saying, "Surprise me, you pick!". Semi new to Indian cuisine, I still have no idea what most menu items are, but set ignorance and fear aside to try the odd colored items anyway.

I ended up with way too many food items to fit on my shared dining table and quickly realized the only thing recognizable was my can of Coke. I can only describe the courses offered as a salad (which I loved!), naan, some type of rice, a lentil dish which I devoured, a chicken item, coconut curry tofu, something green, and a pepper. Most items were excellent, with just one or two things that I don't think would find their way back to my plate for second helpings, but seeing as I don't know what they were called, maybe they will!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 54 - RAWR!

Today I took charge and let it be known that the two temps I have working with my team are off limits to any one else for help, they're MINE! Now, I'm sure there was a nicer way to tell my manager and two other supervisors that, "If anyone touches my kids, I'm going to be like a mama bear and roar!", but they definitely got the picture I was painting.

Not the most tactful or professional thing I've said in my career, but it's a dog eat dog environment and headcount resources in my department are minimal. I've struggled in the past with being able to get and maintain my resources, and having learned my lesson the hard way, I was not about to begin another battle to keep hired help. I figured if I set fears aside now and "put my foot down", I'd eliminate problems later. For now, I'll let the bear in me hibernate, but I won't be afraid to awaken her again if needed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 53 - Left Out

I'm realizing this blog isn't always the fun, thrill-seeking blog I imagined it would be when I first started it. Lately, it seems that budget and weather drown my attempts at the "fun" fears to conquer, like heights and roller coasters, or water slides (yes, I'm afraid of water slides). Instead, this blog seems to be more about small, daily confrontations and personal growth. I'm not complaining, rather just noting, that this blog (thankfully) pushes me out of my comfort zone and hopefully, is creating a better me.

With that said, today I found myself in a tough situation at work, where seemingly my staff and I got left out of a major meeting and project. Pre-blog, I would have made up my own ideas about the situation and silently brewed and internally boiled about the slight I was dealt. Heck, to be honest, I still made up my own ideas about the situation, but I did muster the nerve to tackle the "Jolly Green Giant" who was in charge of setting up and directing the meeting. OK, my co-worker is not really jolly, and definitely isn't green, but is tall and intimidating. None the less, I found myself standing before JGG, questioning the thought process that lead to the final actions.

I won't say I believe or bought into any of the Giant's reasons as to why the over sight occurred, but I do think somewhere in the afternoon JGG's conscience kicked in. After witnessing numerous attendees console me and question the obvious omission of names and talent, I did receive an apology from the Giant. While a small victory, it's a victory none the less and I will mark another fear of confrontation mastered.

Side note: In searching for an image of the actual Jolly Green Giant, I found the pic of the statue above which is erected in Minnesota. If I ever travel to the land of a ten thousand lakes, I'll be sure to try and search out the giant, as his deep voiced, "Ho-ho-ho Green Giant!" commercials used to scare me as a child!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 52 - Fright Night

If you know me, you've heard how I refuse to watch scary movies as an over active imagination makes me regret it later in the night. If you don't know me, let me tell you, I can't watch scary movies. Despite being a grown, independent adult I will lie awake all night long imagining that every noise heard is the serial killer, ghost, zombie or werewolf from the movie coming to attack me (directly from the television of course).

Today I tried to tackle my movie fears by watching a recommended "horror" flick titled, "Fright Night". I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but I suspected a night of insomnia as I would have to be sure to stay awake so vampires wouldn't drain me of of all my blood. With garlic and wooden stake (okay, it was more like blanket and t.v. remote) in hand, I got comfortable and settled into the sofa preparing for the worst.

With a simple touch of the remote, the movie started and the longer I watched, the more I wondered how this movie became so highly recommended. Despite it's 3.5 star rating, I didn't find anything scary about it, other then the fact someone actually spent money to produce it. I'm sure this flick may have some type of "cult" following that has allowed it to grow in popularity over the years, but I never was a conformist, so I can't support the reviews it's received to date - at least not where scariness is concerned.

While I can't rule this experience a successful tackle of fear, I'm up for recommendations. What's your favorite scary movie?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 51 - Target

As a lazy Sunday took hold of me, I barely managed to shower today. As such, make-up was non-existent and any effort put into shaping a hair style wasn't apparent either. None the less, my laziness was slightly curtailed by my need of groceries for the upcoming week, so off to Target I went. While shopping I spotted a friend, and mustered a half-hearted wave hello. As he didn't initially recognize me or see me, I had the immediate desire to run and hide down the next aisle so my carpetbagger state of dress wouldn't be observed. Instead, something in my brain automatically took over and I waved again. What the heck was I thinking? This automatic drive to set fear aside and wave again, now caught his attention. After what I swear was a few, "What the heck has she done with herself?" looks, he pushed his cart towards me and we started up a conversation.

As we talked about plans for the night, I couldn't help but notice his well dressed girlfriend had a full face of make-up which made me feel even more self-conscience about my lack of effort. "Oh well", I thought, "too late now!". As the conversaton continued I felt more comfortable and forgot all about the lack of effort I had spent on my looks. It was great to catch up, if only for a few moments.

While this situation reminds me that it's what's on the inside that counts, hopefully, the next time I see him (or anyone) I'll look a little more presentable! In the mean time, putting fear and ego aside was worth catching up with an old friend. Lesson of the day, some times you just have to say, "who cares?" and get on with living!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 50 - Meet the Parent

Today my boyfriend of almost 5 years met my mother. I won't go into the ridiculous details as to why it's taken so long, that would be a whole 'nother blog. But today I set fears aside and invited my love to breakfast where the rest of my immediate family would be gathering. I wasn't sure of the freak show that might ensue, but I took the risk as changes in geographical locations of family members would make it hard to meet up in the future.

Conversation and maple syrup flowed as the hour passed by. Nothing too embarrassing was shared, and connections seemed to be made by shared interests in travel, entertainment and music. The scent of bacon lingered in the air as the dishes were cleared. Last sips of coffee were taken and pancake crumbs were pushed around the remaining plates as the bill was delivered to our table. Upon it's review, cash and wallets were tossed about the table and people started to stand and stretch as they pushed in their chairs.

Goodbyes and hugs were exchanged in the parking lot, and I drove home with boyfriend in tow. We reviewed the conversation and shared our observations and thoughts. With fear finally set aside, upon reaching home we settled down for a nap, family's exhausting!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 49 - Midway

- Midway Blur -

I was completely nerve wracked having to drive to Midway airport today as I was completely unfamiliar with it's location. I was afraid I'd get lost, I was afraid I wouldn't get there on time, I was afraid of the over-bearing ground transportation security that continually yelled at me with each terminal pass as I was waiting for my arrivals.

The photo above is of an airport entry sign, and while it's a total blur, I figured it was a good representation of my trip as heaven knows, security just rushes you through the driving lanes. "No stopping!" they yell. Well how are my expected passengers supposed to get in my car if I don't stop?

After a few more circles and round trips through the terminal, my passengers appeared. We loaded up the car in record time in order to flee the ground security. Like refugees, we were off! As I quickly pulled my car away from the curb, I watched the yellow coated security crew get smaller and smaller in my rear-view mirror.

In total, fear of getting lost conquered, fear of yellow coated, over bearing security thwarted and a good night had by me and my company!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 48 - Fundraising

- Photo from: -

Today I started my fundraising efforts to help save the cheetah. Asking people for money is never easy, and asking people to help me raise $1,000 is downright frightening! I've created my own fundraising page as a start, and will start raising awareness about my project with emails and website updates soon. Wish me luck, I really want to meet a cheetah, which is one of the rewards if I'm able to raise my total goal!

Lynn's Fundraising Page:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 47 - Pup Pics

- Sit, Stay! -

Today I did something I was intimidated to do, and have never done before. I took class photos! I've been training dogs for close to 3 years and have never once taken a photo of any of my students. Tonight was graduation for my all time best class and favorite students, so it was a "now or never" opportunity and I refused to let it pass me by. I pulled out the camera and started snapping away. Thanks to another fear tackled, both my students and I will have long lasting mementos of 16 weeks of learning, camaraderie and fun!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 46 - St. Paddy's Day

I've officially signed up for my 3rd event of the year, only 9 more to go! (See post, "Day 14 -Laced Up" for original content). Of course, as my intent is to collect event t-shirts and have them sewn into a quilt upon my completion of all 12 events (in December), I'm not sure if 12 t-shirts will make a decent sized quilt. I may just have to find more events!

PS) I surely hope there are more walkers in this event then the "Cupid's Dash", I don't want to have to think about walking to my car and giving up again!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 45 - Million Dollar Question

I literally had to ask a million dollar question today. Sadly, it was work related and not due to recent lottery winnings. What made the situation a fearful one for me is 1) I had to admit I had no idea how to interpret the paperwork set in front of me, and 2) I had to call the person that created the document and I should add, she expected the paperwork executed last month. Ouch!

I summoned all the courage I could to make the phone call to the rep who had created the contract, half hoping she wouldn't pick up, but before I knew it I heard, "Hey Lynn!". Darn it. Despite hearing her say "Hey Lynn", I still felt the need to introduce myself out of sheer habit and nervousness, only adding to my feeling of idiocy. Thankfully, as I talked and asked for help, she acknowledged that the deal was quite complicated and graciously guided me through the paperwork jungle.

By the end of the phone call we were both thankful I had picked up the phone. For me, it saved making (literally) a million dollar billing error as my original interpretation of the paperwork was incorrect. Phew, catastrophe averted!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 44 - Cupid's Dash

- Cupid's Medal of Courage -

Today was Cupid's Dash, a 4 mile walk/run event in Highland Park near Ravinia. This was my first 4 miler, as I usually do 5K's/3.1 mile events. My teammate, the running half of team "Breakfast Burrito", encouraged me at the starting line and then, we were off. The herd of people started to run, and I thought, "What the heck? Am I the ONLY one walking in this event?", and then I thought, "This is a walking event as well as running, right?". By the first turn, I was literally in last place and was mortified when I turned around to see no one behind me. I thought about just walking to my car, giving up and going home, but then as the pack of runners passed the photographer, I thankfully saw that some stopped and began walking. I took this opportunity to run and catch up to the small group of what now became 5 event walkers. While my focus was on completing the event, my pride pushed me as it refused to come in last place!

I met up with fellow event newbies Joann and Mae and we talked the entire 4 miles. We shared other event histories and hopefully challenges to come. We giggled at our progress and encouraged each other on the whole way. As fellow Chicagoans, Joann and I were both shocked at how hilly Highland Park is! The event course consisted of nothing but hills which I'm sure added an extra 5 miles onto our walk, at least in effort if not in actual mileage!

As we neared the finish line, I was thankful to be completing my second event of the year, fulfilling yet another part of my blog challenge. I'm also glad I persevered, faced fear of embarrassment and did not give up! I conquered my four miles, came in third (out of 5 walkers), earned a medal and made new friends - what a great start to my day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 43 - Rain II

The results are in, "Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles" was a pretty awesome show! I'm still not a huge Beatles fan (I have to keep repeating that in order to not upset the Elvis gods) but I will give credit where credit is due. The performers, Steve, Graham, Tom and Doug did an excellent job of bringing the audience back to a time of Beatlemania. As we walked into the theater there were two large screens that projected psychedelic images in the background while Beatles trivia questions appeared. I learned a lot by just observing such as Paul chose a violin-like shaped bass as it looked less awkward when he played it "upside down" due to being left handed! Go south paws!

As the show began, the screens served another purpose as they acted as old cameras and televisions that premiered the Ed Sullivan show along with screaming fans. It made you feel like you were in the television audience waiting to see the mop tops step out onto stage in the typical black suits and skinny ties. As the show progressed, we entered the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club era, followed by the activist years. I have to admit, while I loved the first half of the show (since I knew most of the songs) I kind of got lost during the second half.

My only complaint of the night would be, that this show is really a concert and the audience seemed to be a bit stiff and confused as the performance was set in a theater. It seemed as though they didn't know whether to rock out, or just sit back and enjoy a typical theatrical performance. None the less, I'm glad I over came my bias and fear, and purchased the tickets to the show. I enjoyed watching the costume changes, the journey of the music and the talent of the performers. I giggled in observance of fans that must have been taken back to their teenage years as they waved the peace sign and could, of course, only partially share in their joy as I wasn't around in the 60's for the original viewing. None the less, I highly recommend the show to anyone whether you know just a few songs, or are a die-hard fan.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 42 - Crunch!

I'm not sure if being unwillingly involved in something scary counts towards my fear conquering intended subject matter, but since I was pretty afraid and shaken up, I will allow it. After all, this is my blog so I can type whatever I want, right?

Heading home from a week long bout of work related chaos, all I could focus on was the errands ahead of me and hanging out with friends over margaritas, when it hit me. Literally, a car hit me, I had been rear ended. My immediate thought was, if I remember correctly, "What the hell?" and, "Are you kidding me?". Of course, I'm sure there were probably a few choice words in the thought process that I've left out in order to keep this post "G" rated. As I started to compute all that had happened in the mere seconds that proceeded my thought process, my neck began to hurt from being slammed against the seat's head rest. I then dialed 911 in quite a state of panic.

As I finished up the call, the driver of the offending vehicle came to my window and handed me his license and asked if I was okay. He told me there really wasn't any damage to the cars, and asked me how I wanted to proceed. I did get out of my car to inspect potential damage, and told him the cops were on their way. I couldn't see any visible damage to my vehicle, but my car was so loaded with salt and road grime, how could I tell if anything was wrong with it anyway? As the second driver apologized I climbed back towards my driver's seat in effort to stay warm and waited for the police to show up.

As I waited, the pain started to move from the base of my head over the back of it and towards the front as if I were slowly unrolling a knit hat over the top of it. I wanted to cry, more out of frustration then pain, but still, I wanted to cry. Instead, I held myself together like a big girl, and talked to the police officer once he arrived. After a few minutes of disappearing, he reappeared and handed me my copy of the police report and told me I was free to go and made sure to tell me, "Drive safely". I replied, "Ummm, yeahhh..." in the most sarcastic tone I could muster as I rolled up my window and drove away.

Over all, I'm safe and relatively fine minus a headache, so I am counting my blessings. My car, ehh, it's got a ding in the bumper (after closer inspection) that I'm not sure is even worth fixing, but we'll see. The one thing I can reflect on is, the fact that I have great friends that responded to my texts quickly to make sure I was okay, and that in fighting my fears daily, I feel like my life is being better lived should it ever come to an abrupt end. Don't get me wrong, I can't say I've lived a full life or feel prepared to cross over, but I'm happy I'm challenging myself and living my life! Thank you blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 41 - DDS II (Dr. Lee)

- Cheese! -

I went to the dentist today and I think I'm in love! Well, as much as you can be with someone who pokes and prods around the inside of your mouth. This post is in follow up to my "Day 6 - DDS" entry. I bravely conquered the cold weather and walked .74 miles to Lee Dental Clinic to see Dr. Anthony Lee. Although the outside of the building seemed a bit antiquated and made me re-think my decision, once inside, I relaxed. Well, a little.

After filling out pages of new patient forms I was brought back to the "exam room" and introduced to my new dentist. I liked him immediately. He impressed me with his calm and quiet demeanor as he listened to me ramble on about my dental history. Not once did he talk down to me, or make me feel like an inadequate flosser. He immediately made me feel like he was there to help me and be part of a new team of two in my dental health care.

As he cleaned, he checked on me often to see if I was in any pain or if any area of my mouth was more sensitive then the others. Post cleaning, he chatted and recommended further treatments which of course included removal of wisdom teeth. I've been hearing that recommendation for years and continue to put it off - maybe this will be their year to go! (No promises) While going to the dentist is no treat, I have to admit Dr. Anthony Lee made it as painless as possible, both emotionally and physically. Fear of ridicule conquered, and by doing so I'm getting back on track with my dental health! Go TEAM LEE!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 40 - Grapefruit

I thought in my effort to eat healthy, I'd add some fruit to my breakfast today. My "go-to" fruits are grapes and strawberries, so I thought I'd challenge myself and experiment by trying grapefruit. I set past negative responses to the fruit aside, figuring by now my taste buds must have changed to allow me to enjoy it - after all, it's been more then 20 years since I tried it last!

So, here it was, breakfast time and I eagerly put fork to fruit, and fruit to mouth which was quickly followed by mouth to napkin! My face contorted in disgust as if it were something out of a circus side show act as I expelled the unwanted bitterness from my mouth. My breakfast experiment ended abruptly as I tossed the crumpled, grapefruit filled napkin into the trash. Final lab results show that grapefruit, you're still disgusting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 39 - Boss

- Too Much -

Today I overcame fear and talked to my boss about how behind my staff and I are. I've always been afraid to admit that I can't do something on my own, or ask for help for fear of being seen as a failure. The fact is there have been some difficult circumstances that have put my team in this position, and we just need help to dig ourselves out. Heaven knows, it's not for lack of trying or lack of over time!

After an hour long conversation with my manager, in which my nerves had me shaking the whole time, setting my fears aside paid off! Results: I get an extra headcount to help me out! Fear of asking for help conquered, and I feel like we (me and my team) can see the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small and dim, I know it's there!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 38 - BFL

Today is the first day of a work sponsored fitness program, Body For Life. I'm afraid I won't have what it takes to complete the 90 day program, as I've struggled with it in the past. Despite fears, I'm taking on the challenge to eat healthy, and excercise 6 times a week. I'm hoping that my blog and the events I've taken on by creating this blog, will help propel me to success as well. Time, 90 days to be exact, will tell how my journey went. As I work towards improvement of my physical fittness and heart health, I'm sure updates will follow. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 37 - Rain

I put fear of hating something aside, and bought 2 tickets to see "Rain, A Tribute to the Beatles" as part of an early Valentine's Day celebration with my beau. My significant other was quite shocked by my purchase, and realizes what a sacrifice this is for me as I've never claimed anything but disgust for the Beatles. I'm sure hearing rowdy neighbors (well, one neighbor - see post 2N) blast the song "Yellow Submarine" over and over and over weekend after weekend, did nothing to help endear the band to me either.

On a positive note, I recently realized I do like some of the Beatles' music (see post Day 19 - Secrets), and while I understand what they did for the world of music, I just don't care - Elvis was way hotter! So with this attitude, you see how attending this event may seem like cruel and unusual punishment to me. None the less, I will put on a brave face the night of the event and insure that I Don't Be Cruel so my Beatles loving boyfriend will have a blast. Who knows, maybe I'll find a hunka, hunka, Burning Love or a Good Luck Charm to keep me entertained. Critique of event sure to follow!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 36 - Parenting

I don't have kids, and currently don't even own a dog, but I feel I sure know a lot more about parenting then others seem to. It's called, common sense. My dad used to say, "Common sense isn't so common", and the older I get and the more I see, the more I believe it. Typically I don't butt into other people's dog ownership skills or parenting as, like I said above, I don't currently have either so I figure, who am I to impose? But today, I couldn't help but to let my opinion be known.

I came upon a well groomed couple with a new Pit Bull puppy that was grossly malnourished to the point of bone deformity paired with massive skin conditions and hair loss. I immediately put fears of differentiating opinions aside, and despite potentially being viewed as the "imposing busy-body know it all" type, I started to inquire about the pup. She was a recent acquisition from what sounded to be a puppy mill. Despite learning she didn't get the best start in life, I was happy to learn the new parents had her on an impeccable diet. I pressed them for details, only to learn she hadn't been to a vet, and that the new owners assumed her bone problems could be fixed by running her on a treadmill to "toughen her up".

That's when my mouth took over. "She needs to go to a vet, she's deformed! She has obvious skin issues whether it's from malnourishment, or demodex and I'm guessing with proper care these things may be reversible, but you need to get her vet-checked, now!". I didn't care how I sounded, I just wanted what was best for the pup! The owners seemed a bit surprised about the information that was spewing from my mouth, but by the end of the conversation my thoughts and opinions seemed well received. I believe with the bit of education I provided her parents, Cashmere will be seeing a vet soon. I can only hope that mom and dad will take their Pitty's health as seriously as I did. Fear conquered, and hopefully a puppy saved!

Speaking of saving a puppy, check out adoptable dogs at your local shelters and leave puppy mills and pet stores behind!

- Meet Cisco -

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 35 - Sky

- 10,000 Feet -

On my flight home from the snowy land of Texas, I faced fears and intimidation by asking the flight attendant if I could change seats in order to take some last minute sunset photos. She surprisingly smiled, and said, "Isn't it gorgeous?", as she pointed me to an available seat on the west facing side of the Embraer. Despite feeling like the ultimate tourist, I took some pretty cool photos from my new vantage point and enjoyed the much improved view immensely. While the photo above isn't the most brilliant sunset I've ever seen, what I do love about it is the way the dark space looms over what is left of the sunset. I've never seen anything like it before.

- Somewhere over Chicago -

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 34 - Salt Grass

- photo from Salt Grass website -

The fourth day of my business trip finds me a little disenchanted with our group leader and his inability to commit to dinner plans tonight. Up until now, I've seen him as a fearless leader and depended on him quite a bit, especially for transportation as I did not rent a vehicle. The more I asked about potential plans for dinner, the more it seemed he insisted on being an ass. Making his rejection quite obvious, I, out of habit, immediately took comfort in my fear and felt doomed to an unwanted night confined in my hotel room.

Just when all seemed lost, I summoned my girl powers and began to ask others about their dinner plans. Quickly this single party of one, turned into a party of five, mode of transportation included! At the advice of some true Texans, we decided our final dining destination would be Salt Grass, a Texas steakhouse. Now, Salt Grass had been recommended earlier in the week for previous dinner outings, but our "fearless" leader's reply was the same - "it's too far". "Screw it!", I thought, as he had no bearing on our decision now!

As the work day ended, my party of five started discussing directions to the restaurant and ironically, the "fearless leader" now wanted in on my plans! "How dare he!", I thought! "What an ass", I thought! And finally I thought, "Who cares!". We arrived at dinner and were seated as a party of eleven. I quickly ordered my favorite beverage, a Margarita, and forgot about the stresses of the day, fearless leader included! I enjoyed my half of the party and really got to know some good people who I might not have reached out to previously by allowing myself to hide in the shadows of the "leader". I even exchanged phone numbers with one, and hope to set up a movie date when we get home! My expense report for tonight:

* Classic Cuervo Margarita = $8.99
* Classic Cuervo Margarita #2 = $8.99
* Filet Oscar Special (Filet Mignon w/ Crab) = $27.99
* Fear conquered, and new friends made = Priceless!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 33 - In

I went against the grain and despite my fear of being seen as an outcast or being anti-social, I declined the group outting/dinner invitation I received for tonight. Still on business travel, I wanted to take a night to just do nothing and enjoy being away from both the office and home. I spent the evening in my suite catching up on Wednesday night TV (that I never get to watch), and indulging in Haagen Dazs Chocolate ice-cream. I allowed myself to relax, watch absolutely mindless TV, and allow the biggest decision of the night be, "What time should I go to bed?".

Powering down my brain was a nice change of pace, and much needed after an intense start to my week. Staying "in" was just what the doctor ordered. Peer pressure combatted, fear of upsetting others set aside, brain recharged! The best thing is, I got exactly what I wanted and needed, and the "Nerd Crew" still liked me the next day! Afterall, what's not to like?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 32 - Blue Fish

I recently found myself thrown into a business trip and while I fought it tooth and nail, I have to admit, the first day here, in Dallas, hasn't been bad. Well, except for the weather! While I am glad I am escaping the Chicago Blizzard of 2011, I obviously brought some of the bad weather with me as this morning, the roads were covered with ice and snow. Did I mention that I'm in TEXAS? While I had really hoped for mid 70's and sun in Fort Worth, I'll count my blessings as I don't have to shovel or scrape the ice off of a car here, so onto the blogging.

Tonight I got invited out to dinner with the group of people I came with, and it sure did seem to be the easier option if I just declined and headed back to the comfort of my room, but if I did that, I wouldn't have a subject to blog about tonight, now would I? So after being locked in a conference room for over 9 hours with the "IT Nerds" (as I affectionately call them) I accepted their dinner invite out for sushi. I was afraid I'd be bored or feel awkward, and as I accepted their invite the one thought that went through my head was, "Great, another 2-3 hours with the same people", but what did I have to lose?

Now, I have tried sushi in limited quantities, but must admit I hardly know what's what, or really how to go about ordering it. I was afraid I might look or sound stupid ordering something incorrectly and was even more afraid I'd order something I'd find inedible. But before I knew it, our table of 11 had two boats (literally, wooden boats) of sushi before us and my single order of Jalapeno Rolls. My rolls were pretty good, but I quickly found myself included in the trading sessions of sushi rolls amongst my team members. It was like trading baseball cards with old friends and sharing opinions of the players as we passed them along, but it was all about sushi instead! It was awesome! My favorite picks of the night were John's Rain Forest Rolls and Marina's Volcano Rolls, but the best things of the night weren't shared on a plate. Getting to really know my "Nerd Crew" was more fun than I thought it could be, and I found out that two of them live just a few blocks away from me in my neighborhood! Lesson learned, don't judge a "nerd" by their profession! It's amazing what you learn when you set fears aside and open your heart and mind to other people. The conversation and exchange of thoughts throughout the night were enjoyable and priceless, too bad our bill wasn't!