27 September 2010

Mission #25: No speeding for 2 weeks consecutively

Goal completed September 25, 2010.

I was really tempted to declare this goal complete halfway through August. As you know, I was in Northern Ireland getting married, and also, as you know, people in Ireland (North and Republic) drive on the wrong side of the road. So I didn't drive, and no driving means no speeding!

Although I did try driving once.
Of course, this good streak didn't hold up once I got back to Canada and had to start driving again. In a city I'm pretty good at observing the speed limits, even if people behind me get irritated and start to tail gate me. Driving on highways is a different story: I tend to put my brain into autopilot. I'm sure that wouldn't happen as much if there was actually something to look at! But as it's mostly straight on the #1 my foot gets a bit heavy on the gas pedal.

After I put this goal on my list it felt irrelevant. I readily admit I drive too fast on highways but I had never gotten a speeding ticket. But after eight years of driving, being in a rush, and feeling over confident of that fact that I've never been caught, I didn't get pulled over by the police once, but twice.

Leaving the not speeding goal on became a test of my integrity I suppose and once I consciously started to complete this goal I found it harder than expected. My first few attempts I wouldn't speed for 3 or 4 days before catching myself speeding, even within city limits. I kept careful note of where all the RCMP and police favourite hiding spots were along the highways and Daniel felt pity for me and wanted to give me his radar detector. But I declined, I wanted to prove to myself that I had the discipline to see this goal through honestly.

And while there is not tangible reward for completing this goal, I feel pretty damn good about it.

15 September 2010

Mission #48: Do not check FaceBook for 7 days consecutively

Goal completed August 30, 2010.

From August 23 at 08:00 to August 30 at 08:00, I did not check my Facebook account once. OK, so I checked it once before eight, but then shut it off.There were a number of reasons I decided to go with this challenge, but the biggest reason was that I got a bit addicted and started to get upset about little things.

It wasn't hard at first because Clifford and I were busy driving various family and friends back to the airport after our wedding. And then Clifford and I had to fly off on our own (first time in Business Class too!) to Malta. We had purposely not taken his laptop with us on our trip even though it would have been handy to have had it to check the bus schedule and book tours. But traveling with a laptop can be a massive pain in the rear: it always feels heavier and clunkier in your hand luggage than when you were inspecting it at a store before purchasing.

Besides, our honeymoon was about us, no about taking pictures for Facebook.

I didn't actually miss Facebook or being on the internet in Malta. I had never been there before and it was such a busy place that there was plenty to see and do, never mind finally having some quality time to spend with Clifford after all the hustle and bustle of the wedding.

The only day I struggled with staying away was the night we got back from Malta. Being disconnected from the world for a little was fine while there were distractions, but when access and availability is just plopped right in front of your face it's hard to resist. Kind of like waving candy in front of a diabetic's face: you can tolerate a steady stream of input, but this is an explosion.

That last 24 hours of resistance wasn't as challenging as it could have been. I mean, I didn't have to stare at a computer screen or have constant access to a smart phone. That would have been definitely a test of my will, and perhaps a challenge for the future?

Let me know if you've ever challenged yourself to cutting out or down on social media. What was the most challenging moment? What aspects did you enjoy about it?

14 September 2010

Mission #29: 101 Things That Make Me Happy

After a really mentally and physically draining June, July, and August I finally decided it was time to write this list. The first 50 items on the list came relatively fast to mind, and to paper, and my hand was having a hard time keeping up with my brain. The last 50 I spent most of my time comparing to the first 50 because I kept coming up with variations of the first.

After a few hours I did complete my list with a few read throughs. I thought about my list a little and realized that really, the first 60 things really brought me the most amount of happiness. In brief, I concluded that if you really need more than 50 things to make you happy, then maybe a re-evaluation of what makes you happy is in order?

After traveling around as much as I have, and moving around as much as I have, you realize you don't really need much to be happy. Clean clothes, daily showers, good food, and good company.

1. Clive
2. Daniel
3. my parents
4. Renee
5. pouring rain all day
6. getting postcards in the mail
7. drinking a hot cup of tea
8. playing the Final Fantasy games
9. Watching/Reading the X-men series
10. listening and watching live music
11. Ashley
12. Reading a good book
13. watching good action movies
14. learning something new
15. drinking wine
16. traveling in trains
17. obtaining a new pair of shoes
18. speeding down empty highways
19. sunshine
20. finding someone that enjoys my old clothes
21. traveling in air planes
22. cuddling
23. kissing
24. Canada day
25. watching the Olympics
26. watching a team I support win their game
27. napping in the sun
28. babies
29. being a rebel at work
30. organizing my collections
31. eating good food
32. having good discussions
33. Susi
34. going to church
35. working out
36. making a recipe and having it turn out well
37. hearing a song on the radio that has been stuck in your head all day
38. eating sushi
39. waking up without a hang over
40. private
41. my car's excellent mileage
42. finding awesome clothes on the sale rack
43. going on road trips
44. getting massages
45. burning candles
46. eating honey on toast
47. eating raspberries off the bush
48. eating fresh pineapples
49. constructing something with my hands
50. writing
51. paying my bills before they are due
52. getting pedicures
53. hearing a good joke
54. farts and farting
55. writing with other people
56. making people laugh
57. Twitter
58. surfing the Internet
59. eating my mom's cakes
60. completing a parallel park on the first try
61. sleeping on a firm mattress
62. hot showers
63. singing along to a song and knowing every word
64. cooking for Clive
65. taking a picture and then realizing it's really cool
66. thunder and lightening storms
67. drinking cold beer on a hot day
68. working with co-workers that I can joke with
69. BBQ's
70. dancing to my favourite song at a club
71. landscaping
72. accomplishing a goal that I set out to do
73. Reading graphic novels
74. realizing that I have more money than I thought
75. Haribo gummi bears
76. finding a cheap flight
77. being awake at 3 am with someone
78. eating toast with salami and mustard
79. having a good skin day
80. My Grandparents
81. hearing Clive's voice
82. painting
83. Marlon
84. making bracelets
85. making Clive happy
86. going to a big venue concert
87. Reading in a library
88. playing video games with other people
89. having a clean room
90. finding a band/musician where the whole album is filled with good songs
91. Getting new tech toys
92. visiting a historical location
93. standing in 1000 year old churches
94. traveling with Clive
95. meeting new people
96. going out with my good friends
97. swimming outdoors
98. pleasantly surprising people
99. hiking in the mountains
100. Reading/watching something about pirates
101. my computer

08 September 2010

Mission #20: Pick up a hitch hiker

Mission completed July 19, 2010.

I picked up two hitch hikers just outside Brooks on one of my many trips between Stettler and Medicine Hat, moving my stuff. Granted, as a female driver, it's not advisable to pick up any sort of hitch hiker, let alone two. But then we wouldn't have this story now, would we?

My car was pretty packed with all of my stuff, but when I saw the guys and stopped I thought I'd give them the choice to squeeze into my car or not. They were game for the ride, but ended up having more stuff than I originally thought. They must practice stacking their belongings to look like just a backpack. Needless to say, it was a tight squeeze to get them in.

Shortly after me and these two fragrant young men carried on a rain rain storm hit that lasted until just about we got to Medicine Hat. Both of the young men were very grateful for the lift. So then we started talking, as you do when you're in a cramped space with strangers. One man was from BC, and had never been outside his province before in his 21 or so years. As he talked a little bit about his life he sounded more or less homeless and without a lot of money. The second man was Ollie, and from Quebec. This was his second time hitch hiking BACK across Canada. He was all about the music.

Though I had to keep my AC on for the whole trip I was glad fro the company for the "homestretch" (the stretch of road between Brooks and Medicine Hat) of my journey. When I dropped the two off it was a quick and awkward goodbye. We didn't really know each other and I'm not sure we would have been friends had we met under different circumstances. I guess it was no different from when I meet people on airplanes, the brief conversations we have that connect us, and potentially leave an impact on us.

I had quickly dropped them off when I got to Medicine Hat, race home, change, and go to my job interview for that day. The weather remained miserable and I have often wondered how far across Canada they managed to get.

Have you ever picked up a hitch hiker? If you have, any stories to tell?

07 September 2010

Mission #16: Invite the family out and pick up the bill

Goal completed on June 4, 2010 at The 502 restaurant in Medicine Hat.

Clive and I always go out for supper at least once with my parents every time he comes for a visit. We always have contributed to the bill, but this was the first time we picked up the whole bill ourselves. It quite shocked my parents, and myself, really.

For Clive it wasn't really anything unusual: He left home at 17 and has had a career since, and has taken his mom and siblings out for supper many times. But for me I felt very grown up, and was another reminder that I was actually an adult.

Yes, yes I know, at 24 I should be well acquainted with adulthood, but I only (truly) moved out on my own at 23 and only started my career about 3 months before that birthday. It's still a novel feeling to do something mature and adult like.

I was going to put a plug in here for The 502 and the accompanying bar, The Ottoman, but both appear to have been shut down since Clifford and I took my parents out. I had found out in a roundabout way, the same way when the management had changed hands. I actually find it sad that this place has gone down the hill and is closed. I've had some really good times there, but I guess it's life holding up a sign saying that “This happened, it was good, time to say goodbye. Don't feel bad.”

05 September 2010

Mission #65: Get a couples massage

Goal completed on August 25, 2010 in Malta.

Just to recap the second half of August, because it gets confusing for me as well. August 13: Booked last minute weekend away and honeymoon. August 21: Got married. August 23: Flew to London. August 24: Flew to Malta.

I've never stayed in a 5 star hotel in my life before, but Expedia gave a sweet discount (that would be Clifford's Irish luck... or his expert wheeling skills) on the Radisson Blu in St. Julians Bay. The hotel was less than 20m away from the water's edge and our balcony was totally enclosed, like a cave opening, so it was very private ad I had the most romantic mindset I've probably ever had.

The view for 7 days.

In the spirit of romance, I pursued the opportunity to get a couples massage with Clifford from the hotel spa, Marion Mizzi Well Being. Clifford isn't really pushed either way to get massages, but after I convince him to get one, he's always grateful and again he humoured me.

Our masseuses were French or Belgium and they were far from shy about the usual awkward places that rarely get massaged in Canada. Both our or rears were totally exposed and massaged, and the same went with my pecs. Not to say she was a bad masseuse, she wass actually quite excellent. Without a clock she managed to give me a head to toe massage in 50 min flat. It was fast and furious and totally not as romantic as I thought. It was simply a massage, with Clifford in the same room. I don't really think it would have been any different if I had wanted the 125 min couples massage.

Would I do it again? Probably not. I had relaxing, soothing, and a romantic experience in mind and I have to say it was none of the above. I'll just have to find other romantic things to do with the husband.

Dinner at little local restaurants with patios and local wines. <3 br="">

04 September 2010

Mission #53: Play Mini Golf

Goal completed on August 15, 2010 in Bundoran.

Clifford and I had finally a weekend to ourselves and made a point of getting away so we could definitely not thinking at all about wedding stuff. After much arguing and making faces at each other, Clifford and I finally booked a B&B and surf lessons in Rossnowlagh in the Republic of Ireland.

But Mission #3: Try surfing will have to stay incomplete. Before Clive and I even left for Rossnowlagh, we got a phone call from the surf school saying they couldn't do the lessons. Something about the waves not being right. I was disappointed. I really wanted to learn how to surf, and this was probably my last chance to attempt surfing.

The view from our B&B
The beach in the morning.
However, we still made the most of our time on the west coast of Ireland. The The Gaslight Inn (Ardnamara B&B) was also a restaurant and pub for the locals. Clifford was in his element chatting to other patrons and staff (and getting smashed in the process), I had the biggest platefuls of fresh seafood I could ever ask for. The breakfast the next morning was a hung over person's dream: a homemade full Irish breakfast.

We were also blessed with fabulous weather: there was not a cloud in the sky and sun was shining the brightest I have ever seen it in Ireland. The most shocking part? It lasted the whole day. After we had started off the day with a walk to the main beach, we were directed to a local, more secluded beach, by the B&B owner. Apparently Tony Blair had learned how to swim there.

Private little beach.

After spending the morning there and getting sunburned (I know, sunburned? In Ireland. Apparently it can happen), we made our way to Ballyshannon, and eventually to Bundoran, where I discovered PIRATE MINI GOLF!

I am a terrible golfer but I managed to get the only hole in one!

03 September 2010

Remember Your iPod

Yesterday I had a really bad day. I felt like a disappointment all around and after a long hiatus from being on the internet properly because of traveling and getting married. I looked back at my list of goals and realized I hadn't really gotten anywhere with them and I promptly not completed one.

I felt quite down in the dumps because it was a goal I totally thought I had covered, the Nike+Active goal. Like an emo loser I sat at Starbucks in Antrim the other day and wrote "Woe is me, I suck." for a whole page because Nike had said the old Nike+Active goals that I had started would become unavailable as of September 1.

Well, imagine my surprise this morning when I sync'd the few steps I had managed to accumulate when I actually remembered to take my iPod and turn on the pedometre on my walks. I had enough steps to complete the goal I had been working on and start on the next goal: the Pinata.

I'm was like "Yesssss!" but quietly because Clive was still sleeping.

The Pinata will be my last goal to complete before this set of Nike+Active goals is complete and I'll be able to start on the next one. I'm looking forward to it now because it's like I have a second chance, even though I'll have to walk about 200k for steps to complete it. On the other hand, it will be 14,000 or so calories and after this honeymoon I will definitely need to get back into the swing of things sooner than later.

And note to self: bring your friggin iPod with you so you can prove you've walked more than 600 steps a day.