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30 Before 30

29 Sep
Don't entirely remember this picture from our bday celebration.

Don’t entirely remember this picture from our bday celebration.

It’s a bit unnerving to see the number 30 as the title of this post and looming ahead of me. But I remember being 26 and talking to my amazing co-worker, Kristina, when she was turning 30. She told me how excited and happy she was about life, her career, and dating. She told me that at that age, she knew what she wanted out of life and had a confidence to go after it that made things so much easier. But me, at that timid, mid-twenties age, I doubted what she told me and looked at my future with anxiety and fear.

But she was so right. And I leave 28 for 29 feeling the happiest and most secure of my life. This last year brought a lot of things that have done wonders for me. I got serious about kickboxing; I buckled down about school and finished my tech degree; I started listening to podcasts by Tara Brach about Buddhism. I went on adventures big and small. From riding horses through the New Mexican desert to stand-up paddle boarding in Maine to learning the Lindy Hop in Lincoln Center. I had an awesome year, and I see no reason why the next one won’t likewise be fantastic. I managed 10 last year, so here’s hoping I can expand that a bit.


  1. Visit a new state 15 down, 35 to go.
  2. Visit a new country 12 down, 183 to go.
  3. Visit a new baseball stadium 7 down, 23 to go.
  4. Read “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion I have writerly friends who worship at the feet of Didion, yet I haven’t read a single book by her.
  5. Watch “The African Queen” I’ve added watching a classic movie to the standards.
  6. Make an Indian meal I order in Indian food quite a bit, and one of the new receptionists at work (who is Indian) likes to tease me that it’s a waste of money, and I could make it just as good at home. Challenge accepted.
  7. Eat a Ramen Burger There’s a place in NYC that serves a burger between two grilled ramen noodle loaves. I’m in.
  8. Visit One World Observatory 


  1. Take a Sailing Lesson
  2. Go Scuba Diving I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THIS.
  3. Go to a Gun Range
  4. Do a Juice Cleanse
  5. Visit a Whiskey Distillery
  6. Go to a Live Taping
  7. Ride a Mechanical Bull
  8. Take a trapeze class
  9. Go to a Monster Truck Show
  10. Sing at Live Band Karaoke I went on a first date a couple of months ago to a live band, rock and roll karaoke. It was amazing, and I regret not getting up and doing it. No chemistry with the guy. But SO MUCH chemistry with Arlene’s Grocery. Proof that dating can be rewarding.
  11. Go Sky Diving
  12. Learn to Play the Ukulele 
  13. Do a Knitting Donation Project


  1. Go Cross Country Skiing It sounds so New England to me.
  2. Compete in a Crossword Competition I am a nerd. I do the New York Times crossword every day and time myself. I think I’m ready to take my skills on the road.
  3. Take a Flamenco Dance lesson The fan! The little finger things! The stomping!
  4. Go Windsurfing When I was in Canada, I saw a couple of windsurfers on Georgian Bay. It looks terrifying and kind of cool.
  5. Get my aura photographed Sounds like bullshit, but I’m a sucker for these things.
  6. Go on a Ghost Tour I recently signed up for the New York Obscura Society, and they often have graveyard events.
  7. Go parasailing I can’t believe I’ve made it this far into my life without doing this!
  8. Run a 5K My boyfriend is deferring his NYC marathon eligibility to next year and wants me to train with him. But I don’t run. I hate running. I only run when I’m being chased. But he has convinced me that there are some fun 5Ks out there, and he seems to believe I am capable.
  9. Do an Escape the Room There are so many different kinds of these in New York. Ones with zombies. Ones for groups. Ones for couples. Basically they lock you in a room for an hour or two with a variety of puzzles that leads to the key to get out. I love puzzles! See #23 for proof.

29 Before 29

15 Sep
Birthday girls

Birthday girls

I happen to share my birth date with one of my closest friends in New York, Quincey. A while back the two of us were talking about possible ideas for our birthday. We laughed and said we should do a week-long celebration dedicated to the amazingness that is us. But the more we talked about it, the more it made complete sense.

Our birth date happens to be marred by a national tragedy which over time has affected celebrations negatively. In addition to that, we both moved a lot as kids and spent many childhood birthdays in a new town without friends. So this was the year to make up for it. Cabaret, Karaoke, Softball, $1 beers, Ice Cream Cake, Cupcakes, Shake Shack, Happy Hour, Czech Beer Garden, Dancing. This was a week-long celebration for the ages, and my liver, stomach, legs, vocal chords are still recovering.

Now that life is slipping into normalcy, it’s time to embrace the new year’s list. I dropped some things that just weren’t happening. I brought back some recurring standards. And as far as new items go, I went big and small. Some overly ambitious and some devastatingly simple.


1. Visit a new state- 13 down, 37 to go!

2. Visit a new country- Due to my supposed risk averse nature, I was unable to travel last year. But this year my goal is somewhere in Central America. I have to break in that new passport.

3. Visit a new baseball stadium- I’m so close to so many stadiums, it’s a crying shame that my number is so low. 7/30.

4. Read Catch-22– Every year I dedicate myself to reading one classic that I’m embarrassed about not having read.

5. Make Jambalaya- My new recipe challenge for the year.

6. Eat Ox Tail- My new adventurous food choice of the year.

7. Eat Ethiopian- You really can’t have too many adventurous food options. I’d be happy with doing an entire list of food.


8. Be an extra in a TV show or movie***

9. Go Scuba Diving***

10. Go Sailing***

11. Go to a Gun Range***

12. Do a Juice Cleanse**

13. Go to a Dog Show**

14. Visit a Whiskey Distillery**

15. Go to a Live Taping*- My new goal for this is to see “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver. I have such a nerd crush on him.

16. Ride a Mechanical Bull*

17. Take a Trapeze Class*

18. Eat at Serendipity*

19. Go to a Monster Truck Show*


20. Sing at Live Band Karaoke- I love singing karaoke. Some might even call it a passion. A week ago, I delivered a drunken, impassioned performance of “All That Jazz.” I’m ready to step up my karaoke game.

Duet with Quincey

Duet with Quincey

21. Paint Nite- I know this is suburban and faux-creative, but I want to do it. I want to somehow paint a pretty picture and pretend I’m an artiste.

22. Go sky diving- I hesitated putting this on the list. I’ve hesitated putting it on for years. I’m concerned I might pee myself or have a similar humiliating experience.

23. Fencing Lesson- I took an archery lesson a couple of months ago. If the place wasn’t so far from me, I would have considered going back. Something so fun about medieval weaponry.

24. Learn to play the ukelele- I learned that my paternal grandfather used to play the ukelele. It’s a family tradition I’d like to carry on.

25. Go whale watching- I didn’t realize how much I wanted to do this until I missed an opportunity last week. I want to experience the majesty of those mammals.

26. Do a knitting donation project- I took down my “Pay for someone’s meal” item, because I’m just too shy. But I wanted to replace it with something charitable.

27. Go white water rafting- I fear this will go the way of my go scuba diving item. It’ll never happen.

28. Visit a horse ranch- I’ve recently started working with horses, and I forgot how deep my love for them runs.

29. Visit the United Nations- I had to add one New York touristy option.



28 Before 28: Join a Book Club

7 Apr

In my 28th year of life, I’m attempting to do 28 new things. Full list here.

I’ve had this on my list for three years now. I searched for book clubs I could join online, finding only stay-at-home moms who read books about parenting. I mentioned it to people in passing, a lot of whom responded that Book Clubs are lame and for…stay-at-home moms.

“Preposterous!” I replied to the nay-sayers. So I started a book club myself.

As a bookish person, I have over the years attracted a number of friends with similar book nerd tendencies. All it took was posting a query of interest on my Facebook page to get together a modest group of six to discuss books about once a month.

Yesterday was our first meeting, and it went well! I was so happy to hear other people’s feelings about the book, their favorite parts, their criticisms. As the de facto leader, I was the one who picked the book, “The Poisoner’s Handbook” (link in caption above for purchase). It turned out to be a fitting book about Prohibition. So we sat together, throwing back Bellini’s and Bloody Mary’s, discussing.

For me, the best part about a book club is the widening perspective as a reader. By reading books other people have selected, it causes me to read books that I might shy away from. In the discussion itself, I got to see the book through five other people’s perspectives. The English major in me felt right at home.

28 Before 28

16 Sep
Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Another year, friends. I still haven’t processed that I’m now 27, but the festivities of the last week have made me feel happy and loved which is all a girl can ask for.

This was a tumultuous year for me. I spent a lot of time in self-reflection, trying to figure out where I want to take my life, making peace with the past, and taking deep breaths in the present. A lot of it wasn’t easy. But from where I sit at this moment, I am the happiest, most together I have ever been.

Unfortunately, all this soul-searching and self-reflection left my bucket list out in the cold. I only accomplished 10 things on my list, down from the 12 I managed to do last year. But it’s a new year, and as much personal growth as I’ve gone through, my idea of a bucket list has also evolved, and I’m excited about the next year! As I’ve done before, I rolled over some of the previous items. One asterisk represents things I neglected to do last year. Two asterisks represent things I’ve neglected to do the past TWO years. Therefore it also represents my shame.

  1. Read Slaughterhouse-Five– I have never read any Kurt Vonnegut! Let’s face it. Despite prolific reading, it’s hard to read ALL the classics, ALL the best authors. But I enjoy tackling one embarrassing omission per year. This year is Mr. Vonnegut.
  2. Visit a new state– My grandfather visited all 50 states in his lifetime, and I admire the accomplishment. I’m only at 12. This will hopefully be a recurring item for years to come.
  3. Visit a new country- I’ve hesitated from putting anything travel-related on the list for fear that having something too big would hinder completing the list. But who am I kidding? I only completed 10 last year, so I should be able to dream as big as I want. So many countries I want to see. This will also be recurring.
  4. Visit the top of the Statue of Liberty– Whilst also dreaming big about traveling, I want to likewise take better advantage of living in the capital of the WORLD, New York City. I tried the Tourist Tuesday thing, which I’d like to continue, but putting things on my list will also push me to do them. What could be more touristy than this?
  5. Go to a live taping– This is the point in my list where I must give some credit to my friend Quincey who also does a birthday bucket list, although hers has been more New York City centric, so I’m pilfering a lot of my New York City items from her list. So, yeah, some sort of late night show, or the Daily Show, SNL is nearly impossible, but I’d like to try.
  6. Do Some Gardening**- I live in a city. I don’t just trip over gardening opportunities every day.
  7. Anonymously Pay Someone’s Tab**- I know it looks bad and selfish that I haven’t done this yet, but the majority of the time, this is my life: tumblr_ls5sctFDGt1qm30qjo1_500
  8. Be an extra in a tv show or movie**- I’ve looked into it, believe you me! I just haven’t found a simple way to do this without registering with an agency. I just want to be a witness in a Law and Order scene, do we have to bring my social security number into this?
  9. Take a boxing class*-Again, I looked into it. Just have to commit to a class.
  10. Visit a new baseball stadium- Wasn’t able to do this last year, but now that I’m dating an adorable baseball fan, things are looking up! We’ll definitely accomplish this one…next season.
  11. Do a Juice Cleanse*– Still determined to do this despite the eye rolls I got from people about it.
  12. Go to Lucky Cheng’s- Dinner and a drag show! Sounds like my ideal night out.
  13. Eat at White Castle– The East Coast fast food staple has eluded me. But one night (hopefully after imbibing a few adult beverages), I’d like to find myself there.
  14. Go Skinny Dipping**- I don’t think I’ve been to a beach or a warm body of water this year where this was even possible. Not sure how to rectify this situation.
  15. Go Scuba Diving**- I’m thinking I can accomplish this one if I plan out the visit a new state/visit a new country items appropriately.
  16. Go sailing**-So, who’s got a boat? Anyone, anyone…
  17. Join a book club**- I don’t have enough friends who are nerds. Where are you book nerds? Where do you all congregate, and can I please join you?!
  18. Ride a mechanical bull- Almost did this once. I told my friends I wasn’t drunk enough to do it. So when I finally felt I had the liquid courage, I march up to the bull. It’s then that I notice the room was spinning, I turn back to my friends and tell them that I was TOO drunk to do it. That was six years ago. I will find the perfect balance and embrace the urban cowgirl I know I am.
  19. Go to roller derby*- I wish I had the guts to join a roller derby team, but for now I’ll settle with watching other girls be violent and awesome.
  20. Go to a dog show*- Now that I’m a full-time vet tech, I think I’d really enjoy this, ogling all the breeds.
  21. Do a Circle Line cruise- An uber-touristy item. It’s a cruise around the isle of Manhattan, from which one can see all five boroughs, important landmarks, bridges. It sounds neat!
  22. Visit a whiskey distillery*- I’ve been to many beer breweries, and it’s always fun. And if there’s one thing that I love more than beer, it’s whiskey.
  23. Take a trapeze class- I’m not the most graceful of girls, so this could be interesting.
  24. Go to a gun range**- I want to do this! I want to do it so much! Why haven’t I done this?
  25. Eat at Serendipity- A famous New York restaurant known for amazing desserts. I tried to go once with visiting friends, but the 90 minute wait deterred me.
  26. Get a facial- I liked having the self-pampering list item of massage last year. Going to continue the “treat yo self” trend.
  27. Drink at the Bridge Cafe- The oldest business in New York, it has been open since 1794 and was once a brothel! This nerd loves her history.
  28. Go to a Monster Truck Show– Because why not?

27 Before 27: Go Hiking

5 May
Hiking through Glaciers

Hiking through Glaciers

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Two assumptions about myself that I’ve had to let go of in the last couple of years.

Assumption 1: I’m not athletic. Growing up, I was the runt of the litter. I had breathing issues, I had stomach issues, I was pale, skinny and preferred to read a book as opposed to subjecting myself to the teasing about my athletic ineptitude.

Assumption 2: I hate nature. This goes along with the not being athletic thing. Instead of going outside and being active, I have always enjoyed reading, writing, brooding, all typically indoor activities.

Hiking is something of a breakdown of these two assumptions about myself.

A secret no one tells you about hiking is that it’s just walking. I can do that! I think of myself as something of a binge walker, sometimes wandering the island of Manhattan for hours at a time. Hiking is doing the same thing, but in more serene surroundings and without cabs threatening to end your life.

So I went to Iceland. Iceland’s natural beauty is a huge part of their tourist appeal. It is a country designed for hiking.

Attempted selfie behind a waterfall.

Attempted selfie behind a waterfall.

I spent a full day hiking at the base of volcanos, trekking behind waterfalls, and to top the day off, cramponing my way across glaciers. And it was breathtaking. The beautiful views, the fresh air, the feeling of accomplishment. I loved it. I knew I would. Like so many things I’ve checked off on my bucket lists, I wish I had more time to make them a full hobby. Hiking would be a fantastic one but is especially difficult given my urban location. Oh, sigh, one more reason to miss the Pacific Northwest.

On the bright side, I was so happy that I got to cross off something on my list…in Iceland.

27 Before 27: Go to a Hockey Game

2 Apr

2013-04-01 19.09.58 In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Going to a hockey game was a high priority for me on this year’s list. I like sports, and nothing beats going to a sporting event live. I didn’t (still don’t) know a ton about hockey, but it seemed fast paced and exciting. I panicked there for a while during the lockout, then I panicked because all of a sudden it was April. But, alas, I found my way to a New Jersey Devils game.

I’m an underdog kind of lady. I like the idea of a team that is somewhat hapless, somewhat less funded, more like me. I must admit, though, that I know next to nothing about hockey, but the New York Rangers come off like a Yankees sort of team, all Madison Square Garden and all. The Devils are endearing to me, because they’re in Newark and that seems like an underdog kind of town. Plus the Prudential Center (more affectionately known as the Rock) is a beautiful arena.

The first thing I noticed as the game began was how difficult and athletic hockey looks. I’ve played my fair share of sports and defending, passing, goal attempts, keeping track of who on your team is open are all difficult tasks enough. These guys are doing it on ice! Hockey is an aggressive sport with a lot of fights and slamming into one another, but it is also graceful and impressive. The way they maneuver around one another, pass, shoot the puck. Hypnotizing. I don’t think I ever felt that awe-struck watching hockey on television.

The New Jersey Devils are also a lot of fun. The reason to follow a team is the camaraderie of the fan base. In any sport, players, coaches, championships, controversies will all come and go. The reason anyone stays faithful to a specific team is because of the community that you become a part of. I liked the raucous nature of the Devils fans. They had a chant that went simply, “Ranger suck, Flyers swallow.” They weren’t playing either team that night. Just chanting it to remind themselves.

But, hands down, the best part of the night was during one of the intermissions after period one where they let little league hockey players play. Their jerseys were down to their ankles! Unreasonably adorable. I’m ovulating just thinking about it.

2013-04-01 19.44.28

27 Before 27: Lie Down and Listen to an Album…

28 Dec

rolling-stones-let-it-bleedIn my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Let me start by saying that this was a weird one to put on the list. I think what happened was that I was compiling my 26 before 26 list and absolutely couldn’t come up with a 26th thing. So I threw this on there. Have I never lied down and listened to an album? I don’t know. I remember some tumultuous teenage days lying on the floor of my bedroom soaking in Velvet Underground.

This idea came up, because I’m not a big album person. I’ve been told by people that this is a sin to music, that I’m not appreciating an artist’s full composition. I can’t help it. I don’t want to sit through songs I don’t like, that’s what the forward button was invented for!

I’ve also found very few albums in my life where I really enjoyed the whole thing, didn’t want to skip any huge chunks. They always take me by surprise, and I end up falling completely in love. “Blonde on Blonde” by Bob Dylan. “Live from Folsom Prison” by Johnny Cash. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. “Doolittle” by the Pixies. I’m struggling to come up with more. Those are the ones that captured months of my life, and I was happy to have them. Now I have a new one. “Let it Bleed” by the Rolling Stones.

About a week ago, I began reading Keith Richards memoirs, “Life.” Oh man, it is awesome, and I cannot recommend it more. Not the most poetic writing of our time, but it’s fascinating. His theories on life and music, the fact that he wrote “Satisfaction” in his sleep, amazing. The first chapter is about being arrested for possession in some Southern state. I was laughing out loud on the subway. I’m not one to read and laugh out loud.

Anyways, it got me in the mood for the Rolling Stones, not to mention that “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” came on my ipod at a necessary moment in time about a week ago, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat since. If I have to cross this thing off, I’d like to write about this album.

I thought about how to do it. Stretched out on my bed late at night with a glass of whiskey on the nightstand, maybe I’d listen to it at a friend’s apartment who has a record player. But I ended up listening to it on a bus back to Philly on Christmas Night.

I figured the time was right, and I wanted to do it, so I unshuffled my ipod and put the album on while staring out the window as the beautiful New Jersey landscape rolled by.

I’m not a music reviewer, and I am nowhere near an expert, but damn that’s a lovely album. “Gimme Shelter” pumps you up, “Love in Vain” makes you feel pure, beautiful heartbreak, then “Country Honk” brings back the good times. Perhaps this album is just my aesthetic right now. A little bluesy, a little folksy, but a little harder edged. Then to end the album on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”….I don’t even know what to say, it feels like therapy. It’s all I’ve been listening to, the album that is, on repeat. I might go lie down and do it right now.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”

27 Before 27: Write a fan letter

18 Sep


In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

I can hardly believe it, friends. I am one week into my 27th year on this blue dot, and I’ve already knocked something off my list! All that birthday drinking had to stop at some point, so I could get down to business.

Writing a fan letter in some ways feels awfully childish. In fact, when I started this one, after I wrote the opening “Dear Ira Glass,” I giggled at the peculiar nature of it and read it aloud in a high-pitched teenage girl voice. I was nervous to do this, because it’s putting oneself out there. Trying to contact someone who has no idea who you are, yet is someone that you wholeheartedly admire.

So I went with Ira Glass. I thought about Bonnie Hunt, but I didn’t have much to say other than I though her talk show she had a couple of years ago was pretty awesome. I thought about Tina Fey, but she’s truly a celebrity. I don’t think my letter would ever reach her, and I’d bet she receives a lot of fan letters. But Ira Glass, although a celebrity amongst hipsters and nerds, seemed less out of reach. I’ve heard him speak in a ballet studio in Brooklyn. He seems like a humble, likeable, kind guy. Plus I felt like the fact that I’d seen him speak was a jumping off point.

My letter basically thanked him for speaking at the New York Writer’s Coalition event and detailed how I admired him so. There wasn’t much else to say, because I don’t necessarily want anything from him. My dream is that he will be touched by my sincere yet brief note, write me back, and we’ll begin an old-fashioned correspondence like Rilke and his young poet. Ira Glass will become my mentor and my friend. That’s my dream, but I know the chances are slim to none. The one thing that I realistically hope for is that the letter actually makes it to him and that it makes him happy for a day. I sent the letter to him at the “This American Life” address, so I believe there’s a fairly good chance of it making its way to him.

I feel silly about it, but sometimes a kind note can make someone’s day. I’ve worked many jobs, many, many, many jobs, and I was always touched when someone took a moment to mention that I helped them or did a good job, so it’s something that I likewise try to do for others. Perhaps even Ira Glass needs a little pick-me-up now and then.

27 Before 27

16 Sep


I’m 26! And I had an amazing transitional week from 25 to 26. The Saturday before my birthday, I invited a hodgepodge of friends to a small gathering at a West Village bar. I’ve been in New York for two years now, and I was touched to realize that I have such an amazing group of people who love and support me. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, and I still get warm, fuzzy feelings thinking about that night. My phone still can’t take pictures, so the only real picture I have from that night is the one my friend Kristina took of all the Vet office co-workers that were there.

What was amazing about my birthday was that I had my vet office friends, my softball friends, my soccer friends, my Seattle friends, my Think Coffee friends, my roommates, my crazy dentist office friends, etc. At one point my new man companion made a comment that all of my friends were so different from one another, but the one thing they all had in common was that they were all warm, kind, fun people. I feel I’ve done well for myself.

However, I have not done well for myself as far as my 26 before 26 list goes. I only completed 12 things. And many of the items left behind were not so difficult that I have a good excuse for not doing them. But I will do better this year, I will focus, and I hopefully won’t wait until December to knock the first one off.

One thing I decided to do was to roll over the unfinished items to the new list. But I’ve starred them below to keep track of which ones are taking me the longest.

1. Read Moby Dick– It’s a classic. It’s considered one of the great, defining American novels. I know all the basics about it, but I’ve never actually read it. It’s so monstrous and intimidating, but I owe it to American literature to read it.

2. Eat pork belly– I’ve heard it’s delicious. My former life as a vegetarian for eight years makes me somewhat standoffish when it comes to meat which is why I’ve never had it. A funny note, I mentioned to a co-worker of mine that I was putting it on my list, and he told me that pork belly was so four years ago and not in culinary vogue anymore. Oh, New York, you crazy, nonsensical place.

3. Write a fan letter*- Last year when I put this on the list I thought I was going to write one to Tina Fey. However, at this point in time, I would like to write one to Ira Glass! That dashing nerd! We’ll see.

4. Get a professional massage- I’ve had plenty of amateur ones, but I think I’d like to get the real deal. I work hard. I deserve it.

5. Donate blood- It’s such a simple thing that could mean so much to someone, but I’ve never done it, because blood used to freak me out. With my new career as a Vet Tech, it doesn’t bother me. In fact, it’s kind of neat.

6. Do some gardening*- Ya know, I actually did sign up for a volunteer gardening project in the Lower East Side, but when I showed up, I was actually assigned to re-paint jungle gym equipment, so I did try. But I failed.

7. Anonymously pay someone’s tab*- Does the fact that I haven’t completed this make me a selfish person incapable of helping my fellow man, or am I just really poor and can’t afford it? Something I should really think about and fix one way or another.

8. Be an extra in a movie or tv show*- I live in New York. I need to make this happen and become immortal on the silver screen.

9. Take a boxing class- I’ve always thought it would be fun. I’m a scrawny girl, but I’d like to become capable of beating someone up.

10. Visit a new baseball stadium- I’ve been to 6 of the 30 major league baseball stadiums, and I think it would be a hoot to see them all. So I’ve decided to put this on my list from now until I’ve completed them all.

11. Do a juice cleanse- I’m trying my darndest to be healthy. But I struggle with staying away from beer, whiskey, pop tarts, pizza, cheese, french fries, Oreos. Need I go on? I’d like to try one of those three day juice cleanses and see how it makes me feel. So many people swear by them.

12. Go hiking*- Such a simple one, but I live in New York. I hear there’s hiking on Staten Island, but that feels like a cheap cop-out. I’d rather go on a hike where I can see something naturally stunning.

13. Pluck my eyebrows*- I told a close friend that this was on the list, and he looked at me surprised. Sigh, yes, I have lovely eyebrows, but is there a chance they could be even more improved!

14. Go skinny dipping*- This is a really difficult one to make happen, because you can’t really just call someone up and say, “Hey, you wanna go get naked and jump in some water?” It’s just got to happen on its own. I guess I should start hanging out by bodies of water more frequently and be the creep in the corner slowly hinting that we all get naked and jump in.

15. Go scuba diving*- Likewise difficult to accomplish in New York, but I should really stop using that as an excuse. The whole point behind my list is to have easy things alongside more challenging ones. Things that will force me to step out of my comfort zone.

16. Go sailing*- So, who’s got a boat? Anyone, anyone…

17. Join a book club*-  Although I scoff at my undergrad degree, I really did love being an English major. I think joining a book club would be a grown-up extension of that.

18. Go to a hockey game*- I really tried! Last winter I was dating a hockey fan, and we kept on making plans to go that just never worked out. Then at some point I realized the only reason I was still with him was because I still wanted to go to a hockey game. That’s wrong. So I broke up with him. Then I was single, and I STILL didn’t go to a hockey game.

19. Go to roller derby- I wish I had the guts to join a roller derby team, but for now I’ll settle with watching other girls be violent and awesome.

20. Go to a dog show- I like dogs, a lot. But I’m not sure if I’ll love this or hate it.

21. Tango Lesson- I love dancing. I’m also really bad at it. The one time I took salsa lessons when I was 21, the stranger I was partnered with got very frustrated with me and told me in exasperation, “You have to let someone else lead for a minute!” I’ll never forget that.

22. Visit a whiskey distillery- I’ve been to many beer breweries, and it’s always fun. And if there’s one thing that I love more than beer, it’s whiskey.

23. Attend service at a synagogue*- Isn’t Yom Kippur this week? What is that?

24. Go to a gun range*- Bang Bang Bang.

25. Play the drums*- I recently went to a jazz club and the drummer in the band was a woman. I admired her.

26. Lie down and listen to a classic rock album and do nothing else*- This one is sooooooo easy. Why on Earth haven’t I done it. No. good. excuse.

27. Eat chicken and waffles- I’d never even heard of this supposedly common brunch option until I moved to New York. Apparently there are a lot of really great places. And I love me some brunch!

26 Before 26: Do Batting Practice

1 Jul

Just like Matt Kemp

In my 26th year of life, I am attempting 26 new things that I’ve never done before. Full list here.

Boy oh boy, I needed this.

One of the best and most pleasantly surprising things about my 26 before 26 endeavor has been the eagerness and enthusiasm of others to hear about it and to help me. I keep a copy of the list on my phone, and anytime anyone hears about it they immediately want to see it. They go through the list, laughing at some of the items and becoming overly excited about others. I haven’t been as diligent about my list, because life gets in the way. But a new friend from my soccer team, Dave, saw this on my list and insisted on taking me to the batting cages at Chelsea Piers. I was happy to go.

We went on a Wednesday night, after a crappy Wednesday day. I went into work slightly hungover and proceeded to have a bad luck day. I was mainly having issues with catheters. Catheters were so scary to me for such a long time, but once I got the hang of it, I felt so proud. But Wednesday, every catheter I put in would kink and I would lose the flow. It’s heartbreaking, to see the flash, to slowly insert the catheter, to pull the stylet…nothing. No blood. I’d pull the catheter out and see it had bended all weird. Everyone kept telling me that it sometimes just happens with catheters, but I would look down at the blown vein and beat myself up. I was having such an off day with those effing blue catheters.

So I headed to the batting cages to meet up with Dave. It’s a pretty good deal, really. $2ish for a token which gets you ten pitches. Dave went for the medium pitch cage, but I wanted to take whacks at the slow pitch softball cage since that is what I encounter in my Pac-12 softball team. There was a pair of girls who had rented the cage for an hour. They were dripping with sweat, taking turns in the cage. We got to talking with them, and they make it down to the pier once a month to rent the cage for an hour and go to town.

“We’ve got a lot of rage,” one of them told me breathlessly.

Once they left, I took my turn in the cage. It was much easier than actual softball. I knew exactly when the ball was coming and where it would be. I also didn’t have rows of Pac-12 dudes cheering me on. I love my Pac-12 dudes, but I want to do so well for them, I stress myself out. This time, it was just me and a machine. Somehow, nothing feels better then making contact with a bat, hearing that pop, imagining where that ball would go on a real softball field. Such a perfect stress release, and I made a mental note that I must rent the cage out sometime for myself.

Afterwards, Dave and I grabbed a beer at a bar next to the golf driving range. It was perfect weather down my the water, and it was hypnotizing to watch those golf balls sail out towards the water, like a meteor shower. A couple of Dave’s friends showed up so they could practice their golf swings for a tournament they put themselves through, known ominously as “The Cup.” It’s an epic battle amongst old college friends which never fails to entertain me when they start talking about it. There’s even a draft.

I told them that I’d never actually gone to a driving range, and maybe I should put it on my 27 before 27 list. But why put off until tomorrow what you can do today. They invited me to come along and hit a few. I was pretty horrible, but after they gave me a few tips, I don’t think I was so bad. It took a couple of swings before I finally hit the ball, but when I did, one of Dave’s friends Adam said something along the lines of “Yay bucket list.” It took me far away from the worries of a 22-guage catheter.

The next day, my shoulders were so, so sore. But I was relaxed, and 15 minutes into work, I had to place a catheter into a squirmy King Charles Spaniel. I got it right away.