Week #13: Selling points

“Of course, nothing happens until somebody sells something.” – Jim Barksdale

One of my strengths is connectedness. Every day, life presents countless patterns, similarities & tie-ins from faces in the floor tile to really, really bad puns (so many really bad puns). An obvious pattern that my mom & I have continued for quite a while is our proclivity for green &/or Ford vehicles. As the list goes: green Ford van, green Ford mini-van, green Honda—& then finally as my addition—a green Plymouth Fury.

The Fury is a 1968 beast of a vehicle that used to belong to my grandfather. Luckily, it fit into the green machine line, but that was just a plus. I’ve always loved antique cars & now I had one of my own. That didn’t run. & was too far away from my brother for him to fix it. (& too far away from me for me to pretend to fix it.) I love the Fury, which is why I’m letting it go.

Or selling it to the highest bidder, to be more specific. My uber-mechanic brother suggested I use eBay, since the routes I was exploring would not have gotten me much money & involved selling it for scrap :S That would have been awful. So, this way the car is saved and I’ve got my new thing. If all goes well, someone gets a great hobby car & I get money to pay off school loans.

If you’d like to check it out, this link might work (technically the item hasn’t been listed yet). If that doesn’t work, just look up 1968 Plymouth Fury III on eBay tomorrow and hopefully it will show up 🙂

Week #12: King & conqueror

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“On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction.” – Henri Mouhot, French Naturalist

So this week was going to be an automotive coup d’état (more details on that next week), but turns out that’s a lot more difficult that I had anticipated. So, in lieu of that, I ate a piece of durian. What is a durian? Covered in a hard, spiny & dangerous—seriously, it’s killed people before—shell, durian is a fruit from southeast Asia that has such a strong odor & distinct taste that it has separated the world into two camps. Those who love durian—it’s nickname is “the king of fruits”—& those with taste buds.

My friend Shawna has been on this Thai food kick lately & has brought back oddity upon oddity from the Asian market. She was in the kitchen with a bag when I meandered over.  “Is the gas leaking?” her husband asked. I was a bit confused & then it hit me—the aroma that I’d imagine Taun-taun guts have—the smell of durian. Imagine tuna fish left in a car in a Kansas July mixed with rotten fruit & the stuff that comes out of grease traps. If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask any of the public places where it’s outlawed due to the smell:

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Shawna was going to take a small bite, but it was so bad smelling that she was having second thoughts. “C’mon, I’ll take a bite if you do,” said brave & stupid me. God’s providence made the huge chunk fall off my fork, to be replaced by a tinier bit, then 1-2-3 & swallow the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. It tastes just like it smells & sticks with you no matter what you eat (I can attest to that a bag of blueberries, 3 shots of straight lime juice, a can of diet coke & several Reeses later). If you need more info, check out this video—the little kids’ reactions speak volumes (sorry for the cuss word in the quote).

As for me, I’m going to go gargle with sulfuric acid & try to get rid of this zombie-mouth after taste. We may be at the top of the food chain, but trust me, durian is king.

Leaving notes in books in the library.

Week #11: Book ’em

“An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.” – Stephen Fry
Beautiful weather is a curse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one I’ll gladly bear. But, it’s lovely outside &, therefore, I want to be outside. Blog posts don’t really happen when I’m outside—due to lack of internet & lack of focus on coming up with new thing ideas. I do have a list, but I’ve still been rather out of sorts about finding an original, clever idea to go with this week (I may have to start planning ahead *gasp!*).
Maybe I’m being too picky. I keep thinking of cooking things, but I’d rather not repeat similar things right away. Many things get crossed off because they’re not really original or incredibly compelling—tattoos & kissing in the rain may be new, but I’m not going to do them only for that reason. Also, I feel a lot of my posts lately have been heavily introspective or incredibly different, which are kind of main points for the blog.
I promise to start doing more interesting/fun things, but as it’s rather close to the eleventh hour for this week, that will start next week. So, this week, my AN52 attempt will be somewhat lame but somewhat James Dean-esque rebellion. I’m planning to sticky-note bomb a library by slipping notes of encouragement into random books for people to find later. & there’s nothing you can do to stop me—muahahahahahaaa!

Week #10: Hitting a low note (late post due to tech malfunction)

“Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor.” – Daddy Sang Bass by Johnny Cash

My dreams have been somewhat depressing lately. Now don’t get me wrong, they’re still kooky, jumbled bits of subconscious weaved into an entertaining story line—just with a lot more chasing & dismemberment than I’m used to. But I think it’s because of the cold; I read somewhere once that being cold while you sleep increases the likelihood of nightmares. While, it has been remarkable good weather, but it’s still a bit too chilly for me. Late nights at work have meant that I’m not really getting to see the niceness of the day either. So that’s three things I’m not a fan of—bad dreams, cold & long work hours.

But other than that, my life is going pretty well right now. We’re drifting into spring, which is almost summer, which is almost my birthday, which—well, I’m getting ahead of myself. God is teaching me new meanings for things I’ve always thought I’ve known & opening my eyes to help me see how He has always & is always walking alongside me. I have wonderful friends who love me & laugh at my jokes—especially the bad ones. I have managed to not miss a blog post for 10 weeks & right now there are pretty little birds not eight feet from me.

But the real butter on the corn is that in the Storysong musical I’m a part of (at Greenleaf, April 19-21; see me for tickets) I’ve been moved to the part of tenor in the choir. No you may be thinking, Wait, in a typical Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass arrangement, aren’t tenor & bass parts sung by boys because they’re the lowest? To which I would reply, “Yes, you’re correct. But let’s not forget mezz0-sopranos.”

Mezzo-sopranos are female singers with the ability to hit high soprano notes & lower alto notes (that’s my paraphrase, full description’s here).In school, I sang soprano because that is what girls did where I grew up & I could hit the high C’s. However, in the car, I’d belt it out with Toby Keith & Bobby Day. My mom encouraged me, but I still felt weird because it wasn’t like the other girls. Add to that a massive stage fright I’d picked up somewhere along the way & I was just a mess.

Until I got to college & professors like Prof. Carlson & Prof. Wilder pulled me out of my shell & into a wonderful world of deep, bluesy voices like Linda Ronstadt & Sarah Vaughan. I can’t thank them enough for their encouragement & all the work they poured into me. But until the Storysong switchover, I had never actually used my lower register in a choir setting. Making the switch has been a little difficult—why are the notes upside down & getting used to the bass clef—& humbling—I can’t hit all the low notes right off. But, it’s great & fun & the lowest high note I’ve ever hit in my life 😀

Week #9: An old 52

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball

I’ve made up for this post being so late by making it rather full.

The point of the AN52 blog for me is to push myself to get outside my comfort zone & experience new things. But in all of the searches to find ideas for new things, I keep coming across lists with several things I’ve already accomplished. I thank God for His every blessing for these opportunities & the strength to pursue them. But I’ve never put actual time & effort into documenting the many & varied splendors of the life we’re creating. What better way to do so than to make a list of cool things I’ve done? Here it is—52 numbers/thoughts/experiences of things in my life that I have done which were somewhat important, insightful or at least amusing:

  1. Tent on a trampoline & a van—the strangest places I’ve ever had a sleepover.
  2. 2—number of languages that I speak.
  3. Guinea pig & sea anemone—two of the strangest foods I’ve ever eaten. The guinea pig (or cuy as it was called) tasted like greasy chicken & the sea anemone was like a piece of leather that had been soaked in salt water & vinegar for 1,000 years.
  4. Leah—the friend with whom I ran & danced through some random sprinklers by the side of the road one summer night last year.
  5. 0—the number of people who usually used the elevator in our dorm. 2—the number of people who decided to use it after I had set up my hammock in it.
  6. 24—number of teeth I have after getting (by my memory) four removed before my braces were put on. Since the average human has 32 teeth, I’ve either misremembered or there’s a foul plot atooth….
  7. Dirt—the pile of stuff I landed on after jumping off of the 2nd floor of a building.
  8. Lobster red—the color of the sunburn I got on only one side of my face.
  9. Epic & sore—how I felt after going whitewater rafting & not falling out of the boat.
  10. 4—the types of major types of transportation that I have used at one time or another (planes, trains, automobiles & boats).
  11. Albino seed of the Indian mother—The insult that I witnessed a deranged lady yelling at one of my friends on a New York City subway at 2 AM.
  12. “We have a major in fart?”—the phrase I heard a fellow telecounselor say right before I busted out laughing for like five minutes on someone’s answering machine. I really should have hung up, but I kept thinking I’d stop laughing & be able to see if they were interested in coming to our university. Yes, I was one of those annoying telecounselor callers.
  13. Structural—the type of welding that I did on a church building in Ecuador (don’t worry, I took welding as a class in HS, so I pretty much knew what I was doing).
  14. 2 1/2—number of scars I have from bites. Two were from dogs & one was from a friend’s 10-year-old brother (it’s an emotional scar, which is why it only counts as 1/2).
  15. 23—the age of my single friend Joanna when I threw her a wedding shower-themed birthday.
  16. Nose—the only bone I’ve broken, though I’m not really counting it because it didn’t even bleed & I didn’t get a cast for people to sign.
  17. 25 feet—distance between me & a humpback whale that I saw while on a whale-watching trip. Also, 5—feet between a black bear & I in a national park after that whale-watching trip.
  18. 1968—year of the Plymouth Fury III (vintage car) that I own.
  19. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5—the piece I performed onstage as a classically trained, operatic chicken.
  20. Whoa, it’s salty!—my thoughts of ocean water the first time I swam in it in the Pacific in 2010.
  21. 45 mph—the speed of the buses traveling along the bridge that I jumped off of (while attached to a harness) in a foreign country.
  22. Wench—my costume of choice for the last two Renaissance Festivals that I have dressed up for.
  23. 1—number of times I thought I might have been falling in love & consequently learned to properly stalk said object of my affection.
  24. Booda—the nickname I received when I was a part of the most awesome student-elected (& staff-appointed) group of collegiate government leaders, also known as ASG (made Senior year one of the BEST)!
  25. 4—number of countries I have been in (Ecuador, Australia, Canada & the U.S.<—totally counts as a country).
  26. 2—number of majors that I earned at college.
  27. Alaska—destination of the cruise that I went on with some friends.
  28. 2—number of equator museums I have visited. There was the traditional location of the equator museum & about 900 yards away was the actual location of the equator museum.
  29. Basketball—the sport I set a record for in high school. (four fouls in 30 seconds)
  30. 3—weddings I have been in (& yet never a flower girl!). I was a bridesmaid, a groomsmaid & a maid of honor (anything for my wonderful friends!).
  31. Yearbook deadlines—the reason I stayed awake for 72 hours straight.
  32. Third, fifth & sixth—the ribbons I won for hunt seat equitation classes (that’s fancy English horseback riding if you weren’t sure).
  33. Truck—object I felt I had been run over by when I had the swine flu.
  34. Lady—the name of the horse that I owned for two weeks before she passed away from cancer.
  35. Tomatoes—the only plant I’ve successfully gotten to grow in a garden & then they just wouldn’t stop growing. So many tomatoes…
  36. Socks—the only thing I’ve ever set on fire in a microwave. I’m a good friend & one of my suitemates had cold feet.
  37. The A.D.D. Hour—name of the radio show that I hosted in college.
  38. Rocks & sand—the main things I saw when I went snorkeling with my Dad & brother in Lake Michigan while growing up.
  39. Daniel & Shawna—friends who taught me how to do back flips & front flips off of the diving board.
  40. Rather embarrased—how I felt when a little boy pulled down my pants in front of an entire Chicago bus station.
  41. 8—number of years that I took horseback riding lessons. 1—number of times myself & the saddle slid to the ground around the horse I was riding because I had not tightened the girth enough. That’s all it takes.
  42. Headache—result of getting super-thick glasses after lying a lot on the eye chart in 3rd grade (because all of the cool kids had glasses). Mom was also upset when I told her I had lied, but she didn’t kill me, so that was cool.
  43. 2—number of times that I almost died as a child, once by drowning & once by asphyxiation due to pneumonia.
  44. Walmart—where I was asked out on a date by a total stranger (who looked just like Barack Obama, incidentally) while my friend was trying not to bust out laughing.
  45. 5—number of times I took the ACT (I also took the PSAT & SAT once each). I love how standardized tests sort of say, “Your brain is this good”.
  46. Candace—girl who let me back into the hotel room that I sleptwalked out of when we were at a SADD conference in high school.
  47. 3—number of students I knocked over when I tripped down the stairs on my way to get an award in elementary school. That was my moment in the spotlight (literally).
  48. eHarmony & Twitter—the two websites where I have profiles set up by other people. My friend set up the eHarmony profile for me (without my knowledge) when she didn’t want to do homework. My coworkers set up the @Robertasaidwhat Twitter feed (also without my knowledge) to tweet things that I have said; when I stumbled upon it, I thought someone had stolen my identity.
  49. Black diamond—level (advanced) of ski slope that I made it through on the fourth day I’d ever skied. It took a while, but a 10-year-old girl took me through it.
  50. Junior high hallway—first place I learned to do a cart-wheel.
  51. Acnestis—the part of the back, usually between the shoulder blades, that people can’t reach. I’m listing it here because due to my freaky monkey arms, I don’t have one.
  52. A bajillion—number of blessings God has bestowed upon me in my life—grace, friends, family, love, laughter, food, videos of cats falling off things.

Way to make it all the way to the bottom! What a trooper, here’s a cookie 🙂

Weeks #6-8 Reports

Week #6: A rock to remember report:

My jar of mini-Ebenezers (reminders of God’s provision & faithfulness) turned out great. You can see pics on Flickr.

Week #7: Business formal report:

The Addy’s Award show that I attended as a ‘creative’ (fancy word for people who do art stuff) for Premier. It was definitely a ‘party’ party with an open bar & lively music, a combination which I have about 0 experience with. A mini-AN52 project presented itself when I got thirsty. I had to ask for a bottled water at the bar, only after asking one of the guys leaning on it if there was a line.

The video that Premier put forth got a silver (so, yay!) & Lynnae (a fellow employee) & I got free candy from the candy table. More info & pics on Flickr.

Week #8: Growing pains report:

Car rental places are age-ists, even when you have a receipt. Unfortunately, when I walked into Avis with my online reservation receipt printed out, it was not long before I had to walk right back out again sans vehicle. I found out that you cannot rent a car at most places without a big name credit card. Since the only credit card I have (see week #3) is only for Firestone, that didn’t do me any good. A few dealers will rent using a debit card, but only if you’re over 25 (which I’m not).

So, I scrapped that plan & drove the van home instead. As a side note, I guess I was still driving discombobulated because I almost got into a wreck on the way to Manhattan (nothing major, just a case of not realizing that I had no lane to merge into). & less you think that I missed a week of AN52, fear not. I took part in a cake walk (which I had never done) on Saturday & thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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