#19: Learn the Thriller Dance

February 15, 2010

Date of Completion: February 2010

Ok, so who hasn’t wanted to learn the Thriller dance? Or, at the very least, wishes they could dance like Michael Jackson? Say what you will, the man was a musical genius and a choreography guru. If there is a thing higher than a guru, that would probably be more accurate.

You don’t really realize how much so, until you try to replicate it.

The catalyst for this dream finally becoming a reality was our now-annual charity throwback prom – this year with a zombie theme. Zombie + 80’s = Thriller, obviously. The plan was to amass a group to learn it and perform it but our numbers dwindled and I was determined that it was going to happen anyway, even if it was just us three off in a corner doing it ourselves. (Yes, I wanted a video for this blog. So what? ha.) We were actually able to gather enough people that sort-of knew it in order to do a full dance-floor performance – complete with cheering crowd! It was by far one of the most awesome moments of my life.

At any rate, I ended up with not one but TWO videos documenting this glorious occasion. Behold, the awesome talent and awkwardness!

(I’m the one in the back in the teal dress who keeps adjusting her hat. Headwear, not recommended.)


Afterthoughts & Other Things

January 21, 2010

So, naturally as soon as I’ve got my list done and started actually checking things off, other random things have been working their way into my head. I’ll call this the Backup List… you know, in case some of the other items (#12… #1… etc) fall through.

i. go to a casino

ii. ride a motorcycle (with a helmet, of course)

iii. learn to tie a cherry stem with my tongue

iv. participate in a tae kwondo tourney?

v. kiss someone at midnight on NYE

Something I never would have put ON my list but occurred anyway was trying escargot. Snails? Gross. But I was at this swanky client charity event and it was there and my account exec ate one and was like, “hmm, not bad” – so I figured, why the hell not? Once I got over how it looked and finally was brave enough to put (half of it) in my mouth – it wasn’t horrible. If you pretend you’re not eating snail and you’re not looking at any other pieces of it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t gag on it either, so, we’ll call it even. And now I can say I’ve done it.

Other things I’ve learned to do that I should have had the foresight to add? Learn to check my tires. How to add more air to said tires when they are low. How to check my oil. Etc. Car maintenance, baby. One of my gals from work is slowly and methodically teaching me these things, saving me lots of panicked calls to my dad, who happens to live about 100 miles away and thus can’t really do much for me over the phone.

So… I think I need to start thinking of this as a fluid, flexible project. I’m not Moses, these items aren’t etched in stone. Life changes and priorities change and some things aren’t quite as possible as they might have seemed.

The List has not been officially edited, but… I’m just saying, I am allowing room for the possibility. (Hey, it’s my project, I get to make the rules.)

Coming up  SOON! Item #19… I just need to get some video. Awww yeah. It’s gonna be awesome.


#24: Participate in a Cancer Fundraiser Walk

January 8, 2010

Date of Completion: October 2009

Cancer is a twisted, horrible disease. The fact that there are multiple forms of cancer, each specialized to target a different part of your body, is beyond-words-awful. You’d think with as technically savvy as we all are, with the inventions we’ve created (see: iPhone) – we could have at least by now come a little bit closer to curing the damn thing.

There’s no particular form of cancer that I can really say that I hate more than others. My paternal grandfather died of cancer when I was 13. I can’t remember what kind he had, but it was some sort of whole-body lymphoma, or something, I don’t know. I was only 13, I didn’t really understand these things. Only that Cancer was Bad and that my grandfather – who had surived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, WWII, triple-bipass surgery, a bad car accident, and raising seven kids – wasn’t going to be able to beat this one. I saw him the night before (of?) his death – I didn’t know what to say. I felt awkward (as all thirteen year olds do, I’m sure, anyway) faced with the imminent probability of death, and with all my aunts and my dad watching me… I meekly greeted him and sat there for a while until I had reached an appropriate time length. Being older now, I would have done things differently. I would have talked to him, told him how much he meant to me, said I love you… I did none of these things. I was a scared and uncertain tweenager and death was something I’d never had to deal with before. That, and my family was never really that emotional or expressive, so it just wasn’t something I was accustomed to. After his death, there was more hugging and more I-love-yous and less taking-for-grantedness.

As it stands, I’m probably genetically predisposed to all sorts of cancer. That, and I’m sure I’m getting radiation posioning from the microwaves and cell phones and bluetooths and all the other dangerous technology. Everything causes cancer nowadays.

Lots of causes… no cures.

I’d attempted a Relay for Life event while I was in college. It was the same night as an all-day music concertfest that I’d helped plan/run so by the time I got there, I was exhausted. I did a few laps now and then, but mostly I think I just curled up and slept in the middle of our rec center.

Someday, I’d try again.

One of the sub-companies of the company I work for (dubbed SignifyPink as a spinoff of our apparel/promotions company Signify) has started a line of breast cancer fundraising and awareness gear called “Fight Like a Girl” – and I loved it from the first day I saw it. It’s sassy and it instantly solidifies all the females who see it. We all know what it’s for. It started when a hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, was testing their new mammography equipment on one of their employees. And they found breast cancer. They approached our company to produce a line of Fight Like a Girl shirts to sell to raise money for this woman… once they reached $20K, she said that that was all she needed – but she wanted us to continue with the shirts and help out other women. To date, I don’t even know how many women and hospitals we’ve  helped out with this program. (If you’re interested in purchasing any of our awesomesauce Fight Like a Girl swag, go here).

Which is a roundabout way of saying that, when they emailed our entire company to see if anyone wanted to be on the Fight Like a Girl team for the Des Moines Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, I immediately knew that that was something I wanted to do.

And, lest you make any assumptions, no, I do not run. I jog, at best, and even then, for short spurts and at a really pathetic pace. But I could walk.

And walk, we did.

Crawling out of bed before it was even light out (and I am NOT a morning person, but it’s a small sacrifice to make), we carpooled to the capitol city of Iowa where we met up with a record-breaking turnout crowd, got some freebies, and set off.

It had been rather chilly up to that point (a tropical heatwave compared to the January temps we are currently experiencing, ouch), but it was a beautiful fall day, and we completed our 5K with hundreds of thousands of other cancer-fighters. I’ve never done a 5K before, and towards the end, it was a little harder than I assumed it would be, but we did it! And I’m so proud of us.

I only hope that it can help.


#17: Visit a Haunted House

October 31, 2009

Date of Completion: October 2009

Yeah…. I don’t have any pictures for this one. You know why? Because they ALL DISAPPEARED. But we’ll get to that.

This item was really only on my list because two of my friends talked me into it. And I put it on the list so I wouldn’t (couldn’t) chicken out, and I had to do it. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then October rolled around, and what with Halloween being everpresent throughout the month, that’s when all the creepy freaky stuff goes down. So, Molly got us a hookup with a tour of haunted houses PLUS a tour of what is like the most haunted house in Des Moines (maybe Iowa? I don’t really know.) I tried to back out, sorta, and was met with resistance. Turns out her and my friend Maria are both super paranormal nuts so they were way excited and provided me with all sorts of supplemental information. Mostly I just stayed creeped out. 

The walking tour was fun, the guide was this adorable electic lady who actually lives in said haunted house, and she kept us entertained with stories and anecdotes and all in all it was more interesting than scary. Then we arrive back at the house and apparently we’d paid for a tour OF the house, so we all went on inside. It was a gorgeous house, but it was obviously pitch black out, and she had most of the lights off, so that made it a bit eerie. Before she let us disperse to wander the house at our leisure, she told us about all of the confirmed resident ghosties that lived (“lived”) there. She also flipped on some infrared lights up in the attic because that’s apparently where they gravitate when there’s a lot of commotion in the house. So I guess ghosties get scared too. I dunno.

We wandered the house, tried to hang out in the attic for a while, Molly tried to coax the ghosts into showing up in a picture or two to no avail, although at one point we went back downstairs and some other tourists (for lack of a better word) said they saw one of the orbs hanging out next to me. So… that was weird.

We did, however, have a sort-of “experience” – we were in the basement and we were standing around talking and just on our way to head back upstairs when a toy keyboard played a short note sequence. To which we all went “whaaaa…?” and turned around to look at it, but of course it just sat there, like inanimate objects do. We went upstairs and were telling some of the other people about it and we thought we heard it again… so a few more people came back downstairs with us and we waited and waited and then, lo! it played the same sequence, but this time lit up. I poked at a few buttons after that to see if it was a pre-programmed jingle that might have gotten bumped (even though there was no one around it and it really wasn’t that fancy of a keyboard to be able to rig up to randomly play stuff, but I’m no tech genius, so who knows.) 

Then we went and got pizza, and Molly and Maria sat and discussed the various ghost-hunting shows and our piano serenade and were trying to rationalize it and then decided it probably had to be legit. I just ate my pizza, because I know nothing of ghosties and was just rather proud of myself that I went and didn’t freak out.

Then we went home, and like I always do after an evening out, looked at all the pics on my camera before going to bed. There was nothing exceptional about the tour or the house, but I did take a picture in front of the “ghost tours!” sign for this very purpose, and we had some cute ones of us at the pizza place. Molly and Maria wanted to scour the other pics at full size, “just in case” there was something there, so I promised I’d get them all uploaded the next day.

Which is what I intended to do.

But when I stuck my memory card in my card reader the next day, they weren’t there. Absolutely NO pictures from that evening. Confused, I pulled the card out and put it in my camera, cause I knew I had JUST LOOKED AT THEM the night before. Nope, not there. The pictures ended with the dog-walking pictures from the previous Saturday. So I put the card back in the reader, and nothing. It’s not like I accidentally erased my card, because there were exactly 349 other pictures still hanging out on there. Everything from that Friday was gone. Erased. From the parallel parking picture I took before we left (I think I mentioned in that post that I had to keep trying to re-take it until I got a good pic to use), to the tour, to the house, to the pizza place… all gone. JUST THAT DAY. Wiped out.

Now, I’m not saying I believe in this sort of thing, but it kind of weirded me the hell out. And I was sad. Because I am very possessive of my pictures and that’s what I do: I take lots of pictures. So I alternated between being sad, annoyed, and creeped out. I have no explanation for it and I don’t have any pictures. I do know that now I put my pictures on my computer as SOON as I get home, so my camera doesn’t eat them overnight, but, perhaps the ghosties were just camera-shy and didn’t want to be sorta-seen. If my blog stops working after this, we’ll know why.



Bonus Item: Jump in a Pile of Leaves

October 27, 2009

Date of Completion: October 2009

Ok, this totally wasn’t on my list, but it probably should have been. It was completely spontaneous and awesome. I recommend everyone do it when/if you get the chance.

I went up to visit my dad this past weekend and as I was driving up the street, he was raking up all the leaves in his yard. Which, if you’re familiar with Iowa, is a bitchton right this time of year. He had two giant piles and a third little one that he was in the process of burning. (One of the awesome smells of fall, by the way). I immediately knew I had to dive into one of the piles. As soon as I got out of my car, I made a mad dash and flopped into it. It has been YEARS AND YEARS since I’ve done that. But damn, I have not seen such a jump-worthy pile of leaves in probably my whole life. It was just begging for it. 

He was still making fun of me as we went inside for dinner, and his girlfriend, sad that she missed it, decided that I needed to re-enact it so she could document it. Because we are picture people in my family, we are. Being the attention whore I can be, I figured, why not? It took a few takes since that camera isn’t built for action shots, but we finally got a few that were deemed satisfactory, so I even have pictures to document. : )




#29: Parallel Park

October 23, 2009

Date of Completion: October 2009

You know what’s unfortunate about street parking? Inevitably, you’ll have to parallel park. Unless you want to park blocks away and just walk the extra distance to save yourself the trauma and embarrassment.

Which is what I have always done.

I have parallel parked before. I was in Driver’s Ed. Which means it was a freaking long time ago. Once with cones, once with real cards, and I’d had my fill. But I’ve never done it without supervision. Or since I’ve had my actual license. I outright refused to do it. Parallel parking = scary.

Well it just so happens with my new residence that I have to park on the street. Usually there’s plenty of space and it’s not a problem. 

One night, however, one very fateful night, I came home, and someone down the street was having a gathering. The only parking space left on the street was between two cars across the street from my house. I was feeling brave. And didn’t want to have to find a different street to park on. And it seemed like a fairly spacious gap. I lined myself up with the front car and went for it. Fortunately, I’d been riding with my brother-in-law a couple of weeks prior, and he’d parallel parked into the same space, and I’d been observing him closely, mostly out of curiosity.

And, my dear bloglings, it was beautiful. It was a textbook parking job. I slid into the spot gracefully, evened my car out, squealed in excitement, and got out of my car to admire my feat. PERFECT spacing between all three cars. I refrained from doing a dance right there in the street (people were starting to come out of the party, after all), but I ran inside and texted a whole bunch of people and announced it in ALL CAPS on Twitter. The only bad thing was that it was, naturally, dark, and so I couldn’t take a picture.

I felt like I was in possession of a new superpower. I was unstoppable. I was unafraid to park anywhere. I did it a few more times, of course when it was too dark to take a picture, and it was awesome. I found myself actually kinda sorta maybe wanting to “have” to do it. But, see, I couldn’t count it yet. I needed photo documentation. Which I did actually  manage to get, but that’s a whole separate entry as to why I don’t have that one anymore.

The picture you see below, however, I would like to say – it was probably the most impressive feat ever. I didn’t have a wide open space between the two cars like the first time. It was exactly the right size, and that was it. No room for error. The odds of hitting either of the cars beside me were much higher (to be fair, one was my sister’s, and other than the fact that she was in the car with me, probably wouldn’t have been an epic tragedy). It took lots of maneuvering, a re-start, and lots of tiny backs & forths… and lo! It was magical. It was also dark, again.

But, the next morning, both cars were still there so I could finally take the damn picture that I’d been wanting. PROOF!




#11: Find a Little Black Dress

October 17, 2009

Date of Completion: October 2009

To be fair, this item was listed as “find the perfect little black dress.” However, my friends, until I accomplish #12, this ain’t gonna happen. There aren’t a whole lot of sexy little black dresses when you’re not little. Still, I did find something resembling that ubiquitous LBD, and it totally counts until I lose some weight and find something better. I’ve also already worn it twice, so it’s totally lived up to its expectations.

It also came with a scarf, which is somewhat trendy right now. I think that makes me trendy by default, yes?