Tuesday, June 29, 2010

summer reading

I share with you, my nightstand...as it is right now, photo taken about half an hour ago.

Here we have the following:
  • My alarm clock
  • Lamp
  • Jewelry
  • Hair tie
  • A few candles
  • Stress relief pillow spray, part of an AWESOME birthday gift (thanks Alyson!)
  • A mini Eiffel Tower
  • My red Buddha
  • My latest summer reading :)
So Sadira and I were in Barnes & Noble this weekend picking up some last minute gifts for a baby shower we threw for two awesome friends on Sunday, and as I walked past the "Summer Reading" table, something very cool happened. I swear to you---this book jumped out at me. There were many other books on the table, several of which were favorites of mine, but this one said, "Buy me!" Kind of funny, since usually only shoes speak to me in such a way, but it happened. And I instantly thought of #18 on my list. Even more funny that I'm about 99% positive that I have an old copy of this book downstairs in my library, and I HARDLY EVER buy things unnecessarily these days. But I didn't think twice. Scooped it up and into the purchase pile it went.

18. Read or re-read 5 of "the classics."

Even more interestingly, I think this book is saving my life. Ha! While that sounds dramatic, I can really attest that reading a chapter or two each night before bed instead of zoning out in front of the TV is fantastic. I used to do this all the time when I was younger, but at some point in time replaced it with a nasty late night TV habit. I usually can never justify reading something that's not for school or work, so I'm really glad I added this to my list, so I have a REASON for reading. Reading before bed has greatly increased my quality of life. Especially when work is insane (a co-worker is resigning and I'm essentially taking over a good chunk of her work) and the school semester is in full swing. Oh, and not to mention I'm going to Connecticut this weekend and have guests in town next weekend.

Life is busy, but very very full.

I'll quit my rambling. I'm very excited to be revisiting this old tale, To Kill A Mockingbird (and I KNOW the title should be underlined, I just don't have the option to underline text, so there!) It's probably been 15 years since I last read Harper Lee's classic, but I can admit that it's much more of a page turner now at 29 than it was the last time I read it. Interesting what a decade and a half can do for perspective!

I'm about 5 chapters in. I'll let you know when I'm finished and "what I've learned." :) I also know one little Southern peach friend of mine who will be very excited about my numero uno book choice!

PS - I'm open to suggestions for the other 4 books I should add to my reading list!!!
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Friday, June 25, 2010

organized spontaneity

I used to be a very spontaneous person. I used to get crazy ideas in my head and decide to do them, on a whim, just ‘cause. One time in college a friend and I decided to get out of the dorms and drive for a bit. We were in our PJs and had no real plan of where we were going. We just needed to get off campus and I was the one with a car. So we started driving. But I was getting tired of stopping for red lights, and decided it would be easier to drive on the highway. So we hopped on 95 and headed north, with no intention of going anywhere specific. We were busy chatting, laughing, singing along to the radio, and next thing we knew we were driving through Philly. I looked at my friend and asked her if she was tired (it was around 1am) she said no and we kept going. I drove all the way to NYC. Got into Times Square around 3:30 in the morning, just long enough to hop out of the car and take a picture of ourselves in Times Square in our PJs with a disposable camera she had found in my glove box. Got back in the car and drove home. Had just enough time for a quick shower and breakfast before my 8am class.

I used to love the freedom of being able to do these things…No day but today, right? You only live once, right? We’re making memories, right? But unfortunately my life now does not allow for these types of spontaneous adventures. Even going out to dinner with a friend has to be planned in advance, so I can organize childcare, make sure I don’t have an early meeting the next day, or get all of my homework finished. My life now doesn’t allow for sleeping in the next day, or catching a quick nap in between classes to make up for the wild night I’d had the night before. Because there is a little girl who needs tending to, who will be talking my ear off and ready to play even if I’m not.

When I look at where I am now compared to where I was 5 years ago…it’s an amazing difference. Not that the 24 year old Nasrene was less responsible than the 29 year old Nasrene…and certainly not that I consider myself any less fun-loving and spontaneous than I was then. I just have to plan in advance now.

So when I review my list of 30 things I’d like to accomplish, I have to resist the urge to say, “I’m going to drive up to NY NOW and walk the Brooklyn Bridge! That would be GREAT!” Because I can’t do that now. I have work today, followed by an appointment, and I need to go to the grocery store tonight. Sadira also has a playdate tomorrow and I’m throwing a baby shower for two great friends on Sunday. So, no, walking the Brooklyn Bridge NOW is not a very good idea. Plus it’s about 110 degrees, so I think I’ll save that one for the fall.

On Sunday (Father’s Day) Brian had to head back to Ohio after spending two weeks with us here in Baltimore. I knew Sadira would be sad that her Daddy had to go back for a bit, so I wanted to do something special for her. He left in the morning, and after she woke from her nap I said:

“Hey, Sades…do you want to go see something cool today?” Her eyes got huge and she said, “Yeah! What Mommy?”
“I can’t tell you, it’s a surprise.”
Her eyes almost bugging out of her head, she whispered, “It’s a little bit secret?” (I absolutely love when she says this…nothing’s ever just a “secret” it always has to be “a little bit secret.” Just one of her Sadira-isms.)
“Yup, it’s a little bit secret, let’s get ready.”

So we hopped in the car, drove downtown and bought tickets to the 5pm show of Storytime Live. We saw Kai-lan, the Backyardigans, the Wonder Pets, and every toddler girls’ favorite Spanish explorer, Dora herself.

By the time Dora came out, I was pretty sure Sadira's head was going to explode, or she would start hyperventilating like a pre-teen at a Justin Bieber concert.

The entire ride home she kept saying, “THANK YOU Mommy, for taking me to see Kai-lan and the Backyardigans and the Wonder Pets and Dora the EXPLORER! THANK YOU!” There was lots of excited chatter from her that day. And anyone who knows Sadira will attest that kid never stops talking.

 Loving life at Storytime Live!

Organized Spontaneity is how I roll these days. It’s how I will approach completing the tasks on my 30 Before 30 list. I’ll resist the urge to do them all in the next month—even though I’d love to—for the more reasonable idea of planning them out so I can enjoy them to the fullest.

I loved that I was able to do something wonderful and spontaneous for her. And I hope that she will grow up to be someone who lives spontaneously also. And while it certainly was not a spontaneous midnight roundtrip to NYC with a bestie….it was a spontaneous trip to meet a few of her heroes with my mini-bestie.

PS – while this trip to Storytime Live could be used to cross off #24, I’m not counting it complete…yet. I have something even more amazing for her up my sleeve!
PPS – This week’s letter to a friend is written and in the mail…more to come later on who I chose to mail to first, and what I chose to write.
PPPS - That photo up at the top is Sadira in Times Square in January 2010. Almost exactly 10 years after her Mommy and a college buddy took a photo in the same spot in their PJs. :)
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"the list"

I have to disclaim that this was 100% NOT an original idea. I stole it (with permission, of course) from my dear friend, Shannon, who probably stole it from someone else, but who is also chock full of good ideas and really really good at making me want to be a better person. Hear that Shan?! You're INSPIRING! And with that in mind, in addition to today being the day after my 29th birthday and the eve of the day BEFORE hers, it seems appropriate to unleash "the list."

So here we are. My "30 Before 30." This is not a bucket list, because that's a little too lofty. My methodology behind the list was simple: Things I want to do, things I need to do, and things that will help out humanity in some capacity. Cause ya know, we all can spread the love a little bit. Here goes....

1. Conquer a fear.
2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge.
3. Write a letter to a friend every week for one year.
4. Drive the PCH and make good on my promise to the Cali girls.
5. Make a once a month donation to an organization that could use it.
6. Plant a tree on Earth Day.
7. Learn to play the drums.
8. Go camping. Suck it up and do it.
9. Complete my Masters program.
10. Sacrifice a weekend away for a good cause.
11. Take Sadira to Assateague to see the wild ponies.
12. Do the Fells Point Ghost Walking tour.
13. Actually do that damn 30 day shred for 30 days straight.
14. Go to the top of the Washington Monument---both of them (DC and Baltimore).
15. Stop biting my nails.
16. Lose the last little bit of the baby weight - if I can even still call it that, haha!
17. See Lady Gaga perform.
18. Read or re-read 5 of "the classics."
19. Do the Rocky Run in Philadelphia.
20. Get Sadira 100% potty trained.
21. Teach Sadira to read.
22. Spend more time outdoors.
23. Do not use a credit card at all for the entire year.
24. Surprise Sadira with something amazing.
25. Visit a fortune teller.
26. Get a brave and unexpected new haircut (or color).
27. Do something kind for myself, that I would normally never do.
28. See the Ravens play an away game.
29. Kick a field goal on an NFL field.
30. Inspire someone else to complete their 30 before 30.

Oh, and this isn't technically "Before 30" so I'll add it separately...but I'd like to take part in Solstice in the Square next year on my 30th bday.

So there ya go. It's gonna be a busy year, I think....
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