Saturday, July 31, 2010

delicious days of summer!

22. Spend more time outdoors.

It's really easy to work on #22 when we have days like today.  The weather could not have been more perfect!  

When I first added this goal to my list the first thing I thought was, "ugh, my boss would not approve."  Not because she isn't in favor of spending time outdoors---she definitely is---because from a QI standpoint, it's a terrible goal.  When you work in the field of surveys, evaluations and outcomes, metrics are very important.  The question becomes, what the heck qualifies as "more?"  I thought it over and over, my work brain influencing my non-work brain...

Spend an average of 50% more time outdoors.
Significantly increase my outdoor time by a minimum of 8 hours per week.
Complete a minimum of 10 outdoor activities per calendar month.

And then I remembered...this is a personal project, not a work one.  I can say whatever I want! MUAHAHAHA!

So I kept it basic...and it's been pretty easy so far, since I started this project in the summer.  Sadie and I frequently takes walks to the playground during the week after dinner, and many weekend mornings are spent splashing around in her pool.  I usually make it a goal of spending one day per weekend doing as many outdoor activities as possible.

Last weekend Brian, Sadira's dad, was in town from Ohio.  We decided to take a trip to the beach for the day, since he'll still be in school when Sadie and I go on our vacation in a few weeks.  We spent the ENTIRE DAY outdoors (when we weren't driving in the car).  This is the first year that Sadie really loved  and enjoyed the beach, and I cannot wait to take her back in a few short weeks!

Today when we woke up I remembered we were out of milk.  So we walked to the store and picked some up.  Normally in this situation I would've just hopped in the car, even though the store is just a block away, because we needed to come back and eat breakfast..but not today.  Why rush?  We may be a little hungrier when we come back, but so what?  Life is not a race.  I've changed my priorities a bit, it's something that I'll write more about in a future blog post...still testing it out, but for now, it's working.  And I'm enjoying the simplicities of the ordinary days so much more.

The minute I stepped outside I knew it was going to be a perfect weather day.  We leisurely strolled to the store to buy our milk, then swung by the post office to drop a few things off.  It's one of the advantages of living in the much in a short radius, you don't need to always race around in the car.  We took the long way home and circled around the neighborhood past the park and stopped to say hi to a few of the neighborhood doggies we know (and their owners, of course).

Came home and after breakfast, Sadie decided today would be a pool day.  So back outside we went.  And we stayed there until naptime.  It was delightful.  After nap, we went to the playground.  Practically the entire neighborhood was there, it was great.  Sadie made friends, I made friends...and the best part is, I have no idea how long we were there because I purposely didn't take my cellphone and I don't wear a watch.  We'd come home by the time the streetlights were on---that was the old neighborhood rule when I was a kid.

We accomplished so much today, yet we didn't get in our car once.  I love that.

Tomorrow we have plans of heading out to Ravens' training camp in the morning, and friends over for more swimming in the late afternoon.  I'm trying to savor these weekend summer days before we're back in the rigor of the work week and school schedule.

Tomorrow I'm also announcing some MAJOR news concerning my Over the Edge fundraiser...I'm so so excited about it, and still CANNOT BELIEVE that we have raised $1,515.00 for Gaudenzia's Women and Children's Center!!!!!!!!  I can't even imagine what the final amount is going to be in September, and I encourage everyone to spread the word!! And if you're interested in rappelling with me---there's still plenty of time and room!  For more information just go to:

Read More

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

for my manda

3. Write a letter to a friend every week for one year.

Amanda and I, circa 1986.

Amanda and I met in Kindergarten.  I don't remember how, and I don't remember when, I just always remember being friends with her.  We went to a small Catholic school, and it went from K-8th grade, so our little group was together for many years.  I remember when we all split up and went to separate schools it was exciting but borderline traumatizing for me to be separated from all the kids I grew up with.  I had to venture outside of my bubble.

My great-grandma was a funny sassy lady, and so is Amanda's grandmother.  They became friends waiting for us in the mornings when we'd get out of Kindergarten.  My great-grandma passed away while I was in college, but Amanda's is still with us and as feisty as ever.  The last time I saw her, Sadira and I were visiting and she said to me about Sadie, "Don't you think Louise would've just loved her?"  It meant a lot to me that even after all these years Mrs. Virginia still remembers my great-grandma.  But that's how we all were back then.

Once high school hit, Amanda and I lost touch.  We didn't all have cell phones, and email, and Facebook back then to keep ourselves infinitely attached to one another.  I moved, and she moved, and there was just no way to track one another down. 

Years passed.

And then one day out of curiosity I search her info on Myspace (remember that website?) and there she was!  I knew it was her right away and shot her an email.  The next week we got together for dinner.  A few months later she asked me to be in her wedding, and a few months after that I asked her to be my daughter's Godmother.

Amanda and her husband Chris are expecting right now and due in January.  I couldn't be more excited for them!!  However, they also just got some recent crappy news from Amanda's employer---well, now EX-employer.  It's been a rough couple of days for her, and she's been on my mind, so today's blog seemed appropriate and well timed.

My letter to my Manda.

"I know I’ve said it before, but I just want to let you know how incredibly GRATEFUL I am that we found each other again.  I really can’t imagine my life without your friendship in it, and even through all those years that we had lost touch, I wondered what you were up to and knew that somehow we’d run into each other again.  It’s such a blessing to be able to say that you have been life-long friends with someone, and it’s even more amazing to say that we’ve known one another for 25 years!!  You know me the best, because you’ve known me the longest.

The thing I love the most about our friendship is that no matter how much time has gone by we can always pick up right where we left off. Years went by, and we were able to get each other caught up on our lives in just one dinner conversation.  That’s a sign of true friendship, to me.  I was so honored when you asked me to be in your wedding, because I knew that you felt the same way about our friendship as I did---once a friend, always a friend.

You have such a wonderful family that I’ve always felt a part of, so it seemed the obvious choice to ask you to be Sadira’s godmother when that time came around.  The love and generosity that you and your family showered me with during my whole pregnancy and then after she was born was incredible.  It’s awesome how family really extends between friends. 

Sometimes we think exactly alike, and other times we couldn’t be more opposite!  But deep down, we have the same values, the same loves, the same fears---because we were raised alongside one another.  I’m so very excited about your pregnancy, because I think it will be such an amazing thing to see our children interact with one another.  Sadira LOVES babies these days, and I think by the time January comes she will be a seasoned professional and totally ready and willing to teach Baby Gaga just about everything there is to know.  If Rusty is any indication of your ability to parent, I know your baby will be extremely loved….and maybe just a tad spoiled?? ;) You and Chris are going to be amazing parents. 

I’m so glad that we were able to find one another in time to experience these milestones in life together."

 Manda and me on her wedding day! 5/19/07
Read More

Thursday, July 22, 2010


So it's been 6 days since I announced that I would be going Over the Edge for Gaudenzia in September, and I have seriously been blown out of the water by the amount of support I (and therefore Gaudenzia!) has received.  I mean, I know I have some pretty kick ass family and friends but this really took it to a whole nother level...

$1,105.00 for Gaudenzia.  $1,105.00 in six days.  A-MAZ-ING!!!


You all helped me to not only SMASH my first goal (to raise the $500 needed to rappel) but also helped me OBLITERATE my second goal (to raise $1K) and it happened in less than a week.  Truly amazing.  I'm going to be saying, "thank you" for a long time to come.

Some you have asked about who in my family we lost to substance abuse.  I'm sure I'll blog more about it in the future, but the inspiration for me is my Aunt Gabby who we lost in 1995.  I can tell you firsthand that she did not come from a family who did not love her immensely and did not do everything in their power to support her and help her get well.  Oftentimes there is a stigma that addicts must have come from horrible families...their parents must've been junkies who passed the habit on to them.  They must've not had the proper upbringing or resources available to them to be successful in life.  While this may be some people's stories, it is not the rule.  Sometimes people suffering from addiction have the MOST loyal and supportive families.  The scary part of addiction is that often addicts are so fueled by their addiction that they are will do anything--even if it means hurting the people that love them the most--to get what they think they "need."

I am about 99.9999% positive that my grandparents will be considered for canonization for sainthood.  I mean, honestly, I know there is nothing they wouldn't do for anyone in their family, as I've often been the recipient of their good deeds.  But I know that they did everything in their power to help their youngest daughter fight her battle with addiction for quite awhile.  Unfortunately for Gabby she was dealt a crappy hand.

After Sadira was born, I asked my mom what in the world she did that instilled the FEAR OF GOD in me not to "experiment" with drugs as a teenager and young adult.  Because whatever she did, I wanted to replicate it with Sadira!  She answered that she tried to keep the dialogue open and honest, and to help get me involved in as many extra curricular activities as I showed interest in--to help me to learn positive ways to feel good about myself as a teenager, instead of destructive ones.  But at the end of the day, she had to just hope I had gotten the message.  I mean, OF COURSE, I had access, I grew up in Baltimore City for crying out loud, not to mention I always knew people who did drugs or sold drugs...but I just never caught on.

Maybe it was watching my grandmother bury her baby that did it.
Maybe it was thinking about my sweet grandfather having to go out early one rainy May morning to identify his daughter's body.
Maybe it's the thought that my mom, now an only child, has the full responsibility of caring for her parents as they grow older, without the benefit of her sibling to help.
Maybe it's the cousins I'll never have and the Aunt/Godmother that is only in my memories.

The bottom line, is you never know.  You never know if you can be someone who can "experiment" and walk away...or if you're someone who gets hooked and slowly watches their life slip out of their control.

Scares the shit outta me, I'm not gonna lie.

Obviously I chose to take on this "Over the Edge" challenge to help cross something off my list---to conquer a fear.  A big fear!! Climbing down the side of a building is something I NEVER thought I'd do voluntarily.  But the affects of substance abuse for an addict's family scare me even more, and I never thought I'd be a part of a family that lost someone in such a way.  No family should have to go through that.  Even the crappy ones.  No family should have to stand by and watch their loved one deteriorate.  Every addict was someone's precious little baby at some point. 

Unfortunately not all addicts have the benefit of health insurance or money on their side.  Gaudenzia's Women and Children's Unit will directly benefit from our fundraising efforts.  They do a better job describing themselves, so I'll just cut and paste:

"Gaudenzia has identified a need for safe and affordable permanent housing for mothers who successfully complete addiction treatment. The Women and Children’s Center is the solution to this need and will offer addiction treatment, permanent housing and daycare under one roof. This new facility promotes self-sufficiency and familial stability, encouraging home-ownership and long-term recovery for women, while also providing substance abuse prevention services for their children."

I know that the $1,105.00 that we've raised so far will help change someone's life, and help their family.  It's amazing what we've been able to raise in just a short amount of time, and I have 55 more days to increase that number!!  Every day (okay, maybe several times a day, I admit) I check my fundraising page to see if there have been more donations.  I think my co-workers are slowly getting used to the shrieks of delight that come from my section of the office when I see the total going up.  I'm continually amazed by the support I've received (both verbally and monetarily) to achieve this goal.  It reminds me of the following quote that used to be painted on the wall at my college:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Thank you for helping me to change someone else's world.

PS - The picture up top of Sadira and I was taken on Mother's Day this year.  It seemed appropriate since we are raising funds to support other Moms and kids.
Read More

Friday, July 16, 2010


1. Conquer a fear.

See that building?  That's Silo Point.  It's a beautiful luxury condominium building in Baltimore City.  I know it's beautiful because I get to drive past it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY on my way to and from work.  Every day I get to see this beautiful building.  And on days when I'm really lucky, there is traffic going through the tunnel.  So I get to sit on 95.  With Silo Point sitting next to me.  Just sitting there in all of its 23 stories of magnificence.

Why do I have this new obsession with Silo Point?

Because today I confirmed that in less than two months I'm going to be rappelling down the side of this building.

I've never rappelled off anything in my life.  I've never sky-dived, never bungee jumped, never never never.  Gravity is not something that I mess around with.  Seriously. 

Last year when my friend Rene (the fundraising mastermind behind all of this) first told me of this event, I thought to myself, "crazy people do stuff like that."  I never in a million years even CONSIDERED doing it.  But when I created this 30 Before 30 list and challenged myself to conquer a fear, I really wanted to do something good.  Sure, I could've riden a scary crazy roller coaster but I wanted something BIGGER. 

So here we are.  In just 61 days I'm going to be bound by ropes walking down 23 stories.  TWENTY THREE STORIES.  That's 310 feet high.  The 22nd tallest building in Baltimore City.

23 stories.

Deep breaths.

The purpose of this insane event is to raise money for Gaudenzia's Women and Children's Center.  Gaudenzia is an addiction treatment and recovery services non-profit organization.  They offer a variety of services in the Maryland/Pennsylvania area.  This is their website:  I've worked in the behavorial health field for almost 7 years now, and I also lost my Aunt Gabby (Sadira Gabrielle's namesake) 15 years ago to substance abuse.  For lots of reasons, organizations like Gaudenzia are near and dear to my heart.

I also need to raise a minimum of $500 to rappel.  My personal goal is to break $1000.  My mom (who is awesome) helped kick start my fundraising efforts with a $250 donation. (THANKS MOM!!!!!!)  She then followed it up by saying, "I cannot believe you are nutty enough to do this."  She's got a lot of faith in me. :)

If you can donate $20, $10, even $5 please do and help me reach my goal for this very worthwhile cause.  I really hate asking for money, but when it comes to helping moms kick their addictions and learn to live sober lives with their children?  Well, that's a cause I can ask for.

My personal fundraising website is: and you can contribute directly on the page.  All donations are also tax deductible!!
Read More

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


There's been a great deal of progress in the Mirjafary household recently toward completing My 30 Before 30....a brief update, if you will...

3. Write a letter to a friend every week for one year.

Letters have been sent weekly and once received I will post to whom I wrote and why.  I've started calling these "love letters to my friends" because that's what they've become!  Sadie asked me what I was doing the other day and I said, "oh Mama's just writing some love notes to her friends..."  To which she replied, "I love my friends MORE, Mama."  Ahh, to live a with a competitive 2 year old.

5.  Make a once a month donation to an organization that could use it.

This month's lucky organization was the St. Vincent de Paul Society, here in Baltimore.  Per their website, "The Mobile Clothing Bank distributes clothing, blankets and personal care items to homeless people at various shelters and other programs in Baltimore City and County, Maryland."  In a household of two girls, such as ours, there is NEVER a shortage of clothing.  In the Baltimore City rowhome CLOSETS of two girls, such as ours, there IS a shortage of space.  So saving clothes forever and ever Amen is just not practical.  I was able to pull together 3 large trash bags full of clothes that we will never miss and unload them to folks who need them a lot more than we do.  And now, for a moment, I have a shred of closet space again.

9. Complete my Masters program.

As of this week I have officially completed 1/2 of my summer semester.  Which means only 6 more weeks of summer semester.  Which means when that's over I have only one class left.  Which is Marketing and Strategy Management in the Global Marketplace.  Which really could be Writing Papers about Purple Fish while Pondering the Discourse of Kangaroos for all I care at this point.  Which means after this more semester.  Upon which I will be Nasrene M. Mirjafary, MS, MBA. Which makes me very, very happy.

13.  Actually do that damn 30 day shred for 30 days straight.

I started this this morning.  Today = Day 1.  Which means I need to make it to August 11th.  30 days of Jillian Michaels yelling at me every morning for 30 minutes for 30 days straight.  I know some of you may think that's easy peasy...but 1: I am NOT a morning person, yet morning is the only logical time for me to do this every day and 2: 30 days is longer than you think! Without a break!  But it's on the list, so I have to give a try...and if I skip a day, my count of 30 days straight starts over.  That just may be the best motivation yet...

15. Stop biting my nails.

For the record, I know nail biting is a filthy, disgusting, ridiculous habit. I know. I took microbiology, I know how gross and germy fingers are. And guess what? It never phased me. But I'm proud to say that I haven't bitten my nails since my 29th birthday!  I've come close, and I honestly thought this would be the toughest task to accomplish because I bite my nails so mindlessly--I just don't even realize I'm doing it--not to mention they are attached to my body, so it's not like I can just avoid them.  But nevertheless, I'm coming up on three weeks of no nail biting (HUGE for me) and I think it's time I get treated to a real manicure.  The trick I've found (for all you nailbiters out there) is to file them and buff them EVERY SINGLE DAY.  For some reason I'm less likely to bite my nails if I took the extra effort to shine 'em up a bit. 

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

I'm about midway through To Kill a Mockingbird.  Yes, it's awesome, and I can't get over how much Scout reminds me of another little moxy-filled girl that I know and love.  If I weren't so preoccupied working on #9 I probably would've finished it by now, but that's okay, I'm enjoying it immensely.  I honestly can't even remember having read parts of this book in high school.  I may have just been so busy that I breezed through it, I'm not certain, but I do know I'm very happy it made it's way onto my reading list this year.  Next up is The Great Gatsby!!!!!! (A huge favorite of mine!!!)

20.  Get Sadira 100% potty trained.

I'd say we're about 75% there.  For your own well-being, internet, I'll save you the details. :)

21.  Teach Sadira to read.

My little linguist is successfully sounding out short words.  She can read almost all of the names of the colors...sounding out the letters B-L-U-E and then putting them together to read "blue" and so forth.  She actually ENJOYS this kind of stuff, and will bring me a book and ask me to read with her.  She blows my mind on a daily basis.  I'm not really sure how or where she learns everything she learns, but she's a bit a of a know it all. Last week at dinner I thought Tassie's head was going to spin off when Sadira started telling us, "N is for nest...and nail....and noodle...and B is for boy...and bat...and boobies...and bug....and S IS FOR SADIRA!!"

Yes, you read right..."B is for boobies."  Either my toddler is reading alphabet books written by frat boys, OR she's really understanding the sounds that letters make.  And THAT is pretty amazing to me. :)

23. Do not use a credit card for an entire year.

So far so good! This is actually probably the easiest for me to accomplish because I haven't been using credit cards at all for about 6 months.  I did almost use it once this weekend because the Papa Johns' lady kept keying in my debit card info incorrectly over the phone, but eventually she got it right.  Ya know, after scaring me out of my mind and telling me that three separate cards of mine had declined.  "Are you sure you're typing it in correctly?  Or maybe your machine is broken?" "Nah lady, your card's just declined. "
10 frantic minutes later after checking all of my accounts online, I decide either she wasn't typing the numbers in correctly or the machine was broken.  GRRRR..

Either way, we're another month closer to being debt free!

Oh and as for: 1. Conquer a fear....

It's coming along.  More information to come, so stay tuned.  But every day I drive past Silo Point on my way to work and when I come home...and there it stands...taunting me with all of its 23 stories....

Read More

Sunday, July 11, 2010


12. Do the Fells Point Ghost Walking tour.

So last night I managed to convince my neighbor Tassie to go on the Fells Point Ghost Walking PUB tour with me. I figured this would be a bit more fun than just the original walking tour, as alcohol tends to make everything more interesting. Being a relatively new resident of Baltimore I thought she'd be a great choice to come along. Fortunately it didn't take too much convincing since I was able to promise history, ghosts and beer.

Me trying to look "spooky."

Ever since I heard about this tour several years ago I wanted to do it and thought it would be fun, but worried that it would be too touristy. While in London years back I did the Jack the Ripper walking tour and loved hearing some ghost tales in my own backyard sounded even more enticing--and it was. We had about 20 or so folks in our group, and about two-thirds were tourists. The rest claimed to be Baltimore residents. Tassie says it was about a 50/50 split or tourists to Baltimorons, but she didn't even identify herself either way, so we'll take my estimate over hers.

The tour started at 7pm and lasted about 3 hours. Our fearless leader, Cliff, (pictured above) started off explaining the difference between spirits and ghosts...spirits, he explained, are people who have passed on into "whatever comes next." They may come back to watch over us or guide us, but they are aware they are no longer of this earth and mean us no harm. Ghosts, on the other hand, are "stuck" between the physical world and the afterlife. In most cases, they were people who met their demise in a violent or tragic manner...they continue to repeat the same routine they did while alive because they are unable to pass on. They don't realize that they are no longer alive. They continue to go through their normal paces....and sometimes we
"encounter" them...MUAHAHAHAHA!

Cliff took us through 4 popular Fells Point pubs--the Whistling Oyster, Duda's, The Horse You Came in On, and the Wharf Rat. I've been to all of these pubs at some point or another in the past 8 years of my life, but never did I know of the fantastic tales that Cliff spun. Stories of haunted fireplaces, polka mysteriously playing on jukeboxes, wine glasses falling of their glass racks for no reason, knives flying out of a kitchen, and old pub owners (who were no longer alive) appearing to new barstaff and patrons. In some cases, the current pub owners and barstaff nodded along with Cliff, confirming his stories and adding their own experiences with the ghosts.

During each stop we had plenty of time to sit down, have a beer or a quick snack, and pick Cliff's brain. In addition to being the host with the most in the Fells Point Ghost Walking Tour, he is also a history professor at a local community college. He may even be a mall Santa during the holidays, I don't know for sure, but the man was pretty amazing and lots of fun.

My favorite story on the walk was actually about my favorite pub in Fells Point---the Horse You Came in On. I learned that it is, in fact, the oldest saloon in Baltimore, serving its guests since 1775. It's the only bar in Maryland to exist before, during and after prohibition (scandalous!) and it's the 7th oldest pub in the United States---though they claim to be the oldest continually operated pub in the U.S.

The best part? Edgar Allan Poe himself used to frequent this pub, and it is said that it was at this very pub that Poe staggered out and collapsed in the street before later dying at a nearby hospital. A sign inside the Horse (and on their website) boasts: "Our Most Famous Patron: Edgar Allan Poe, Jan 19, 1809 - Oct 7, 1849." Fan-freakin-tastic!

In between pubs Cliff would continue to showcase his vast knowledge of all things Fells Point. He walked us down Shakespeare street to show us the Fell Family Cemetery where founder William Fell is actually buried. I've walked past this street many times and never knew it was there! He also explained the history of Bethel Street, which was once the heart of the red-light district in Baltimore. After the use of red lights was banned in the city, the ladies found other ways to "advertise" their business and hung their petticoats on clotheslines between the narrow streets---yielding the nickname Petticoat Way.

It seems Baltimore's always been prone to our current "red light district" on Baltimore Street is referred to as "the Block."

We learned why Thames Street is pronounced "Tames" instead of the correct English pronunciation of "Tems." Apparently the aristocracy back in the day voted to pronounce it as "Tames" as their own little middle finger to the British.

For reasons I will not go into in this post, Tassie like this part best. :)

When the tour was over Cliff thanked us kindly and we all offered up tips and drinks for him. He certainly earned it, if for no other reason, for surviving a three hour walk in layers and layers of HOT black clothing (including gloves and walking stick!) in the sticky July Baltimore heat. Tassie and I grabbed some crab dip and hushpuppies (and more beers, of course) and then hung out in Fells Point for the rest of the evening. Overall a great time was had by all.

I definitely learned more about my little city with this 30 Before 30. I'll always be a hometown girl, but I tend to stay away from the "touristy" features my city has to offer. I learned how very fun it can be to be a tourist in your own city once in awhile. Go out and learn about where you live. You'll be glad you did.
Read More

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

fear....a preview...

1. Conquer a fear

(For the record, Sadira is apparently afraid of crystal clear water on the Hawaiian beaches. That picture above was taken last year. She was screaming, "Mommy, help me! Help me! I scared! HEEEELP!"
Seriously, Sadie? REALLY?)

A few weeks ago I was home and saw a huge spider in my bathroom. Long, spindly legs, beady little eyes (okay, I'm being dramatic) but the thing was HUGE. And I am PETRIFIED of spiders. Legitimately petrified. I don't care that I'm larger than the spider, the thing terrifies me. I can't even take a paper towel and squish a spider, because that involves GETTING TOO CLOSE. Ew! Being the adult in the household over the past few year I've come up with several creative ways for killing spiders depending on their size, or location in my house. These methods include:

  1. Spraying it with a household cleaner and poisoning it to death (Formula 409 is my cleaner of choice---it's just toxic enough).

  2. Throwing something at it, to knock it down and then dropping a large, heavy book on it (Sorry Riverside Shakespeare :( ).

  3. Vacuuming it up with the Dyson (but make sure to empty the vacuum out asap---don't want to give the vermin a second chance to sneak out...)

  4. Cry and call a neighbor to help you (Thanks Rene...).

So when I saw this arachnoid invader, I immediately started going down the list of killing methods, to determine how I was going to get rid of this one...Luckily he was on my bathroom ceiling over the shower. One quick swipe with a fly swatter sent him into the tub, where I swiftly turned on the water and sent him to a watery death.

Death by drowning. Nasrene 1, Spider 0. :)

My heart was still racing from the adrenaline of killing him and I instantly thought--yes! I just conquered a fear!! I killed a spider without crying! I did it! :)

But then I realized that crossing off #1 from my list just 'cause I killed a spider was kind of lame. I mean, that's not really anything to be proud of. I know there are people who can kill spiders without even blinking, and they would think I was totally lame for actually being PROUD of myself....



So I gots to thinking. I got to thinking about my fears. Yes, I'm scared of spiders, but I'm also scared of throwing up. I'm scared of something horrible happening to any of my family members. I'm scared of drowning. But these are not fears I really want to conquer---there's not really a way to conquer them, I just accept the fear, hope it never happens, and move on.

So I thought some more.

I'm scared of heights.

To clarify I'm not scared of heights in that I cannot go to the top of tall buildings, or I won't go in airplanes, or roller coasters...I'm scared of heights if there is a threat of falling...if there is a chance I could fall to my death. I've been to the top of many a tall building, heck I've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower on three separate occasions, and yes, while it was intimidating, I wasn't SCARED. Because I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I was safe. I wasn't going to fall off.

I will never be brave enough to go skydiving. I wish I could, but I know myself well enough to know it would never happen. I'd have a heart attack and die before I got to the ground. Even watching videos of others sky diving makes my heart race and my palms sweaty. I just have a natural SURVIVAL instinct that is so strong it prohibits me from seeing the adventure/fun side of skydiving and constantly tells me that hurling oneself out of a plane at several thousand feet up is NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Can't do it.

Bungee jumping? Ehhh..the biologist in me just thinks about the anatomy and physiology side of it. It's not so much the fear of falling (which I still have fear of), but the thought of the recoil as the bungee hurls you back up to the sky that turns me off. That can't be good for the spinal column, right?

So I started thinking about an event my friend is organizing. She launched this event last year and was extremely successful. I got to be a spectator during the planning stages and media events, and I know how hard she worked. I also know that it's for a very very very good cause, and a great organization. This event, however, involves rappelling 23 stories down the side of building in Baltimore. Sounds like a ball of fun, huh? Yikes.

This is it:

I talked to Rene about this event and she said the scariest part, isn't necessarily the heights (totally scary), it's the fact that you have to give up control and lean back and trust the ropes to hold you (oh fantastic, that sounds so much better). She didn't even mention the part where you have CLIMB OVER THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING AND WALK DOWN IT.

But nevertheless, it seems appropriate. Participating in this event will cross #1 off my list, will help raise money for a worthy organization and give everyone a good laugh as I cry like a baby and cling to the side of Silo Point.

My tummy hurts just thinking about it...

Read More

Thursday, July 1, 2010

for my sister

3. Write a letter to a friend every week for one year.

Week One.

A few excerpts from a letter to my sister, Neda.

I want you to know how incredibly proud I am of the person you’ve become, and are still growing to be. I know you often say that you’ve learned so much from me, but I really think that’s sometimes just due to virtue of me being born first. You have taught me so much over the years as well. There is a quote that I heard once, and I loved, so I wrote it on a sticky note and it’s stuck to my computer. It says, “don’t be better by comparison, be outstanding because it the right thing to do.” I don’t know if you know it, but you do this all this time. It’s something that I try to do more, and you do so effortlessly. When you do something, you do your best, because YOU want to do your best, not because you just want to get something done. You are working so hard at school, and I know it. I love that you are such a great Auntie, and so involved in Sadira’s life, because I want her to have amazing role models in her life, like you, to look up to.

I admire that you make good choices not because you’re afraid of getting in trouble with your Mom or Dad, but because you know it’s the right thing to do. Your character and integrity make you the strong person that you are. I love that in the face of adversity you stand behind what you believe, even if you know others will disagree with you. I know that growing up for you wasn’t always a walk in the park, but you’ve always handled the challenges that came your way with grace and maturity. I love the quote, “You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. I think we both can relate.

There are so many things that I want for you in the future. I want to you to realize the success of all of your hard work. I want to you to one day take a job because it’s what you love to do, not necessarily because it pays the most. I want you to experience both happiness and sorrow, because sorrow makes you appreciate happiness so much more. I want you to be able to experience any amazing opportunity that comes your way, without having to worry about how to pay for it, or if you can take off work or miss school. I want you to never be afraid that what you have to say will fall on deaf ears; and even if it does, say it anyway. I hope that you find your passion---and realize that a passion doesn’t necessarily have to correlate to a career, it can be a hobby, or a role you play within your family. I hope that you can make decisions about your future based on what you WANT to do, not based on what you HAVE to do.
You’re the best gift Dad ever gave me!
Read More

© 2011 My 30 Project, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena