Tag Archives: 101 in 1001 days

I’m Blonde

The last year has been a full one. I finally moved into my long-awaited condo. I fell in love and enjoyed a fun (nay, blissful) six months until my heart was broken. My finances have seen some lows (the worse in years). I met some amazing people on my latest work contract. I believe some of them are angels parading as humans. I started therapy to address my wounded heart and help put everything right.

I also dyed my hair blonde and realized it’s been a long time since I checked in on my 101 list.

My 1001 Days may be over or at least rapidly coming to a close but I’m going to see what’s on my list, what can be done and how I’ve changed since I started this little ol’ experiment.

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#8 watch the sun rise in three different countries

I’m NOT a morning person.  Not by nature, so I don’t know why I was kidding myself about this.  I decided to make the executive decision (it is my list afterall) and interpret “sunrise” to also mean “sunset” if I so chose.  And choose I did.

While I was on my Grand Thailand Trip, I also visited Cambodia, Dubai, and London.  Certainly there were times when I was up at the crack of dawn but not functioning at optimal photo-taking capacity.

So instead, I snapped photos of sunsets.

Sunset at Koh Mok Thailand

Watching the sun set at the beach on Koh Mok, Thailand

Watching the sun set at Angkor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia

Watching the sun set at Angkor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia

Setting sun in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The setting sun in the desert outside of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

So why was this on my 101 in 1001 Days List?

Just ’cause I thought it would be good for me to expand my horizons.  I was right.  It was.  Travelling is an amazing tonic for my soul.  The trip was amazing and I really learned so much about myself.

I practiced living in the moment.  Making a point to capture the sun setting was a part of it.   And living in the moment has continued to enrich my life so much and in so many ways that words fail.

-e

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#15. wash and pet an elephant (preferably in Thailand or Africa)

I did it!

I pet an elephant AND I was kinda washed by him too.

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It was a pretty amazing experience!  This was at the Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand.  Just moments before this photo was snapped, I was snuggled close to my elephant friend and felt something warm and soft on my bent arm right at the elbow.  I looked down and saw that my arm was being engulfed by his adorable toothless mouth.  As you can see, both me and the elephant had a good smile about the whole incident.

So why was #15 on my list in the first place?  The short story is that I’ve had a thing for elephants as long as I can remember.  Probably since I saw parts of Disney’s Dumbo.  And you know something?  I’ve never seen the whole movie.  There’s one part in the movie that I couldn’t bare to watch as a kid and I haven’t steeled myself to go back to it.    When my mom and stepdad took me to Disney World when I was a kid, I got the stuffed Dumbo, not Mickey Mouse like most everyone else.

I don’t know.  I’m just a softie when it comes to elephants and always have been.  They are a pretty amazing creature with an amazing social structure and tribe mentality.  The way they care for each other and the gentleness of their souls… it breaks my heart to think of how we humans are destroying their habitats across the world.  We can learn so much from them too, especially the rogue elephants who have been orphaned, form gangs and go around terrorizing villages simply because they do not have ADULT elephants to guide them and provide a strong community.

When I was in high school I first started learning about the elephant’s amazing way of cultivating community and that’s when I was also first introduced to Richard Leckie’s work in Africa and his strides to save the African elephant.  I remember at the time passionately telling my high school sweetheart how much I wanted to go to Africa to see the elephants and work with them.

Well, life happens and sometimes we shelve certain dreams.  My destiny was not to go to Africa to work with elephants (though I wouldn’t ever shy away from the opportunity).  But when it came to making this list, I knew that I wanted to make good on what I told my high school boyfriend so many years ago — I wanted to have an upclose, personal experience with an elephant and somehow contribute positively to their welfare.  My desire to do that informed my decision to go to Thailand…  And the rest as they say is history.

I am so glad I followed through on this wish.  I have no words to articulate how much good it did for my soul.

-e

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#78 blind date #5 of ten update

It looked promising.  At least on paper and in our email exchanges through Lavalife, the online dating site.

Who: S, a Lavalife online dating match

Occupation: Freelance graphic designer and part-time college teacher

Attraction factor: He looked cute in his pictures, slightly boyish and not really the type I go for but I thought I should shake things up.  Plus, he’s artistic and has excellent taste in music.  Through the course of emailing, I learned we went to the same concert a few months ago and sat only rows away from each other in the same section.  Aha!  It must be the fates conspiring, no?  To make things sweeter, he also lives in my neighborhood!  This is actually a big, BIG bonus considering I have a knack/propensity/misfortune for clicking with guys who live in different countries (not good especially considering my low tolerance for long-distance relationships… been there, done that).  

What we did:  On S’s suggestion, we met at a bar in the hood where a good local band was playing.  We sat at a window table near the door so we could hear each other.  At first I was a bit nervous ’cause this was my fifth blind date in so many months – and I’ve only just started documenting them.  They do start to feel a bit… old hat.  That is, you develop your intro schtick and unfortunately I tend to talk a lot about myself at first.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s just nerves.  It’s as if I feel like I have to perform some kind of stand-up routine.

But it was fine.  That is, we broke the ice and ended up discussing a gamut of things — music, bands, what he did for a living, what I do for a living, my travels, and his extensive travels during his twenties.  We even discovered a few common links.  The most eyebrow-raising is that a very good friend of mine teaches S’ two kids (girl 8, boy 11) to play piano.  Definitely a “whoa small world” moment, especially considering we live in a city of over four million, not in a town of four thousand.

Before we knew it, it was last call.  We’d talked a blue streak from 8pm to 1am.

We left the bar and started walking home, in the same direction.  When we got to his intersection, S asked me if I wanted to come over to his place for tea.  I was tired and still don’t know what possessed me, but I said, “okay, sure” which I like to think is not my normal behavior.

But I believed him when he said “just tea and continue our conversation” and something in me wanted to keep talking.  So we trudged through the snow and enjoyed the magic of the quiet snowy streets and houses decked out with twinkling Christmas lights.

Back at his place  – a very nicely kept semi-detached, we had tea and sat on his couch, talking and listening to music.  He lives with his kids part-time and it looked like a family  home, but in a nice way.  We continued discussing our travels and it was all very proper.  No need to worry about any unwanted passes, etc.

At four in the morning, I called it a night and S walked me home.  When we got to my door, we both agreed we had a lovely time and I – sigh and hangs head in shame – probably sounded a little over eager.  I asked if he wanted to get together again before I leave for Thailand.*   He begged off saying he would have his kids post Christmas and it would be hard to carve out that time.

* This is ironic because I woke up the next morning with the completely opposite feeling.  More on that further down.

On the plus side:   S was very easy to talk to.  I really enjoyed being able to enjoy music with someone else.

On the minus side: Oh boy.  Well, you knew there was a big minus coming didn’t you.

S peppered all of his conversation with references to “we” and “our”.  Initially, I wanted to think he was referring to his kids, but as the “we’ing” continued into territory that didn’t make sense to include kids, I decided to clarify things.  As diplomatically as I could, I asked if he was still living with his wife because of the “we” and “our” references, and because it sounded like they were… um, still living together.  That’s when he said he was separated (I assumed they were divorced), then later I found out that she “left the marriage.”

Because I’m tired, I’m just going to sum it up as this date was “We Versus Me”.  I got the very distinct impression that S is not ready to date, but I don’t think he even knows it.  At the end of our date, I discovered I was the first person he’s met from Lavalife, and online dating as a whole.  

Chances I’ll see him again:  Slim to none.  I’m sure now that I know who he is, I’ll probably bump into him all the time in my ‘hood, and I know I’ll be pleasant enough with him.  I genuinely liked his company, but as for romance… I’m going to take a big pass.  The “we/our/separated/”she left the marriage” are BIG red flags that S isn’t in the same emotional space as me.  I’m ready to date, I’m ready to be part of a “we”, he still hasn’t gotten past the fact that he’s NO LONGER in a “we.”  Big difference between the two.  Also, and this is so much less significant… he doesn’t make a lot of money, and he already has two kids, AND he’s undecided about having more kids.  If he was gung-ho about kids, was in a headspace to START a relationship, etc, then I wouldn’t be so turned off about the money.  I guess the money isn’t a turn off either way.  If he had lots of money, I would still give him a miss because of the “we vs. me” thing.  

Of course, I can’t help being a little angry with myself because when I said good-bye I gushed about the good time I had, etc. And the guy probably thinks I’m desperate.  Whereas, I feel the complete opposite.  Yes, I did have a good time and when I said good-bye I was caught up in the moment of having had a decent date, but I was bothered by all the veiled references to his ex and he’s really NOT someone I want to date again.  I hate that I wasn’t more truthful in the moment and I hate that I didn’t just call him all the ex-talk point blank.  Why did I play the goof/chump so I could spare his feelings?  I don’t want to do that anymore.

Lesson learned:  Don’t spend seven hours talking.  I don’t know why I didn’t just go home after the bar.  The “we/our” thing was already bugging me and there is such a thing as “leave ’em wanting more.”   I also learned that I do not want to date a man who is NOT divorced.  Separated is still married in my books and I do not date married men.  But I don’t know if I would have learned how important this is to me if I hadn’t gone on the date.  To clarify, separated men whose wives left the marriage in search of something (most likely, someone) new and better are still vulnerable to that spouse coming back and then turning to the other person, saying “Yeah, sorry, but for the sake of my kids, I need to give the marriage a second chance… you understand, don’t you…?”  Because my God, it’s the marriage.   

Sure, I could be making a huge assumption about S.  But it doesn’t matter.  There wasn’t much spark in the kiss, I didn’t find myself very attracted to him, and … why settle?  I mean, really, why settle at this point in my life?   Hell, my period is late and I could be peri-menopausal for all I know… so why settle?

I’m not sure there is a man out there for me.  It makes me sad, but whaddamIgonnado?  Go to Thailand, that’s what.  Go to Thailand and do what I can to improve the relationship I have with myself and hope the chips will fall in a way so I can find some contentment.

After all, being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee happiness.

-e

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#74 make a toast or speech in public

DONE!

One of my best friends was married yesterday and I was her Maid of Honor. As such, she asked me to make a toast during the reception.

I won’t share the nitty gritty, but let’s just say I spazed out over this big time. I fretted and worried about what to say and hitting the right note. I did not want to be that guest, the one we’ve all seen in action who delivers a cringe-inducing speech that leaves the bride and groom mortified and the other guests shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a worrier when it comes to these things that I try to over-prepare (actually, I still under-prepared for this one, leaving it until Friday to turn my mind to it. Work’s been extremely busy, so… ). I try to do everything that is going to make my darkest moment of anxiety easier, and speaking to a crowd of one hundred plus people is definitely an anxiety-induer for me. Add to that, that many of the guests work in my industry so I’m gonna see them again and some of them I’ll be hitting up for jobs, and generally want to show myself well to them.

Anyway, my worry translated into a pretty damn and flawless speech from all accounts (seriously, several guests came up to me and said so, it’s not a case of my trumpeting my own horn). I hid my nerves behind a sentimental joke off the top, lead into words about the couple that lead into my finish with a quote from Marianne Williamson, “Love is giving without remembering and receiving without forgetting.”

So onwards and upwards to the next challenge on my list!

(Which might be a new number altogether involving getting my money back for the trip to Thailand I book last monday before angry protesters locked down Bangkok’s international airport. Sigh.)

-e

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#78 blind date #2 epilogue

Ah love. Sweet, sweet elusive love. In a city of over two million people, four million if you count the surrounding area, it seems impossible to find that one lasting connection.

Who: D, an It’s Just Lunch match.

Occupation: Executive producer for a variety of television shows.

Attraction factor: The IJL women described D as very well-traveled, successful in his field (which happens to be my field), said he was interested in a variety of sports, cooking, and sat on a couple of charity boards. They said he had dark eyes, dark hair and I knew immediately from their detailed description that I already knew D from various industry functions. So, I have to confess to having misgivings before the date even began. If there was an ounce of attraction, I would have felt it already.

What we did: Per the usual IJL set up, D and I met for drinks at a bar in the city’s financial district. Reservations were arranged through IJL and I picked this spot because I was bored with the other go-to restuarant on their list.

I regretted that decision when I was fighting my way through traffic and hunting for a parking garage. I arrived fifteen minutes late with profuse apologies about my tardiness and bad form. D agreed it was bad form for me to be late.

Sigh.

We launched into conversation that I hoped would take the edge off my wrong-footed entrance. We chatted about how we’ve bumped into each other a few times at various events. He warmed up… and then started talking about how the IJL women have set him up with three writers. Well. Two wannabe writers, and me. I ordered a glass of viognier and he had another cranberry soda while telling me about his last date with a naturopathic doctor who is part of a writing team who *gasp* didn’t know well enough to take his advice. Apparently she is an aspiring writer who has had luck on her side and optioned a screenplay with her writing partner, but their agent represents actors and what she really needs is a literary agent which he told her… and blah blah blah blah blah…

My eyes glazed over.

The best way I can sum up this date is to say I showed up fifteen minutes late and paid for it by listening to D talk about himself for the next two and a half hours. I waited for him to ask me a question about myself, you know… to indicate the mildest interest or good manners. Questions were not forthcoming. It was all about him and once in a while I would interject my own stuff to make it seem like we were kinda sorta having a conversation.

Our dated ended with me grabbing the bill and insisting on paying to make up for my late arrival. D smiled, thought it was a nice gesture and accepted.

On the plus side: The date was only two and a half hours long. Fortunately we wrapped up by eight-thirty, so my night wasn’t completely ruined. I still had time to grab some take out, go home and watch a movie. Oh and I suppose the other plus is that we work in the same business so we were able to talk shop — albeit only talk about D’s experiences — and keep that industry connection alive.

I do love a juicy story and D told me one particularly horrific experience about working with a director, who I know through a mutual acquaintance. This director is a certified psychopath. No exaggeration. He is the biggest con artist, compulsive liar, charmer… in short, a psychopath. It was obvious that D went through the wringer with the director and will be shaking his head over the experience for years to come.

On the minus side: Where do I start? Aside from D’s looks, I found his attitude so off-putting. If his arrogance was to make up for insecurity, I don’t care.

D monopolized the conversation, talked about himself the whole time and lost me on two notable moments. The first when he was telling me about the doctor and how she should have realized what a golden opportunity it was to meet him, a man who could offer amazing advice with so much influence. *insert eye roll*

The other instance was when I asked him what he had been up to… He seemed baffled that I didn’t automatically know and with incredulity said, “Oh, I assumed you knew because my name is synonymous with XXX TV company.” I smiled and shrugged, telling him I work in drama… a totally different world (read: if you were a serious player, I would have heard of your company). The guy may have produced over two hundred episodes of TV in the last two years, which is a formidable amount of work, but it’s all been cable TV that no one watches.

Chances I’ll see him again: He gave me his business card, but outside of bumping into each other at future industry events, I have NO plans to see this man again – unless it’s for a business meeting. D is pleasant enough, and if this was a business meeting I could excuse him talking about himself at length. But for a date? No. I have zero interest in him romantically.

I realize I’m being over-critical and harsh with my assessment of D. I just didn’t like the guy romantically and, probably more importantly, I didn’t like that he didn’t respond to me with romantic interest.

Lesson learned: On a business note I learned that I will never work with one particular director based on D’s stories and the other things I know about him. D’s stories also brought home (again) the importance of thoroughly vetting anyone whom you’re going to allow control over a million dollar project.

On a person note, I don’t need to foot the bill to make up for being late. Like they say, sh*t happens. I thought it showed good form on my part, but maybe I emasculated D? In the end I don’t really care. I learned that my ego is firmly intact and I expect a date to want to know something about me just as I want to know something about him.

Am I wrong in thinking a conversation is supposed to be two-ways? Not just one person supporting what the other person is saying? I learned I am not cut out to play the “supporting” role to some guy’s “leading man”. No, no, no. Call me a diva, but in my life, I am the leading lady. I also decided I’m going to tell the IJL people to NOT set me up with men who work in my industry. It turns into a shop-talk date and if I wanted a business meeting, I’d schedule one on my own.

What I’d like is to meet a gentleman who sparks good conversation on a variety of subjects, shows an interest in who I am, what my opinions are and likewise, inspires me to lean across the table to ask him the same.

I’m sure there’s a man out there like that. Whether he’s one of the two million souls living in my city is up for hot debate.

-e

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#78 blind date #2 of ten update #2

The IJL women called me this week to reschedule my blind date with “D”.  He’s back in town and raring to meet up.

I am 100% positive I know him already and that our paths have crossed countless times over the last eight years.  I work in a small industry and there’s only one D fitting his description… 

I’ll find out if I’m right tomorrow night.  6:30pm drinks down in the business district.

What to wear, what to wear?  I’m thinking of the black dress I have on in my “About” photo… but I dunno. Too dressy?  I’m just not in the mood for jeans.  Even if I do dress them up.

Expect an update post-date.

-e

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