Tag Archives: 101 things in 1001 days

#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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Back!

I’m back from Thailand with lots and lots to blog about:

New quilt projects on the go.

New blind dates qued up.

Lots of follow up on 101 items I checked off my list while away, not the least being licked by an elephant!

Happy belated 2009!  Damn the uncertain times.

-e

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#78 go on ten blind dates — last blind date of 2008

And my first lavalife blind date, to boot.

Maybe there will be something lucky about 2008 rhyming with “date”?

I dunno.  But I’ll let you know how tonight goes.

S is a graphic designer who lives in my neighborhood (!!), he’s 38 or 41, I can’t remember which, divorced dad of two kids (??)… He shares my love of music and has a really nice, deep voice (we just spoke on the phone to firm up plans to meet tonight).

So we’ll see.  He says in his profile that he’s undecided about wanting kids and I know deep down that if I were to fall in love with someone, I’m definitely interested in having a child or two.

But one day at a time?  Besides, I leave for Thailand on Dec. 3oth!  So, there’s no time to get overwrought wondering what someone I’ve never met wants or does not want in his future and how that affects me.

Whew!

-e

(update to follow post-date)

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It’s happening…

I really am going to Thailand.

!!!!

I booked my flight today.  Leave December 30th, get into Bangkok on the 31st and don’t return home until January 31st.

So, so much to do in the next two weeks to get ready!

-e

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#70 walk 60 km in one weekend for the Walk To End Breast Cancer

Check!

I did it.

Not only did I do the walk on September 6 &7, 2008, along with 4700 other women, I also raised approximately $4500 for breast cancer research. My reasons for putting this on my 101 in 1001 Day list are really simple. Earlier this year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s not the first. My great-grandmother died from it, my grandmother also had it (and survived after a masectomy), and now my mom… who is now a survivor because of early detection (don’t skip those mammograms!) and radiation treatments (thank God, no chemo needed). We’re hoping this is where the family history stops (okay, I’m hoping this is where the family history stops. I don’t want to get cancer. But who does?).

I have never participated in anything like this before either, and I’ve reached a point in my life (and in my career) where I’ve started to say, What can I do to help others? I feel a little sheepish that I haven’t always had this question at the forefront of my mind. But I know I’m not alone as being someone who has been focused for many years on launching a successful career, putting a roof over my head, and otherwise getting my sh*t together. And I have volunteered here and there, in drips and drabs, and donated money to other people’s causes.

But I’ve never been one to reach out to others and say, “hey, can you donate to my cause?” Because I just don’t like asking for help. And deep down, I fear rejection and people saying, “Yeah… sorry, can’t.” It’s the same fear I have about throwing a party… what if nobody wants to come? But I still throw parties and people always show up.

So I got over my anxiety about asking for a “hand out” because I realized I’m not asking for a hand out for me. I’m saying “I’m doing this walk for cancer, please give whatever you can spare for this walk… for cancer.” And so many generous souls stepped up, many of whom told me, “I can’t walk for X reason, but my best friend/aunt/mother/sister/daughter/neighbor was diagnosed/died/beat cancer this year/last year/X years ago… so THANK YOU for doing this walk and here’s XX dollars.”

It’s a big world we live in, yet it’s a very small space we all inhabit with so many of us connected by similar experiences.

Bright-eyed with only 60 kilometres to go!

Bright-eyed with only 60 kilometres to go!

I did the walk with my best friend, N, and we were “Team BFF.” Not the most original name, albeit. Not when there were teams like “Walkers For Knockers” (my fav) or “Thanks For The Mammeries” — you know, creative spins on the whole breast theme. But all in all, “Team Breast Friends Forever” rocked the walk.

We had a good pace going the first day. Don’t get me started on the chaos and mayhem that coloured the first pit stop. Let me just say that Filene’s Basement sales days are probably more civilized than hundreds of coffee-deprived women who have only just started a two day trek vying for cut-up bagels, Sun Chips, and packs of raisins. It was a bloody mosh pit.

The atmosphere mellowed out as we logged more kilometres. People found their pace and the rest of the pit stops were much more organized and therefore, orderly.

After all the pit stops and Sun Chips, I didn’t really have an appetite for lunch. And, I was kind of hurting from not getting much sleep the night before. Note to self: next year, get a full eight hours (instead of scraping by with three!) the night before the big walk.

Showing off my (temporary) pink ribbon tattoo.

Showing off my (temporary) pink ribbon tattoo.

The first day really was the hardest. We thought we were *only* walking 30 kilometres, but no, we walked 34 km from the CNE all the way up to base camp at Downsview Park. We took a circuitous route to get there, too, and it was an amazing opportunity to see some neighborhoods in my city that I’ve never explored before. From a real estate point of view, I was quite taken with one enclave hidden in the city, Old Weston Village. It looked like it was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting and exemplified the Canadian Ideal (or American culture ideal)… it was the kind of neighborhood you’d see on a TV show like Mad Men, with perfect homes and perfect lawns, and young families where all the neighbors get along (and we saw that — all the neighbors hanging out together, partying on their decorated front lawns together as they supported the walkers with beverages, etc.).

We were so bowled over by the number of people who turned out along the route to cheer us on. I regret not taking more photos of all the well-wishers who plied us with candies, fruit, chocolate, power bars, kool-aid, lemonade, water, and even beer in their efforts to boost our energy. Those people were awesome!

Some of them went all out to decorate their homes, too. It opens one’s eyes to how many people’s lives have been touched by cancer and the fighting spirit that lives within us all.

Many of the people cheering us along the route had either done the walk in previous years, or were cancer survivors. I choked up when we past one woman around my mom’s age who held up a bristol board poster that said, “I survived because you walked.” In fact, I’m getting weepy all over again thinking about it.

The volunteer crew was amazing. I made a game for myself out of snapping photos of the motorcycles some of the traffic crew used to go from pit stop to pit stop. Here are my two favs:

Check out the faux mohawk helmet!!

Check out the faux mohawk helmet!!

By the end of the first day, I thought I was going to puke and then die. Note to self: Again! Do NOT ever walk thirty-four kilometres on four hours of sleep. Never, ever again.

When the going was tough during the last four kilometres, N and I reminded ourselves that thousands of people have had to walk for days on end — be it during the Holocaust, or fleeing war-torn countries, and none of them had pit stops with food and water, or Nike technology to cushion the soles of their feet. Thinking about that put every blister into perspective, beyond thinking about all the people who have cancer right now and would LOVE to be healthy enough to walk one kilometre.

34 km down!  Only 26 to go on Day Two!

34 km down! Only 26 to go on Day Two!

The organizers had everything set up at base camp. Food, beverages, a sea of blue tents… but the main attraction was the Massage Tent.

Yes.  That's the line up for massages.

Yes. That's the line up for massages.

I waited almost two hours for a twenty minute massage. It was worth it. My back was in spasms… not entirely because of the walk but kind of… long story. I didn’t injure myself on the walk, but I have some back issues and walking that kind of distance emphasized it.

N and I opted to sleep in our own beds instead of camping out, so we missed the floor show and big dinner and all of that jazz. I didn’t feel like I was missing out though, since I was more than happy to have a long, hot bath at home and sleep a full ten hours in my own bed before getting up at the crack of dawn to drive to base camp and start the 26 km trek back to the CNE.

In the pouring rain.

Yep. It rained all through the second day. But no matter! Team Breast Friends Forever was on FIRE! We started late, around 8 am, and were among the last wave of women to leave base camp.

Well-rested with coffee and breakfast in our tummies, we discovered a lightness in our step. Somehow we just kept cruising, passing other walkers, keeping in mind that “it’s not a race.” But the truth is, N and I are a little on the competitive side and we liked passing people… mostly because we really enjoy walking, we’re both tall and therefore have a long stride, and we HATE having to slow down because someone is taking up the sidewalk at a stroll.

There were lots of well-wishers along the route, but nearly the numbers we saw on Day One. One cute, old Italian man took advantage of the swaths of women cutting through his neighborhood and showed us his zucchini.

But hey, if I had a vegetable that was almost double my height, I’d show off too! I snapped a photo of him with one of the few men who participated in the walk.

The other thing that brightened the rainy weather were the VERY. HOT. Firemen who served us lunch.

*sigh*

I chatted one up (but I like to think he was chatting me up and I was just keeping up conversation…), but I never saw him again. Foolishly, I didn’t double back for a photo or make N take a picture of him and me together. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

N and I were on such a roll with our walk and our pace, that we didn’t feel like stopping at every pit stop for a break, and in the end we passed most of the crowd to be one of the first three hundred women to finish the walk.

Again, it was NOT a race. But it WAS cool to think we were among the last to start at the beginning of the day and were among the first to finish.

We hugged and wrapped our arms around each other when we got to the end. It was an emotional moment for both of us – a long two days of walking, but most of all … WHY we were walking and reflecting on all the people whose lives have been affected by cancer. I confess. I teared up and started to cry a little as we walked into the building and down the red carpet to the finish line. Well-wishers and women who had already finished were flanked on both sides, hands outstretched to give us all high-fives.

It was a very, very moving moment.

We picked up our commemorative t-shirts and signed the giant banner with names of every participant on the walk. Then we joined the others, wearing our blue shirts, and high-fived every other women finishing her walk.

This walk was truly one of the best experiences of my life.

-e

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#45 finish watching all the movies on AFI’s top 100 movies of all time

So many movies, so little time. This is a task I started ten years ago when the original list came out. Actually, if you could see the list of required viewing I was supposed to cram in before starting grad school…

Well, this is a piece of cake in comparison.

I want to be able to scratch off all the titles on the list because I like scratching items off a list, and probably I wouldn’t watch some of these movies without this exercise to motivate me. And I’ve found in the past, some of the best books or movies I’ve watched – the ones that have had the most impact – are the ones that were forced on me.

I made a small dent this weekend and watched Unforgiven. Can I tell you that I never considered myself a real big Western fan, but in actuality I really, really enjoy the genre. I bought the Clint Eastwood “Spaghetti Western” box set, and I’m looking forward to setting aside a weekend to dig in!

If I’m really ambitious and get this done before 1001 days is up, I’ll move onto the updated 2007 list. For now though, I’m sticking with the original. Anything crossed out, I’ve watched. I’ve seen some of the remaining films, but only snippets or so long ago that I don’t remember them well and I’ve decided they demand another viewing.

If I counted correctly, I have thirty-six out of one hundred left to watch. Guess that means I better make a point of renting something every week.

1998 List

Rank ↓ Title ↓ Year ↓
1 Citizen Kane 1941
2 Casablanca 1942
3 The Godfather 1972
4 Gone with the Wind 1939
5 Lawrence of Arabia 1962
6 The Wizard of Oz 1939
7 The Graduate 1967
8 On the Waterfront 1954
9 Schindler’s List 1993
10 Singin’ in the Rain 1952
11 It’s a Wonderful Life 1946
12 Sunset Boulevard 1950
13 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957
14 Some Like It Hot 1959
15 Star Wars 1977
16 All About Eve 1950
17 The African Queen 1951
18 Psycho 1960
19 Chinatown 1974
20 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975
21 The Grapes of Wrath 1940
22 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
23 The Maltese Falcon 1941
24 Raging Bull 1980
25 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982
26 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964
27 Bonnie and Clyde 1967
28 Apocalypse Now 1979
29 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939
30 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948
31 Annie Hall 1977
32 The Godfather Part II 1974
33 High Noon 1952
34 To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
35 It Happened One Night 1934
36 Midnight Cowboy 1969
37 The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
38 Double Indemnity 1944
39 Doctor Zhivago 1965
40 North by Northwest 1959
41 West Side Story 1961
42 Rear Window 1954
43 King Kong 1933
44 The Birth of a Nation 1915
45 A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
46 A Clockwork Orange 1971
47 Taxi Driver 1976
48 Jaws 1975
49 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937
50 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969
51 The Philadelphia Story 1940
52 From Here to Eternity 1953
53 Amadeus 1984
54 All Quiet on the Western Front 1930
55 The Sound of Music 1965
56 M*A*S*H 1970
57 The Third Man 1949
58 Fantasia 1940
59 Rebel Without a Cause 1955
60 Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
61 Vertigo 1958
62 Tootsie 1982
63 Stagecoach 1939
64 Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977
65 The Silence of the Lambs 1991
66 Network 1976
67 The Manchurian Candidate 1962
68 An American in Paris 1951
69 Shane 1953
70 The French Connection 1971
71 Forrest Gump 1994
72 Ben-Hur 1959
73 Wuthering Heights 1939
74 The Gold Rush 1925
75 Dances with Wolves 1990
76 City Lights 1931
77 American Graffiti 1973
78 Rocky 1976
79 The Deer Hunter 1978
80 The Wild Bunch 1969
81 Modern Times 1936
82 Giant 1956
83 Platoon 1986
84 Fargo 1996
85 Duck Soup 1933
86 Mutiny on the Bounty 1935
87 Frankenstein 1931
88 Easy Rider 1969
89 Patton 1970
90 The Jazz Singer 1927
91 My Fair Lady 1964
92 A Place in the Sun 1951
93 The Apartment 1960
94 Goodfellas 1990
95 Pulp Fiction 1994
96 The Searchers 1956
97 Bringing Up Baby 1938
98 Unforgiven 1992
99 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 1967
100 Yankee Doodle Dandy 194

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