1. 31 days of December ’11…

The idea behind this blog project can be found here: 31 days of December ’11

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DAY 1 – HAVE NO SODA OF ANY KIND

Today, my challenge to myself was to drink no soda of any kind.

This is incredibly easy for me with the exception of one thing.

Diet Coke.

Diet Coke has been and still to some degree is an addiction of mine and I seriously sometimes wonder if quitting it is similar to quitting crack. I’ll never forget when I was about sixteen or so and I’d hear people order it and I’d wonder about it. My family drank soda but never diet so I hardly knew it existed. But then I tried it, more so just because others seem to, and I was hooked. Right out of the gate. And I’ve been drinking the stuff since…

But lately, I’ve been trying to ween myself off it. I’ve gotten down to about one a day so I must admit, I’ve had some preparation for this particular challenge but nonetheless, it’s an important one. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been that hard, well, that is until a few hours ago…

After my Italian class, I stopped at the drug store and CVS was having a sale you don’t often come across – 2 liters of diet coke for .88! It was like the Gods thought, “yeah, you think this is easy? Well, how about this?” Of course I bought some at this price and brought it home where I put it in my fridge and haven’t touched it since. It’s taken some will power, though, especially when I was eating dinner. But I haven’t touched it and I have no plans to. Well, until tomorrow… But this got me thinking. It should be no big deal to not drink Diet Coke regularly and while a cold Diet Coke over ice sounds flippin fantastic right now, it feels better not having it.

DAY 2 – MEDITATE FOR THIRTY MINUTES STRAIGHT

Wow, this was a doozy. Not easy at all for me, as I am someone who has a brain that does not like to shut off. At all. Ever. Under no circumstances, unless it’s forced.

But I’ll start at the beginning…

First, after reading what my outside the box challenge was today, I realized I wasn’t really sure what meditate meant so I looked it up online and deduced that it means to sit still, preferably in the lotus position, and breath, focusing only on that. It could also be done with a mantra of some sort. Sure, this was a very basic understanding but for a first timer, I thought it was more than enough to go on.

Then, I proceeded to procrastinate from doing it. I worked, did laundry, recycled, went to the bank, worked some more, and so on until I finally decided, okay Christina, it’s time, you’re going to do this…

And finally, I did. I sat upright on a wicker chair, got into the lotus position after setting my cell phone alarm for thirty minutes, and tried to give this meditation thing a try.

I was determined to just breath and focus only on that but within seconds, I was thinking of my films, friends, Diet Coke, my computer, you name it and I probably thought about it. So the breathing-only thing wasn’t working as great as I would have liked. Then, I tried the mantra of “Breathing is good.” Yeah, it may be, but my brain still went wild and I got bored repeating the same line over and over again. I kept forcing myself to keep trying though and I did, over and over, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate, not to mention, my legs started to fall asleep. So I stretched and tried desperately to keep from looking at my phone but I cracked (and I’m putting a dollar in the jar for it*.) It had been twenty minutes though and I was thrilled, thinking okay, this isn’t so bad. I only had ten minutes to go…

There’s this awesome scene in a Sopranos episode in which one of the characters leaves his mob life because he was scared for his life after the fact he was gay was found out (among other things I believe) and so he had gone to do construction somewhere in Connecticut or something like that. He was working one morning and his VO kept telling us how long he thought it had been and how it was probably almost lunch and he just had to keep going till then but when he looked at his watch, it was like nine thirty in the morning. Time barely moved for him.

Yeah, that’s how these last ten minutes kinda felt.

I must admit, while I am intrigued by meditation and would love to get my brain to relax a bit, the first time was not that enjoyable and all I kept thinking about was the numerous other things I could be doing with my time.

Now, I’m not going to give up on meditation all together, and may even try it again (albeit in a smaller dose) but it definitely got me thinking about how important breathing is and how fast my thoughts move…

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 3 – CALL SOMEONE WHOM I HAVEN’T SPOKEN TO IN OVER A YEAR

Vanessa.

A sweet, kind, funny, beautiful girl I knew very well in college. We were quite close actually. We lived together for three years total and she was a good friend to me. I, however, could have been a much better friend to her. But I allowed external influences, small differences and my own insecurity and lack of caring to come between us and eventually, I lost her.

I haven’t spoken to Vanessa, or V as I had called her all those years we knew each other, in probably about four years or so. She had emailed me a while back and asked me to be in her wedding, after not having spoken to each other in several years and so, I declined, feeling that it would have been phony to do so. In hindsight though, it might have been a good way for me to make up all my wrongdoing but it’s too late to change that now.

It’s not too late, however, to reconnect and tell her I’m sorry for some things and try to be her friend again. So, she was the one I called today. I have a number for her still but I got that voicemail message that’s a stand phone thing, “you’ve reached 310…, please leave a message after the tone.” I left a message and I hope it’s still her number and that she chooses to call me back. Fingers crossed.

To be continued…

DAY 4 – WATCH A MOVIE RECOMMENDED BY SOMEONE WITH DIFFERENT TASTE THAN MY OWN

Years ago, I met a comedian Ed Galvez (you can check out his work on his website www.edgalvez.net) while waiting tables. Though we are quite different from each other, I’ve gotten to know him and really appreciate the friendship I’ve formed with him. So, when I was faced with the choice of whom to ask to recommend me a film, my thoughts immediately went to Ed because he and I have recognized our differences but managed to form a friendship anyway, and I really dig that… not to mention he is very well-informed on movies and talking with him about movies is always enjoyable, whether we’ve seen the same one’s or not. He got me into the tv shows, “Louie” and “Arrested Development”, which I will forever be grateful for…

So, his first recommendation was a film that is on my list of films to watch, “Happiness”, so after a very brief discussion, we decided it was best for him to recommend something he liked that would truly take me out of my comfort box. He recommended “The House of the Devil”, a film I had never heard of. I looked it up and found it available for rent on Amazon.com and so, began my challenge for today by watching it. I’ll admit I wasn’t that thrilled to do so, as horror and devil driven films aren’t necessarily my favorite but hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if they were, so it’s a good recommend on his part.

I watched “The House of the Devil” and was intrigued. Granted, it’s not the best film but as Ed said, it makes you think and in this case, it makes you think about Satan cults and Satan worshipers. Whether or not we like it, they exist and to be honest, I found that premise quite intriguing.

Overall, it was cool to watch a film that I probably would never have watched, let alone even hear about, had it not been for my friend recommending it to me when I asked him. It’s fun. I think I’m going to do this more often…

DAY 5 – BE A VEGAN FOR THE DAY

Let me start off by saying I’m a carnivore, in the true sense of the word. I eat meat, I love meat, I believe in the food chain. It’s nature people. Animals kill other animals to survive. We are not the only ones to do it, we just happen to be the smartest and most able…

Now, I respect all those who choose not to eat meat. More power to you. But today was difficult for me. I had to turn down chicken wings and pizza, two of my favorite things to eat, and I believe they were purposely presented to me today by the Gods above to make me really realize what being a vegan is all about.

I ate pretzels, vegetable soup and a rice bowl with tofu and veggies today. Wow. Really exciting.

Look, no excuse, but I’m Sicilian. We enjoy food and I was raised with the idea that food includes things that come from animals. I’m glad I gave this a try but I am not a vegan or a vegetarian for that matter. I’d like to eat a little healthier, but in reality, I don’t eat all that unhealthy. However…

If I was told my life would be shortened if I continue to eat animal products, well, to be honest, I’d have to consider how much shorter if it meant giving up cheese…

DAY 6 – NO FACEBOOK AT ALL TODAY

Yeah… easier said then done.

First of all, in my defense, this couldn’t have been a worse day to try this. With the exception of one of my films getting into a festival, I couldn’t imagine wanting to use this social networking system to announce important news more so than today.

My new nephew was born today and I desperately wanted to introduce him to all my friends. Sure, a mass email could get the job done and yes, I sent many more text messages today than I normally would have, but I really could have used a platform like Facebook to spread the news.

And so… I did. And in goes money into the jar*. Actually, six dollars went in today. Hah! But before you write me off as having no self-control over Facebook, allow me to explain…

The first three were completely by accident. I have the Facebook app on my phone and I pressed it out of habit three times today! Really, two of those were unintentional in that I didn’t even realize I was doing it. But then, as I was waiting endlessly today for my nephew to be born, there were these girls in the waiting room also waiting and they were talking about Facebook and I just gave in. But after checking it for seriously less than a minute, I felt guilty and stopped… Then, however, my nephew was born and well, I just had to post a picture of him.  I mean, come on. But this was followed by people commenting and then, I accidentally went on again when my phone announced a comment, which brings my total to six times, and six bucks in the jar.

This was a hard one today, no doubt, but I do wonder if it would have been so hard on a day where nothing major happened. I mean, no matter how you look at it, this Facebook is an awesome tool to put information out to all those whom you know. I’m one of those Facebookers who doesn’t have five hundred friends. I turn down friend invites from people I don’t know or people I barely know or people I don’t want to know. I’m very selective so the friends I have are those whom I want to be able to know about my life and who I want to be able to know about theirs.

That said, I also realized today how much I enjoy the connection Facebook offers. Whether it’s IM’ing friends, or keeping up with my guy, Ron Paul, or simply looking for a funny video to watch while I take a break from work, Facebook offers that to me. I’m not afraid to admit it. I like Facebook. But that said, I like the Facebook I’ve tailored to fit my needs and I would miss it if I couldn’t use it anymore. I fully realize that after today.

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 7 – DO NOT SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be..

Now, I’m a pretty positive person, sometimes to the point that others may get annoyed with me, but I caught myself saying some negative things today that weren’t necessary. In fact, another four bucks went into the jar*. (At this rate, I’ll be buying these tots cars rather than toys…)

But I liked this challenge because it led me to think about negativity as a whole and what role I want it to play in my life. Have you ever heard about the idea (and I’m not quite sure who to attribute it to) that without darkness, there would be no light? Well, in this case, without negativity, there would be no positivity. So we have to have both to draw a distinction between the two but that said, the important thing is what we do about it…

Do we bitch and moan about the negative or try to realize the positive?

I want to do the latter. I believe in positive energy circling and in turn, I also believe negative energy comes back to you…

This one is going to stay with me. When I find myself being negative, I want to be more conscious of it, and this consciousness will lead me to figure out what exactly I’m feeling negative about. If it’s something I can change, well… I will!

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 8 – SPEND NO MONEY

Love this one. Something I need to implement more, actually. I’m not the best with money, as I like to spend it, but today, I realized that it’s wise to think about why you are spending money and then really think about if it’s necessary. Granted, I don’t have millions of dollars at my disposal, though I do plan to one day, but even so, wasting money or spending it frivolously is just not very smart.

Sorry this one is short but bottom line and lesson learned…

Think before you spend. That said, realize what is worth your money and what isn’t.

DAY 9 – DO NOT DRIVE A CAR

Difficult but doable.

I like the idea of not driving a car every day. Besides the emissions that cars give out, it’s nice not to use gas and at the same time, exercise by walking.

Yesterday, my challenge was not to spend money so I didn’t buy anything, despite the fact I realized I had run out of both Diet Coke and Sparkling Water, two things I like to always have on hand. But then today, I was not able to drive so that meant I couldn’t go to the store by car to get these items. FYI – Where I live, I’m at least a mile away from any type of business that sells these type of things.

But who cares. I walked to the store today and it felt great. Not only was it a beautiful, crisp, Los Angeles day, but it was good exercise as I have to go up hill to get to the store I was going to. And along the way, I passed the cutest dog who jumped out of its owner’s car with severe excitement at being able to run around the park.

I like walking. Being in Los Angeles, many of us often jump into our cars to get to our destinations because the majority of things are spaced out but you know, not all things are and when they’re within a mile or so, I’ve decided I’m just going to walk instead of getting into my car.

DAY 10 – OPEN A HARD COPY DICTIONARY, POINT TO THE FIRST FIVE WORDS I HAVEN’T HEARD OF AND MEMORIZE THEM.

This was fun. I love learning new things but don’t really take the time to learn new words unless they happen to come my way. I do love to read though, and it’s part of my job as a reader for Imagine, so I’m constantly looking up words, but this was different because they were at random and had no context.

My five words came to be:

Hank, Sneezewort, Elysium, Pedocal and Apomixis.

Can you guess which one means a rare reproductive process in which a new individual is produced from a female cell or cells but NOT the egg cell, mainly through means of sexual reproduction?

DAY 11 – SPEAK ONLY ITALIAN (A LANGUAGE I’VE BEEN STUDYING FOR A COUPLE YEARS)

This was tricky, but very exciting. I haven’t had an opportunity to really put what I’ve learned to the test until today. But before I continue, I should preface that my parents speak Italian, so I am fortunate to have people in my life who I am able to speak to in this language. And speak to, I did!

But it wasn’t easy. While I have been studying Italian for a couple of years, I am still not fluent and do not know all the words I would like to know but I managed to make it through the day and converse with my parents in their native language. This is something that has been very important to me to learn to do. I think I’m going to impose more of these “Italian only” days on myself so that I am forced to speak the language in daily life rather than just study it and speak it in class..

My teacher once told our class that as babies, we can easily learn languages because we just think it as we learn it. As adults, however, we don’t just learn it but rather translate it from the language we know the most, which makes it much more difficult to learn. But even so, it’s worth learning. It’s been amazing to be able to speak in more than one language and since I have been trying to do so for quite some time, today was difficult but also absolutely amazing for me!

I did have to put some money in the jar* though. First, I am one who talks to oneself and when I caught myself doing it, it was naturally in English. I also responded to those speaking to me today a couple of times in English, without realizing it until it was too late, so Toys for Tots received another five bucks…

But overall, it’s been very exciting for me to learn another language this late in my life, where my mind has been thinking/speaking English for thirty-four years, and so today made me very proud that I was able to carry on and get through it as best as I could.

Sicilia, vengo a presto!

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 12 – HUG FIVE PEOPLE TODAY, WHO ARE NOT FAMILY OR CLOSE FRIENDS

Let me begin by saying I’m not the most touchy-feely person out there. I like my space and tend to keep a minimal distance from others. Close talkers are rough for me.

But today, to get outside my box, I had to hug five people, not complete strangers but also not close friends and family either. It was interesting for me.

I work a few lunch shifts at a restaurant and today was one of those shifts. This gave me a great opportunity to find people to hug. I got there and hugged four people within an hour or so – my busser, my runner, my co-worker and a line cook. But as I was about to hug person #5, my co-worker brought to my attention that I was prefacing these hugs with why I was doing them and he thought it made the other person think they were just filling a quota of mine rather than being a solid hug recipient. This got me thinking and I decided, okay, he’s right, so person # 5 will not be told why I’m hugging him/her but rather will just get a hug. I decided on a line cook I’ve known for years, who is so sweet and kind to me. I asked him if I could hug him and when he agreed, I proceeded to do so. He looked at me with a smile on his face and asked me why. I said, “I’m just in a hugging mood” and he seemed to be happy. It was a sweet moment.

While I may not be the world’s biggest hugger, I can appreciate a good hug. I remember a guy I dated in college, who was not a good hugger, and when we went in to hug goodbye, I decided to show him out to do it. It was a sweet moment actually since I thought I’d be the last person to show someone how to hug.

There is warmth and friendship and love and closeness in hugs. When my two year-old nephew gives me a hug, he wraps his whole body around me and squeezes, putting his face right up to mine. It’s beyond precious. He’s reminded me about what it means to give a good hug. And I’m not going to forget it, as perhaps I have over the years.

Look out friends… hugs are coming your way.

DAY 13 – WRITE A LETTER, AN ACTUAL LETTER, TO SOMEONE I ADMIRE AND MAIL IT, STAMP AND ALL.

I chose to write to Ron Paul. While I can think of many people whom I admire, Ron Paul is the one that first came to mind when I saw what I was on my calendar to do today and he’s someone who I continue to admire more and more everyday.

It’s no big secret I want Ron Paul to be my president for 2012 and if you didn’t know, I am working everyday to try to make that happen, because even if he doesn’t, I’m going down fighting.

And so, I wrote an actual handwritten letter to him today, to tell him how I am working on his campaign and why. I’m sticking it inside a Christmas Card and popping it into the mail tomorrow… but first, I have to find a stamp.

The biggest thing I noticed about handwriting something versus using a computer, something we’ve all grown to count on when writing our letters, is NO SPELLCHECK. Not fun, let me tell you.

DAY 14 – MAKE A FRAME FROM HOUSEHOLD ITEMS AND PUT A PICTURE OF MYSELF AS A CHILD IN IT TO REMEMBER INNOCENCE AND FREEDOM.

What an interesting day for this to be what I had to do…

A couple of hours ago, I learned a friend of mine passed away. It made me sad, really sad, and it also made me think of mortality and how even though I know we’re all going to die, it’s really unfortunate and sad when it happens.

Childhood is innocence. Hopefully. A time when mortality hasn’t quite been grasped, when anything is possible and Santa Claus does in fact exist. It’s where many of our traits and conditions form and it’s ever so crucial that a child is given love and freedom to be who they want to be. I didn’t have a perfect childhood but overall, I had a very fortunate one and I will forever be grateful, as it was not a result of my own doing.

I think it’s important to channel that energy and awe and wonder (what a great name for a television show – The Wonder Years!) and innocence of being a child when we are older, never to forget that there IS awe in everything we do, that life IS wonderful and that innocence is not a bad thing.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m still a ten-year old girl trapped in the body of a thirty-four year old woman. But I accept the reality that I have to be an adult, however, I also realize that doesn’t mean I can’t still be youthful..

DAY 15 – DO NOT USE THE WORDS “LIKE”, “SHIT”, “FUCK”, “DUDE” OR “TOTALLY”

I say these words too much. Especially “totally”. And I really want to break this habit. The other ones, I don’t say too much but more often than not so I’d like to limit them also but it’s “totally” that’s the real problem.

This day, I had to put six dollars in the jar. Four of them for “totally”, one for “shit” and one for “fuck”, at least those were the ones I noticed I said. I wonder if any slipped out without me realizing…

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 16 – TAKE THE MONEY FROM MY JAR* AND BUY TOYS FOR TOYS FOR TOTS CHARITY.

While I’m glad to have money to buy toys for these tots, it doesn’t look good that I have $25.00 to do so, because what that actually means is I’ve failed at my daily things twenty-five times. And it’s only Day 16.

Oh well… no one’s perfect.

It makes me sad to think some kids out there will not be given any gifts for Christmas. In fact, my father was one of those kids. But when I think about all he’s accomplished in life, not to mention the life he’s provided for me, it reinforces the idea that it’s up to the individual, not the government, to provide for oneself and it doesn’t matter what one’s background is. I’ll never forget when I learned this about him. He causally said, one Christmas Eve dinner, that in his house, he wasn’t given gifts on Christmas. So matter-of-fact. None of the feeling sorry for himself or anything like that. Just one of the many reasons my father is my hero..

On the bright side, though, I went to the store today, bought some toys to donate to the Toys For Tots charity, and I’ll be dropping them off tomorrow..

(And on a side note, I was in the post office yesterday and the mail attendant said to me, “Merry Christmas”. I know people think that isn’t PC but hell, it felt good to hear it…)

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 17 – WRITE A POEM ABOUT SOMEONE I LOVE AND GIVE IT TO THEM

Timing is not everything but it’s a lot. When I saw this was what I had to do today, I knew immediately that I wanted to write a poem for my friend, Andrea, who passed away this week. While “love” is a strong word, I did love her as a human and as my friend and she will be missed.

I gave this poem to her significant other today, at her funeral/celebration of life…

TO ANDREA
Open eyes and a sharp wit,
thoughtful with an interesting mind,
always tells it like it is,
and also deeply kind.

I won’t forget our talks,
that ranged from Italy to TV,
your recommendations were welcomed,
as I hope were the ones that came from me.

A smile came upon my face,
when you walked inside the door,
you became part of the Nook family,
and will be in my mind forever more.

Though I understand mortality,
and know that it is true,
please know wherever you are, Andy,
that I will greatly be missing you.

DAY 18 – GO TO BEACH, FIND A SHELL, WRITE A WORD IN IT TO REPRESENT WHAT I WANT FOR 2012 AND FIGURE OUT A WAY TO MAKE IT INTO A NECKLACE

I must admit. Today was a bit busy for me and this was something I had to do before the sun went down because trolling for shells on the dark beach is not ideal so to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to doing it. But at 4:30, I went to the beach, walked down the cliff that’s near my house and went looking for shells…

And while I was walking and looking, I kept thinking that while finding a shell won’t be a big problem, making it into a necklace will not be the easiest of things. I like challenges that make me be creative, but I was kinda at a loss for this one. I thought to myself, “how great would it be to find a shell that had a hole already in it.” I knew this was a far-fetched idea, but I kept looking. I found some cute shells but none with holes and I was about to call it a day and return home but then, something caught my eye. It was a shell that had a circle on it, near the top, but it was covered with sand so it was hard to figure out what that circle was. So I rinsed it off in the water and blew the sand off it and then suddenly, I realized, it had a hole in it, right at the top! You just never know what’s going to be beneath the grime and the dirt…

Call it fate, divine intervention, luck, happenstance, whatever.

This little baby is my new luck charm. I added it to the necklace that was used as a prop on my last film and so, now, I’ll be wearing this whenever I need an extra boost.

And by the way, the word inside it, is LOVE.

The shell and the necklace…

DAY 19 – WEAR NECKLACE MADE YESTERDAY AND DEFINE THE FIVE WORDS LEARNED ON DECEMBER 10TH, PUTTING A DOLLAR IN THE JAR* FOR EACH ONE MISSED

I wore the necklace all day and for someone who doesn’t normally wear necklaces, it was odd, but it felt good about what it represented – my films, love and luck – so I wore it with pride.

And as for the five words, let’s see what I remember. I had my mother read the words to me from the original list so I wouldn’t go anywhere near the definitions. Here’s my remembered definitions:

Hank (n) – a loop or coil

Sneezewort (n) – a plant in Europe that consists of a bunch of white flowers

Elysium (n) – from Greek mythology, the home of the blessed after death

Pedocal (n) – soil from lime rock, from arid or semiarid regions

Apomixis (n) – a reproduction process from a female cell or cells but not the egg cell that results in the production of new life, typically from sexual reproduction

And here’s the actual definitions: (Above, I italicized the ones I got right)

Hank – (n) a coil or loop

Sneezewort – (n) a plant, native to Europe, having clusters of white flowers.

Elysium – (n)  from Greek mythology, the abode of the blessed after death.

Pedocal – (n) A lime-rich soil of cool, semiarid and arid regions.

Apomixis – (n) A rare reproductive process in which a new individual is produced from a female cell or cells other than the egg cell,  often in the manner that mimics sexual reproduction.

Four out of five isn’t bad, yay!!

DAY 20 – LET MY HAIR DRY ON ITS OWN, USING NO PRODUCT OR STYLING DEVICE, WITH EXCEPTION OF HAIR TIE TO KEEP IT OUT OF MY FACE

Most women, and probably a ton of men, will be able to appreciate how difficult this is. While I hardly do anything to my hair, I like to add a leave-in conditioner to it and also run a straightener over it or use mouse if I’m going to let it go natural, which is a bit wavy. But to use nothing, no blow dryer, straightener, product at all is not easy…

I did it though and went to work and ran a bunch of errands today. And while no one seemed to notice any difference, I’m glad I don’t have to do this everyday, because, well, I definitely noticed a difference. And it’s nice to feel one looks nice, whatever that means to them.

DAY 21 – SLEEP NAKED

Gotta say, unless I’m not alone, this one doesn’t do it for me. First, pajamas are way more snuggly, especially in cold weather, and second, seeing as I don’t live alone, when I get up in the middle of the night to get a drink or go to the bathroom, I don’t want to stumble around and put on a robe. I like to make those trips as quick as possible, mostly seeing that I’m never fully awake for them.

That said, I’m also fearful there will be an earthquake and I’ll have to rush out in nothing but a sheet.

DAY 22 – DRINK NOTHING BUT WATER

Man, this is tough. I’m one of those people who always has a drink on them. Whether it be bottled water, diet coke, wine, juice, ice tea, whatever, I like to have drinkable liquids around me. And though I do drink water every day, I never ONLY drink water.

But I’m doing it and I’m going strong. Well, till midnight that is. Then, the day will be over and a beverage other than water will likely be had at 12:01am….

DAY 23 – GO FOR A WALK AND TAKE A PHOTO OF SOMETHING THAT INSPIRES ME, THEN WRITE A BLOG ABOUT IT IN HOPES OF INSPIRING OTHERS.

I didn’t have to go very far outside my house because when I saw this tree, I was immediately struck by its beauty, even though most of its leaves have died and fallen off.

Though the tree looks empty and lifeless, it’s only a matter of time before it comes back to full bloom. That’s the cycle of many things in nature and I think it’s the cycle of humans as well.

There are times that will depress us, make us feel fallen, sad and alone. There are times that will hurt us, make us feel pain and harm. There are times that will rob us of things and people we hold dear. And time will pass, taking our youth and abilities with it.

We may feel bleak, like this tree looks.

But just like the tree, we can bloom again. Time will pass and we will be refreshed.

New leaves will grow.

But unlike the tree, we can alter our nature.

We can bloom whenever we choose to.

DAY 24 – NO WORDS WITH FRIENDS… (suggested by my friend Tina, who thinks I’m obsessed with this game)

This wasn’t so hard, considering it’s Christmas Eve and my day was filled with cooking, eating and hanging out with family. I won’t lie though, I did want to play, several times, but I stopped myself and resisted. I hope my opponents aren’t too mad that I didn’t play any words today :)

DAY 25 – DAY OFF, WE ALL NEED ONE

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

And thank you to all who read this blog, comment on it, talk to me about it, send me emails or messages about it… I really appreciate it!

DAY 26 – CONTACT A BOY WHO INTRIGUES ME

Hah, the funny thing about this is that I did this before actually realizing I was fulfilling my daily venture for this thirty-one day project of mine.

Guess that’s a good sign I am quite intrigued…

DAY 27 – TRY A TYPE OF FOOD I’VE NEVER TRIED BEFORE

Vietnamese Chicken Pho.

This is what I tried today. I know it’s been a big thing to many over the past few years, at least in Los Angeles, but I always opt for the rice dish over the noodle one. Well, that is, until today…

One again, to give my friend, Ed Galvez, credit, (a comedian you should check out at www.edgalvez.net) I have to say that when I mentioned I had to eat something new today, he brought up this and I thought, yup, that’s perfect! I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time but just haven’t… So today was the day.

And it’s, well, interesting.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s some ingredient in it that just doesn’t mesh well with my taste buds. Ginger maybe? I don’t know. But I’m glad I tried it once and will now, I must admit, return to ordering my rice dish whenever I’m in a Vietnamese restaurant.

DAY 28 – NO ALCOHOL OF ANY KIND

Yeah…. this didn’t go well today. For various reasons, I chose not to say no to some wine and well, I failed today with my project. I’m putting ten dollars in the jar* and calling it a day.

No one is perfect.

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

DAY 29 – TEACH SOMEONE SOMETHING TODAY, AND HAVE SOMEONE TEACH ME SOMETHING.

Several times this month, life intervenes and sets up my daily assignment perfectly for me.

Today was one of those days.

Without getting too much into the story, I had to go to urgent care today. I’m fine. Nothing that won’t heal but while I was inside the patient’s room, I learned something. I’m slightly embarrassed to mention it, but hell, it’s true so here goes. The nurse/intern/doctor(not sure which exactly) came in to take my vitals and when he went to check my pulse, he asked me to put out my index finger. I stared down at my hand and was searching.. wait, which one is my index finger? He kinda chuckled and said, “You don’t know, that’s okay. Many don’t.” And then he proceeded to show me which one it was. Lesson learned!

And as far as teaching someone something, well, it’s kinda difficult to just offer a lesson to someone. I tried to tell some friends I was hanging out with about this new show, “Happy Endings”, and how it’s funny and smart in that they make a metrosexual straight character seem to be more “gay” than the actual homosexual character. I like the way they flip stereotypes but my friends weren’t all that interested in the show so it didn’t really feel like I taught anyone anything. But then, I checked my email and lo and behold, someone asked me to explain to them a little bit about Ron Paul. And of course, I did. Lesson taught!

DAY 30 & 31 – WRITE A SHORT STORY AND SUBMIT IT TO SOMETHING

I altered this. Instead of writing a short story, I wrote a brief proposal for something like this project to be made into a book and rather than just blindly submit it, I decided to look up a good way to go about submitting the proposal. Overall, I think it’s a wonderful way to end this thirty-one day journey of trying to live outside my box. And part of living outside one’s box, is being flexible and adaptable to change, is it not?

As for the money from the jar*, I added to it and donated another $25 to Ron Paul’s campaign.

Thank you to all who have come along on the ride with me. A collective blog about this experience as a whole is to come…

Happy New Year!!

*see my blog “31 days” for explanation…

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