Saturday, May 14, 2011

#3 - Give a lottery ticket to a stranger

This wasn't as easy as it seemed I assure you. First of all, it's so mundane, that I actually kept forgetting to do it. Then there's the talking to a complete stranger aspect of it... it gives me anxiety just thinking about it!

Anyways, last night I'm paying for my gas (we can talk about how Wall Street and the oil companies are raping us with their gas prices another day) and it strikes me - "I can actually cross something off my list right now!" So, I get 2 lottery tickets. And as I'm walking away from the register, I notice the lady behind me is this sweet middle-aged indian woman, a plain Jane (in the nicest way possible), just another person in the line - the perfect recipient.
So I muster up all my courage (because I know I'm about to look crazy) and I say "This is going to sound crazy... but here, this is for you and I hope you win." She looks at me like I'm crazy - of course... and I walked out... what a rush! I don't know if it was the good deed or the fact that everyone was looking at me like I had 8 eyes, but I felt great! Like, what if she wins!?!? I could've just paid her kids university tuition, or helped out with the household expenses or paid for her daughters wedding! I felt sooooo good.
Before I could drive off though, she ran out of the gas station and up to my car to ask me how she could contact me if she wins. I told her I didn't want her to contact me, I just wanted her to do something good for someone else if she won, and she told me I was the nicest person she ever met... So that felt nice. She got into her mini-van and I noticed the young children inside, and at that point I really truly prayed that she was holding the winning ticket.
Anyways, if she does win... that's amazing... really, really amazing. And I hope that she pays it forward and does something nice for someone else. I can only hope that that small gesture has some type of impact on hers or someone else's life - profound or not, some type of impact would be nice. The idea that I could've started a chain reaction of good deeds and selfless acts really makes me smile. The only thing I regret is... not getting the Extra. I don't even want to think about it. I cheaped out on the extra dollar and could have potentially cost her millions of dollars... Oh how I hope that's not the case! I would hate for my momentary lapse in judgement (a.k.a. my cheap-ness) to result in her missing out on a life-changing event.
Anyways, aside from the personal satisfaction I gained from actually doing it, crossing it off the list is just as satisfying, so here it goes... #3 "Give a lottery ticket to a complete stranger (and don't check the numbers)

'Til next time my little misfits... behave and be safe! xoxo

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm terrible... but I didn't shop!

Thought I forgot about you? Not really... There's been a significant change in my personal life in the last few months which has kept me pretty distracted (in a good way). I wanted to enrich my life with these new experiences, and this new "distraction", while it wasn't on my list, has certainly enriched my life, so I can't beat myself up for not updating the blog. I'm back on the wagon though, so here we go.

#38 - No shopping for 2 months!
You guys should actually be grateful I didn't blog about this real-time because it got pretty ugly at times. From January 6th, 2011 through April 6th, 2011 I DID NOT SHOP! Yup, I exceeded my timeframe and didn't shop for 3 whole months. I limited my expenses to necessary car repairs & maintenance (which included 1 oil change, countless gas refills, 1 tow, 1 tire explosion/replacement, 2 new windshield wipers because the old ones were down to the metal, and the official removal of the belly pan because it half fell off at 120 km/hr on Highway 15 and started sparking up the road), food, alcohol, only necessary toiletries (specifically deoderant, toothpaste, soap and make-up remover - all of which are socially required) and a coffee machine because my old one broke, and if you've ever met me without at least 2 cups of coffee in me, you know why that was a must.
So what did I learn from the experience? Lots. I learned I actually do have self-control - which those closest to me didn't think was possible when it came to shopping. I learned I spend too much money on things I don't need. There is no need for 10 white shirts that all look the same, or 11 pairs of jeans that I barely wear, and do I actually need 8 pairs of black leggings? I learned that my attitude towards shopping (and money for that matter) was "It's my money that I work hard for, so I'll do what I please with it", it was almost an attitude of spite - towards what? I don't know. I do work hard for my money, and I should do what I please with it, but it's also important to be REASONABLE (a word that I would never have combined in the same thought or same sentence as "shopping"). 
The reality of the matter is that I really do love clothes... and shoes... and make-up... and perfume... and purses and jewelery/accessories, and not shopping at all is unrealistic for me on a go-forward basis. I like to look good, because when I think I look good, I feel better about myself, and when I feel better about myself I'm simply more pleasant to be around - there just have to be limits to my extravanganzas. First of all, every shopping trip doesn't have to be an extravaganza (believe it or not!). Second, I don't need to shop 2 to 3 times a week. And third, I should think about my purchases before actually buying them (like trying stuff on would be a good start, or making sure I'm not buying something for 1 outfit or 1 occasion). All in all, I'm glad I did, but let me tell you, I hit up Zara and H&M first thing Saturday morning and it felt great!
For effect, I tried to create an image of all the tags from the stuff I'd purchased on January 5th (my last shopping day, which was just a regular Wednesday, after all my boxing shopping had been done and after I'd received everything I wanted for Christmas) and an image of the much fewer tags from Saturday's return to the shopping world, but it's not working! So I'll have to work out the kinks and geet back to you on that.

Friday, October 15, 2010

# 8 - Name a Star (& other unrelated ramblings)

So I've been staring at the screen of my laptop for days (or what feels like days) wondering what I'm going to blog about. To be honest, I'm doing a bunch of stuff on the list at the same time, but not finishing much of anything... and it's giving me anxiety! I alternate between studying my photography course material (#5); knitting that damned scarf (#10); reading a book a month (#24) - which by the way I'm still on book 1 in month 2 - not good; starting to learn Italian (#15) and I haven't crossed anything off my list for a while. Then again, it's about the "experience" and not just checking things off the list, right?

So I thought I'd give myself some instant statisfaction and knock one out right now... # 8 - Name a Star. Found a place online (free advertising - I should get my star on the house!), and for only $19.95 I get to name a star in the constellation of my choosing and I get a personalized certificate. I cannot buy the star, however, which is a good thing on many levels...

First off, what would I do with a star? It's not like I can actually put it in my pocket and save it for a rainy day. Then there's the fact that I already have a shopping "problem" - I don't need to elaborate on this one since I'll eventually get to # 38 (No shopping for 2 months! Ya, that'll be interesting - I should pre-order the valium now). Lastly, there's the fact that you really shouldn't  be allowed to buy a star. They kind of belong to everybody, and kind of to nobody at the same time. And this last point is what brings me to my dilemma of naming a star... why the hell did I put this on the list? What did I think I was going to gain from this? It's not like I'll live forever through the star - is that what I thought? Does the symbol of naming a star make people feel eternal, like even after they leave this earth, when people look up at the sky, that somehow they'll be there in that moment too? Is that ridiculous? I don't know.

To be honest, it sounded like such an easy thing to do... But, reading further into the website, they explained that they will "launch my star name into space" - What?!? What does that even mean? Like how do you launch something so intangible as a name into space? Well, they save the data ("celestial archive" as they call it) onto a computer chip and then when they're launching either a commercial or scientific rocket or satellite or whatever, they basically just put the computer chip on board. LOL! Now THIS is ridiculous. It's kind of a turn off how cheesy and pointless it is. So really, the $19.95 I'm paying is in some way funding their space missions - and I'm not OK with that. I kind of feel like it's drug money or something equally unethical. I have no idea what their space missions are all about, why would I give them money? For all I know, they're plotting something evil or spying on us from outer-space. Maybe they're in cahoots with hostile extra-terrestrials and planning to blow up the world and are just practicing their escape route and I'm supporting them by naming a star for $19.95. That's it, I will have no part in the end of the world, I'm looking up another company.

(Time Elapsed: Like 5 minutes)

Oooh! I like this one... It's Canadian which is always a good thing, but it's way more expensive (further leading me to believe that the previous website was up to no-good shenanigans), $100 for the basic package! Same sort of thing, certificate, sky chart and an astronomy book. These people seem way more "legit" though... as in they're not in cahoots with evil ET. But do I really want to spend $100 on a piece of paper? I mean I know that this is a symbol, just a novelty item even. No scientist will ever refer to the star as "Lise's star" or whatever clever name I come up with, they have all these alpha-numeric codenames that are no fun. It won't actually be officially recognized by anyone other than myself. And there are thousands of name-a-star companies out there probably renaming the same stars over and over. It's such a load of crap, but what a money-maker! Ahhh, I'm so torn on the matter.

So - now here's the important question - however I do it, what do I name my star?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busy Hands are Happy Hands!

Oh my... It's been 2 weeks since I last posted any progress! So tonight you get a double update.

Let's start with the easy stuff, #46 - Paint a painting. I've been toiling away, getting my hands dirty and ruining more canvases (please refer to post of Sept 9th for examples of how exactly to ruin a canvas in the first place). But! In my quest for the Picasso in me, I actually painted something I'm proud of. And I think I can officially cross this one off the list... Drum roll please... ... ... I said drum roll please! (Seriously, do it. Out loud. Give me a drum roll)... Paint a painting

Plus I've got this work in progress on the go...

So while I may not be the next Monet, I definitely accomplished what I set out to do. And in the spirit of this blog, what did I gain from this experience?
  1. I actually really enjoy painting and I don't have to be good at it to enjoy it. It helps me relax and "check out" for a little while.
  2. Do not pour dirty paint water down the bathroom sink. It WILL filthy-up the prestine white ceramic and WILL require scrubbing and more effort than I care to invest.
  3. I have to be the messiest painter in the world.
  4. I like painting clouds.
Alright folks, onto update number two, # 10 - Knit a scarf. Now I definitely thought this was going to be easier than it is. I watched a few You Tube videos (One of them I literally watched 70 times. Play. Pause. Rewind. Wait - How did she make that knot? Play. Which string? What hoop? Pause. Rewind. And so it went on for hours.) Eventually I made 2 little practice patches...


And so, in my head these 2 little trial runs make me ready for the big leagues. The pattern I posted 2 weeks ago really was too complicated. So I figured I would go straight knit stitch, 40 stitches across, however many rows was long enough. And this is what I came up with...

Take 1
A little crooked... Had I continued it would've been some crazy cyclone scarf by the end. So onto to take 2...

Take 2
Take 2 just kept getting wider and wider and wider. What started off as 40 stiches wide, got to about 51 and probably would've eventually been as wide as I am tall at that rate. It'd be some mutated blanket. Take 3.

Take 3
Looks good right? Well it was looking good until I stopped mid-row to go pee... it was urgent, I'd been putting it off for like 10 rows. I just kept saying "Your bladder won't explode, just 1 more row" x 10 consective rows. So when I came back from a much needed break I wasn't paying attention and started stitching it the wrong way, backwards in fact... and ruined it. So, I'm onto take 4 now, so far so good. It's thinner (cuz I think the 40 stitches was confusing me), but I haven't made a single mistake yet!

Current - Take 4
So, I really need to finish this scarf soon. It's giving me the heebie-jeebies that I knit while I watch TV or before I go to bed. It makes me feel like I need cats, lots of cats. On that note, I will not subject my loyal fans to anymore knitting talk. Next time I mention it will be to tell/show you it's done and to cross it off the list.

That's it. Stay out of trouble, until next time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

#10 - Knit a Scarf!

So... today I went shopping on my lunch break (surprise, surprise) to get knitting supplies (real surprise!). I picked out a nice dark grey yarn and some needles and some other weird tool that I have no idea how to use. Anyways, while there I picked out a pattern for a simple scarf... And these are the instructions:
Is this a joke? What frickin language is this? Oh boy, this is going to be fun- I can tell already... I think my neck is going to be cold this winter!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

# 7 - Mexican Feast, Olé!

It's official... #7 can be scratched off the list! Cook an ethnic meal from scratch (oooh, that felt good) I am so proud of our meal and every bit of it was so good. And for future reference, I will now only answer to the Flan Queen. Not Lise. Not Clarice. Just Flan Queen, OK?

Were Vanessa and I the only people that didn't know that coriander and cilantro are the same thing? Ya, so we scrapped it out at Loblaw's with the produce kid who actually ended up going into the back and bringing out a box of cilantro/coriander to prove both his point and the fact that we're idiots. Awesome feeling let me tell you.

So, as planned, we started off with some Fierce Mexican Mojitos. I honestly have no idea how many of those we ended up drinking, but let me tell you, they were Mmm Mmm Good. We had a whole Mojito station going and had the process down to a science.  

These Mexican mojitos were serious business (Tequila is what makes them Mexican by the way), and that's all I have to sat about that.

Next to tackle was the main dish, Fish Tacos. Three words for you... Oh my God. I'd never had a fish taco before, but now I think I'm in love. Cod battered to perfection, fresh Pico de Gallo, the spiciest chipotle sauce, and warm tacos/tortillas.

My own Chipotle, Jalapeno, Adobo creation...

Fresh Pico de Gallo
Beer Battered Cod

The Finished Product Part 1

The Finished Product Part 2
Dinner for Two

And then came dessert. I had no idea that these hands of mine could actually make something so devine. I think maybe I invented flan in a past life or something, because this was the most perfect flan ever, and I really really really didn't have a clue what I was doing. So this goes back to why I will only respond to "Flan Queen" from here on out.

It make not look so pretty, but it was the BEST FLAN EVER!!

I've really hoped that as I make my way through the list that I learn something new, that I make memories that will last and that I live life intentionally. So, what am I taking away from this experience, this Mexican Feast? Several things:
  1. Cilantro and coriander are the same thing.
  2. Just because the recipe says so, doesn't mean it is so.
  3. If it's that spicy going in, it's going to be that spicy going out. : )
  4. A raw avocado does NOT ripen if you put it in the toaster oven.
  5. If you actually clean while you cook (as opposed to just saying you will), the kitchen doesn't look like a disaster zone for the next 3 days.
  6. I truly have the best best-friend in the whole world. One who supports me, who trusts me and is trust-worthy, who laughs at all my jokes, and with who I can have an awesome time just talking, cooking and drinking the night away. I love her to bits and pieces.
Super-cute Vanessa gettin down with fish
Kind of suprisingly, it was an all-around successful night, no casualties and the kitchen didn't burn down. The food was amazing, the company was perfect, the drinks were flowing, what more could we have asked for?

Friday, September 17, 2010

# 7 - Cook an ethnic meal from scratch

As you may have now guessed, the plan is... Mexico. I'm aware that doesn't sound so complicated, but I'm 100% sure I'll attempt #7 several times this year, so you will certainly get something more exotic next time. I'm easing into things here... I'm also 100% sure that the process of making this meal with my best friend will serve for hours of entertainment (both ours and yours) - keep in mind, I'm doing this with the same girl that fell in the fountain at Louvre this summer, and the same girl with whom I blew out the rear window of a BMW X5 with a beer keg of all things 2 weeks ago*. Trust me, my follow-up post of the meal and how we got to it will surely keep your attention.

Fierce Mexican Mojitos (a different twist on the traditional Cuban fare)
Fish Tacos w/ Pico de Gallo & Chipotle Dressing

If all goes as planned, the table should look something like...

Appetizer, Side Dish and Dessert - Mojito

Main Dish - Fish Taco's

Taco Topping - Pico de Gallo

Dessert - Flan

But then again, if I've learned anything thus far, it's that nothing ever goes according to plan... Will keep you posted. Wish me luck!

* I've come to the conclusion that God made her and I friends for a reason... he was bored with the mundane happenings and interactions on earth and thought it would serve a lifetime of joy and entertainment to watch the shenanigans her and I would come up with. For pure recreational purposes and to really show you what I mean, I'm including a photo of our Saturday morning 2 weeks ago when 1 of our beer kegs blew out the rear window.