75 Creative Ways to Get Active

I think most of us can agree that exercising sucks. I would much rather watch a movie or read a book on a porch in the mountains. Also, I feel gross when I sweat. I know a lot of people love “getting their sweat on,” but I have curly hair, which isn’t really compatible with humidity, and sweating just creates my own little humidity cloud, which in turn frizzes my hair. So I’d rather not.

However, I can trick myself into exercising every now and then if it doesn’t feel so much like exercise and/or if I’m having too much fun to notice or care that I’m sweating. I absolutely do not do all of these things, but if you’re looking for fresh ideas, here you go:

75 Creative Ways to Get Active

  1. Work in your yard/garden.
  2. Clean your house (with music).
  3. Reorganize a room, and get rid of things you don’t need/want.
  4. Listen to music and dance while you’re getting ready in the morning.
  5. Family dance party!
  6. Use a bathroom on a different floor (at home or work). Drink a lot of water so you have to pee often. Take the stairs every time.
  7. Go to a playground and play. Seriously, do it.
  8. Join a silly sports league like dodgeball or kickball or hide and seek.
  9. Join a for real sports league like soccer or hockey.
  10. Climb a tree.
  11. Rearrange your furniture.
  12. Go swimming.
  13. Go kayaking (Lake Johnson will rent you a kayak for $5/hour).
  14. Go dancing! Try a kind of dance that’s new for you – shag, swing, salsa, square, contra. Hooboy contra dancing is a GREAT workout!
  15. Take advantage of your local hiking/walking trails. If you live in the Raleigh area, there are TONS to choose from.
  16. Stand up on public transportation. Try not to hold on (germs). Your muscles will have to work to keep you balanced and stable.
  17. Get off of public transportation a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
  18. Try martial arts!
  19. Try yoga!
  20. Try rock/wall climbing!
  21. Try Zumba!
  22. Try aerobic pole dancing! It’s seriously a thing, and it’s seriously a workout. It’s also seriously awkward, but if it sounds like fun to you, go for it!
  23. TRAMPOLINE!!
  24. Organize an elementary-school-style field day for your friends and neighbors. Include all the classics: 3-legged race, over/under, potato sack race, egg toss, etc.
  25. Play Duck Duck Goose
  26. Play Follow the Leader.
  27. Play Red Rover.
  28. Play any kind of tag.
  29. Play dodgeball.
  30. Play kickball.
  31. Arm wrestle.
  32. Leg wrestle.
  33. Stretch while you’re watching TV or talking on the phone.
  34. Do silly walks.
  35. Play tennis.
  36. Play in the sprinkler.
  37. Play Capture the Flag.
  38. Walk around the mall.
  39. Walk a dog.
  40. Toss a frisbee.
  41. Fly a kite.
  42. Go for a walk with a friend instead of going for coffee.
  43. Bring back the hacky sack!
  44. Play catch.
  45. Play Hopscotch.
  46. Play Foursquare.
  47. Play Simon Says.
  48. Sidewalk chalk someone’s driveway in the wee hours of the morning.
  49. Go for a romantic moonlit walk.
  50. Come back home and let one thing lead to another.
  51. Visit a museum. Look at everything. You’ll be walking around AND learning! Bonus!!
  52. Park in a central location when running errands that aren’t far apart, and walk to do each one.
  53. If you can see your destination from where you are, walk, don’t drive to it.
  54. Play charades.
  55. Jump rope.
  56. Photo scavenger hunt.
  57. Choreograph a dance to a song. Do it every time you hear that song.
  58. Hula hoop.
  59. Ping pong.
  60. Go roller skating.
  61. Play laser tag!
  62. Wash your car.
  63. “Walk to another city.” There are about 2,000 steps in a mile. Pick a “destination,” and figure out how many steps it would take you to walk there (literally). For example, it would take me about a million steps (2,000 steps x 500 miles) to get from my house to New York. Get a pedometer, and when you’ve walked enough steps to have reached your destination city, plan a real trip there!
  64. Pillow fight!
  65. Tickle fight!
  66. Play active video games like Wii Sports or Just Dance.
  67. Car dance.
  68. Clean out your garage, attic, or storage closet.
  69. Build a fort.
  70. Play putt-putt.
  71. Go to a zoo.
  72. Ride a horse.
  73. Get a pedometer for everyone in the house and see who can take the most steps each day.
  74. Act out your favorite scenes from books (including comic books) and movies. Make costumes and scenery and everything.
  75. Do a puppet show. Build the stage and make the puppets.

What else should we add to the list?

3 Ways to Improve Your Workouts

I’ve been working out consistently for just over a month now. That’s a month of my whole life, so I don’t have much experience to draw from unless I also pull from way back in my childhood when working out was not a thing I did, but playing was. As an adult, I have been a terrible role model thus far and definitely no one you should trust for fitness advice. However, I’ve learned a couple things recently that I would like to share with you, and I am also going to pull from way back in my childhood.

1. Eat a healthy diet.

nawlinsDo you want to know why working out sucks SO bad and you hate it all the time always and hate everything that exists in the world while you’re exercising? It’s because the food you’re putting in your body is not fueling your body properly so that it can work out. At least that was true for me. I barely had the energy to change into workout clothes, but I forced myself to work out because I knew I should. And I kept waiting for the day when I would look forward to it, when I’d feel sluggish if I missed a run, not if I went on one. That day never, ever came, and eventually I gave up. Even when I didn’t give up (remember that time Amaris and I did a half marathon?), I didn’t lose a single pound because I didn’t change my eating habits. They may, in fact, have gotten worse. I lacked the energy I needed to train, but I trained anyway. Then to get the energy back that I needed to finish out the day, I would eat a ginormous plate of pasta because dangit I had EARNED it.

Some of you are shaking (or smacking) your heads at me right now, and you are correct to do so. Looking back, I know it didn’t make sense, but I didn’t know any better. Now I do, and y’all, I am not kidding when I tell you that I didn’t get to work out yesterday, and I was disappointed. If you give your body what it needs, it will return the favor. Get rid of the sugar and fried foods and as much of the refined and processed foods as possible. Eat your veggies. Limit your grains (not to the extreme, but probably half as much as you would like). Report back to me on your workouts.

2. Make a plan to change things up.

I get bored pretty easily, so doing a different workout every day helps me to keep it up. But I also need structure. I hated going to the gym because I would walk in, look around, wonder what I should do, not have any good ideas, and end up doing the same thing. Planning what you’re going to do, though, allows you to feel in control and ready for your workout while also preventing you from getting bored with it. It’s the same with diet. If you plan to eat different things every week, you’ll get to eat new things but also not find yourself in the kitchen staring into the fridge wondering if you’re actually hungry.

3. Play!

I have workouts that I do with a DVD throughout the week, and they are not the most fun, but I do them because I must, because they’re different every day (which keeps me from zoning out), because they’re planned for me (structure), and because doing them is FAR healthier than watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. But on Sundays, I’m going to a Zumba class up the street, and that is FUN. I look forward to it. It makes me excited about exercise (most weeks) because it doesn’t feel like exercise. When I was a kid, I was in great shape because I was on a competitive jump rope team. Have you tried jumping rope lately? Good luck going for more than a minute. It is no joke. But when I was a kid, I didn’t think about it as exercise. I just loved doing it. What do you love doing that gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat, and works your muscles (keep it clean, kids)? Dance (Zumba, swing, contra (!!), Just Dance), play a sport, jump rope, run as fast as you can down a hill, ride a bike, play in the ocean, walk/hike with friends, go to a playground and climb on the jungle gym, get some buddies together and play tag (or any other childhood game that won’t make you feel like the fat kid in gym class). HAVE FUN!

Oh, and if you are giant nerd and you know it (you know it), I just found this. Enjoy!

Marriage Advice

One of my most favorite pictures from our wedding day came from the photo booth at the reception. I love it for its quirkiness, its uniqueness, and its complete and utter awkwardness.

Photo by Amaris Photography - http://www.amarisphoto.com/
Photo by Amaris Photography – http://www.amarisphoto.com/

When we saw this picture, we were so confused. “Are they saying that this is what marriage looks like? A beer in your pocket, a husband on your shoulder, looking stoically off into space? Or from the husband’s point of view, grasping the beer in your wife’s pocket, looking over her shoulder longingly at said beer?”

I’m still not sure I understand, but I LOVE this picture because it reminds me that everyone’s marriage is different. People relate to each other differently because they are different, and that is a good thing. There is no one-size-fits-all way to do marriage, but we did get a lot of good advice from the cards on the tables at our reception.

Each table had a box of cards with questions on them for folks to fill out during cocktail hour/dinner. One of them said, “What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever received?” Here are some of my favorite answers – different answers from different people in different marriages, but all good advice:

  • Always tell the truth with a warm heart.
  • Always listen with your heart.
  • Honor the relationship’s rough places as well as the smooth.
  • A Christian marriage isn’t about whether you’re in love. Christian marriage is about giving you the practice of fidelity over a lifetime in which you can look back upon the marriage and call it love.
  • Listen. Speak softly. Act with love. Give grace.
  • Love is patient. So so patient. Try to be patient.
  • Love – laughter – sex – laughter. All created by God, all good. Yep.
  • Communicate…communicate…communicate.
  • Hear what your spouse is actually saying, not what you think he/she is saying.
  • Have physical contact every day! Even if just to show you care.
  • Don’t try to change the other person; just accept and love him/her as he/she is.
  • Do the marital dance often! Cha cha cha!
  • Pants off! Dance off!
  • Never go to bed mad at each other, and have a lot of sex! (Both of these were very popular bits of advice.)
  • Be good to her, or I will break your knees. (Surprisingly not from my dad.)
  • Right and wrong doesn’t matter. (I think this one was from my dad.)
  • And of course, this…

marriage advice

What advice should I add to my list?

10 Things That Change When You Get Married

I know I haven’t posted anything since I got married. It’s not that I’ve forgotten or that we’re too busy having all the sex for me to blog; it’s that I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. I feel like some big life lessons or revelations are in order considering I just went through (and am still going through) a major life change. I don’t know if I have any big or important things to say, but I feel like I should, and maybe the pressure of that has just had me blocked. So I’ll just start with some basic differences between single life and married life, and then maybe the words will begin to flow out of me like fresh limeade from my Fiesta™ pitcher. Oh wait…we didn’t get the pitcher. Not a good sign, but let’s get started anyway.

  1. You get to live with your best buddy. I know this seems like not that big a change for me considering the awesomeness of my past roommates, but it’s true. Ideally, you marry your best friend, and you’re closer with him than you are with any of your girlfriends because you’re closer in a different way. And then you get to live together, which is just fun! You goof around, watch movies, fall asleep snuggling, wake up next to each other, and come home at the end of good days and bad to your favorite face. It’s great.
  2. People suddenly stop making coy references to your sex life. Before the wedding, questions about the honeymoon were always punctuated with sly winks and elbow nudges. Now when people ask about it, there is none of that. I don’t know if they assume that now that we’re married, we’ve stopped doing it, or if they know that we’ve now started, and that weirds them out too much. Either way, it’s nice that these kinds of conversations have ended.
  3. Your laundry is insane. I know when/if we start having kids, our laundry is going to quadruple, but seriously, washing two people’s clothes seems like a lot more than double just one person’s clothes. I don’t know how that works, but I really need to start doing it twice a week instead of just once.
  4. We run the dishwasher like every other day. Part of this is because when you live alone, you don’t cook for just yourself that much. You eat frozen things or go out with friends or let your married friends cook for you. Cooking for one just requires way too much effort for nothing more than sustenance. I can get sustenance at Taco Bell, and the clean-up is nothing. You only cook for yourself when you’re trying to save money, and then you’re eating sandwiches (on paper towels, because seriously…), mac-n-cheese (and you wash and reuse the pot the next day for more mac-n-cheese), or soup (which you pour directly from the can into the bowl and microwave). But when you are married, it makes more sense financially to cook, so you cook a lot, and then you have all the pots and pans and prep bowls and dining dishes, and it doesn’t take long before your dishwasher is full.
  5. You share a bedroom. This has been one of the most difficult things for me. On our honeymoon, it was fun. We got to have sleepovers every night!! But when we got home, I started to get really cranky in the evenings right around bedtime. This was worrisome, but I think I’ve figured it out. I’m an introvert, so my brain really values alone time. And before we got married, I had built-in alone time every night when I was getting ready for and going to bed. As much as I hated leaving Will at the end of the night and going home alone, I really enjoyed that alone time at the end of the day to wind down and process the day’s events. So after we got married, my brain was pissed at me every night when it was bedtime and someone else was there. But since I’ve acknowledged this shift, things have been much better. My brain has started to understand that it can’t rely on having alone time at night, and that’s ok. I get plenty of it at other times, and I’ve learned to ask for it when I need more.
  6. Your schedule really opens up. Now that I’m not planning a wedding (hallelujah), I have all kinds of free time. Unfortunately, it’s in the afternoons, when most other people are at work, but I’m ok with that (alone time, remember?). Before the wedding, I read that people sometimes get depressed after their weddings are finished because they miss the planning and the stress and all the attention being on them. I am not that girl. But I do like to have goals and to work toward something, so I’m slowly starting to fill my newly reclaimed free time with new projects.
  7. You’ve always got a helper. My car wasn’t starting so well toward the end of last week or over the weekend, and we couldn’t figure out why. Turns out it was just the battery dying, but not quite dead. It wasn’t a big deal in the end, but when we didn’t know what it was, we started to brainstorm how we would get by without one car for a day or two while it was being fixed. Because we live together and share everything and work together to help each other, this didn’t seem like a big deal. I’d drive him to work and pick him up. That way, I could take his car all day and do whatever I needed to do. When you’re single, you can figure out a way to get by without a car, but it takes more effort, and you have to ask people to put themselves out to help you, which I don’t really like doing.
  8. You are more aware of your negative feelings because there’s always someone else around to experience them. Even if you’re just gassy or tired, you can’t feel bad without it coming out in your words, actions and attitude. If you’re single and home alone, you can just stay home alone and not subject other people to your crankiness. Even if you have a roommate, you can escape to the solitude of your own bedroom. But when you’re married and your headache comes out in curtness, you can’t escape that. It’s good in a way because it makes you identify the source of your feelings and work them out, which helps you feel better faster and helps your spouse not get treated poorly. Also, when you’re trying to work out your feelings, you have your best buddy there to help and support you.
  9. You can go to bed at 9:30. Before we were married, it was SO HARD to say goodbye every night and go home. Consequently, the goodbye-ing took forever, and we rarely went to sleep before 11. Now that we live together, we’re brushing our teeth at 9:00, reading at 9:15, and drifting off by 10. AND because you’re married, your friends fully expect you to be a grandma and not go out with them. I got a solid 9 hours of sleep last night, and it was awesome.
  10. You feel like you ought to feel completely different, but you really feel exactly like you’ve always felt. Because of the whole changing-of-the-name thing (which I haven’t officially done yet), I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis, but other than that, I’m still me. I wear the same clothes, do the same getting ready routine in the morning, do the same job with the same coworkers, make the same jokes, think about things in the same over-analytical way, have the same friends, and eat the same foods. The only difference is that now there’s someone else around to witness it all and love me unconditionally through it. There’s someone to watch me silly-dancing while I put on my makeup. There’s someone to laugh at my jokes or tell me I can do better. There’s someone to listen to my over-analysis and tell me if I’m being unreasonable or help me find solutions to problems. And there’s someone to look at the outfits I put on in the morning and say, “You look gorgeous. You’re the most beautiful woman in the world.” (And yes, that is a direct quote.)

Only Peripherally Related to Miley Cyrus

I hate to reward Miley Cyrus with more attention for her VMA performance the other night knowing that that’s exactly all she wants, but I just have to point out that her outfit (shoes included) and foam finger were not her idea. They both came from Robin Thicke’s videos, “Blurred Lines” and “Give It 2 U.” I won’t share either of them here because they’re just as bad as the VMA performance, and I feel dirty now for having watched them.

I also just watched Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” video, and while there’s way too much of her writhing around in it for my taste, it just looks to me like a bunch of college kids making a stupid video. She looks like she’s 20. Which she is. I’m not excusing her behavior because of her age. I’m just saying I understand it. I know a few 20-year-olds who aren’t idiots, but not many. And who among us can’t look back at ourselves at that age and say there were some things we could have done better? (And that’s putting it gently.) We just didn’t happen to do it on MTV. If I had, my mama would have jerked me off that stage so fast, it would have spun the heads of people in remote villages who don’t have TVs and have never even heard of the VMAs.

I could say a lot of things about parenting and fame and respecting our bodies as women, all of which need to be said to our daughters completely unrelated to this conversation, but I won’t because all of those things have already been said about Miley’s performance. What I’m wondering now is why no one is saying much of anything about Robin Thicke.

If you watch either of the two videos I mentioned before (which I wouldn’t recommend), you’ll see a lot of women’s exposed breasts and butts, and the women who are covered are wearing skin-tight outfits that leave little to the imagination. Meanwhile, the men are aloof, fully clothed at all times in tailored suits or baggy clothes, singing or rapping about how they know the women “want it,” and how they are willing to give it to them.

I won’t say I’m speaking on behalf of all women everywhere because I know there are some out there who do want it and want Robin Thicke to give it to them, so maybe this is just from me:

Dear Robin Thicke,

Let me assure you that I don’t want it. Not from you anyway. Please don’t try to give it to me as it will get kneed up into your intestines immediately.

Also, while I think Miley Cyrus is an idiot, she’s 20 and trying to figure out who she is and how to be herself authentically. Bless her heart, she’s doing it in front of the whole world and floundering, but that’s just where she is. You, on the other hand, are on the downslide to 40 and really ought to know better.

Plus you’re married. Do you treat your wife the same way you treat the women in your videos? Is it naive of me to think that a woman would not marry a man who stood by looking uninterested while she pranced around topless, hoping he would “give it to her”? Something about that just doesn’t say romance to me. No, I imagine you chased her. And I imagine your marriage, like most marriages that have lasted for 8 years, is one of give and take, where you each participate equally in all aspects to make it work. I imagine that this chauvinistic persona you use in your performance life is not who you are at home, and if I’m right, that makes me sad, and if I’m wrong, that makes me sad too.

Robin Thicke, I believe you have something valuable to offer the world, and now that you are in a position of influence and power, it’s time to figure out what that is because right now, what you’re offering us is more of the idea that women’s bodies belong to anyone who wants to take them, that breasts are for the entertainment of men everywhere, that a woman’s sexuality is powerless, that we should bow down in gratitude to a man who is willing to condescend to touch us, and that love and respect are not part of the deal because you literally could not care less.

I want my friends to know that what you’re selling is a lie. I want my friends’ kids to know that you are wrong. I want Miley Cyrus to know that there is more to her than her body. I want your wife to know that you are the luckiest guy in the world if she lets you anywhere near her. If you ever have a daughter, I want her to know that she is worthy of love and respect. And if I ever have a daughter, I want her to be ready at all times to knee guys in the nuts if they ever say to her, “I know you want it.”

This One Goes Out to A.C. (Not Slater)

Dear Quarter-Life Crisis Girl,

You’re 25ish, which means you’ve been out of college just long enough for you to feel like you should have it all figured out, and just not long enough for you to actually have it figured out. Actually, no. That’s not even true. I’m 32, and I’m starting to think no one ever really has it figured out. I think the best we can do is be ok with not having it all figured out and just enjoy it.

Here are some things you should be enjoying right now:

  • Your ass has not yet slid down the backs of your legs.
  • You still get a youth discount at hostels and museums all over Europe. GO TO EUROPE.
  • Your face skin is all taut and bright. Moisturize that mess. (I was a Mary Kay lady fresh out of college – weird, I know – and that was the best lesson I learned, and probably why people still don’t believe I’m over 30. Also I got good genes, but don’t let that minimize the importance of moisturization.)
  • You have a LOT of energy. Run. Play. Frolic. Fly kites. Dance at concerts late into the night on a school night. I can’t think of any more fun things. Just the thought of that last one wore me out.
  • You are fearless. I know you feel a lot of fear right now about the future, about who you are and who you’re becoming, about what you’re supposed to do in life, about what your passions are and how you’re supposed to use them, about what people will think of you if you do something crazy. But the truth is you still feel invincible enough to do the crazy things, and I say do them. Never stop doing them. Take opportunities when they come, and love every minute of it. Run a marathon, go skydiving, backpack Europe by yourself, try to eat a spoonful of cinnamon, do open-mic nights, teach English in Taiwan, participate in a flash mob. If it intrigues you, excites you, makes you feel alive, or scares the bajeebers out of you, do it. And remember the feeling.
  • You have an incredible amount of freedom. This is for those of you who are not married yet. Do you realize how much freedom you have to do…whatever the heck you want? Girl. DO IT. Live in a big city just to say you did. Go to grad school. Take road trips with your friends. Take road trips alone. Send postcards from all the random little towns you stop in for gas or Taco Bell. Drive to the beach just to watch the sunrise. Have sleep-overs. Invite me.
  • Jesus likes you. You can always enjoy this, but I think it’s important to hear when you feel like you’re doing everything in life wrong. God’s not just a cosmic score-keeper marking down all your successes and failures and making you feel guilty about the latter. And he’s not like your mom, who has to like you no matter what. He straight-up, legitimately likes you and thinks you’re awesome and is proud of you.
  • Boys make you feel giddy. Not gonna lie – boys still make me giddy, but married people seem to think this is just a phase I’m still in, so let’s all enjoy the giddiness while we’ve still got it, eh? Crushes are fun (until they’re crushing, but even then, you get to enjoy listening to really horribly sad music, eating mint-chocolate-chip ice cream and watching The Three Amigos with me, sooooo…win-win). I just looked back at my own blog from when I was 25, and I wrote a LOT about boys. And it was fun.
  • There are lots of people to love. And loving them is not always fun, but it’s worth it.
  • You fall in love really easily. Maybe not with people, but with restaurants, music, jobs (that don’t suck), activities, movies, places, ideas, books, catch phrases, oddities, stories, plans, beers, hobbies, you name it. At one point, when I was younger than you and not as wise, I said I didn’t want to throw the L-word around flippantly because I was taking love REALLY seriously and wanted to give it the weight it deserved. Now I think I probably missed out on experiencing some love because I was afraid of calling it that. I was afraid to really enjoy things because I thought I needed to be more serious and grown up.

Don’t do what I did, Quarter-Life Crisis Girl. Love the crap out of life.

I sometimes look back on my time in New York and think about how much fun it was, how I was always having adventures and seeing crazy things, but really, my life wasn’t that much different. I worked, I went to school, I went to the movies, I hung out with friends in my living room. It wasn’t all that exciting. I was just living there with a greater sense of wonder and expectancy. I was open to adventure, so I had adventure. I was captivated by love, so I felt it a lot. I was curious about people, so I was amused more often than I was annoyed.

I think these are things we can cultivate and continue throughout our lives. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m a complete lunatic, maybe it will all come crashing down around me. I don’t know, but I’m having fun. Grab a sparkler and join me!

Exercise Log

I still don’t own a scale, so I still can’t tell you if I’ve lost any weight. However, I went to Jonya’s (JBeau+Tonya’s) wedding on Saturday, and Sharon told me I looked like I’d lost weight, so there’s that. It could have just been the effect of my new under-dress casing, a fabulous item I picked up at Kohl’s, which, incidentally is basically paying me to take things off their hands at this point. Thanks, Kohl’s! And let’s talk about this casing for a moment. I call it a casing because that’s exactly what it’s like – the casing of a sausage. I shimmy myself into it, and it holds all the jigglies together. I bought this one for three reasons.

  1. It doesn’t have an underwire. It has sort of a shelf bra, so if you’re looking for something to strengthen the force of your bazooms (on high ground, close together for double the power), look elsewhere. But if you’re looking to make them less likely to fly out of your strapless dress, boom. Done.
  2. It doesn’t have any wires or plastic piping forming a constrictive cage around my torso and making me hope no one asks me to dance and then puts his hand on my back to discover I’m wearing a brace.
  3. On the tag, it said, “Fat Free Dressing.” I couldn’t resist.

But back to the topic at hand. I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight, and I’ve honestly not been doing the best job of keeping track of my calories, and I’m not exercising in the classical sense, but let me tell you about my day today.

I taught for four hours, and then I changed classrooms, taking all my crap with me, which means I:

  • did about 15 squats while holding foot-high piles of textbooks.
  • walked up and down at least 20 flights of stairs.
  • stood up for about 5 hours.
  • rearranged furniture.

Then I came home and chucked old fruit out into the woods. I mean, this is like a baseball player’s normal workout, right? I’m totally eating an Oreo.

It’s Not Easy Being Awesome

Well apparently I don’t really have time for all the awesomeness I set out to do this month, but it sure is fun trying. At this point, the list looks like this:

  1. Sidewalk chalk a driveway.
  2. Salsa dance party in my living room.
  3. Swing! (aka play on a playground)
  4. Story telling night.
  5. Four square tournament.
  6. Random dress-up night.
  7. Photo scavenger hunt.
  8. Iron Chef: Cookies (bake cookies using ingredients found in the kitchen).
  9. Beach trip! (complete with sand castle contest).
  10. People watch – make up stories about the people.
  11. Public craft night (invite passers-by to join in).
  12. Picnic.
  13. Make a friendship bracelet/mail it to a friend.
  14. Stargaze.
  15. Kickball game.
  16. Field Day!
  17. Segway tour.
  18. Rock/Wall climbing.
  19. Progressive dinner.
  20. Offer to do people’s caricatures in the park.
  21. Send a silly package.
  22. Spend a day in a podunk town just looking around.
  23. Finger paint.
  24. Bake cupcakes and give them to my neighbors.
  25. Let a child pick out an outfit for me at Goodwill. Wear it to work.
  26. Buy a plate from Goodwill, paint it to commemorate my Awesome April Adventures, and display it on my mantle.
  27. Set up a free face painting table downtown.
  28. Ride a horse.
  29. Go somewhere after hours.
  30. Ride the carousel at Pullen Park.

Not too shabby. I’ve also purchased the plate to paint, but I haven’t painted it yet, I have located children to pick out my outfit, but we haven’t gone shopping yet, and I WAS going to do the sidewalk chalking of the driveway, but that plan got rained out. Oh well. Y’all, even if I only get half of these things done, this is so much fun.

Also, in unrelated news, I’m exercising again. Today I did 30 minutes of an aerobic dance workout in my living room. If you ask really nicely, I might show you my hott new moves. But you have to say the magic word (and it’s not “please”). I also bought a Shake Weight, and while I might tell you I got it instead of the dumbbells because one Shake Weight was cheaper than two dumbbells, let’s be honest, that’s really just the excuse I gave myself. Fun times with that are on the horizon. Without a doubt. Just as long as I don’t give myself a black eye with it.

Awesome April Adventures!

Well, with just a couple of days left in March, I’ve been hard at work on my list of Awesome April Adventures. Thanks to all of you who made suggestions, the list is really quite superb. Now, they are numbered so I would know when I had enough for each day of the month, but the numbers do not in any way correspond to the dates on which I will do them. Some will clearly need to be done on a weekend due to the time they will require or the time they will require me to go to bed, but the others could happen at any time. Please let me know which ones you’d like to participate in, and I will get up with you to plan. Refer to the actual activity and not the number. You know I don’t do well with numbers. So excited, y’all! April is going to be awesome!

  1. Sidewalk chalk a driveway.
  2. Salsa dance party in my living room.
  3. Swing! (aka play on a playground)
  4. Story telling night.
  5. Four square tournament.
  6. Random dress-up night.
  7. Photo scavenger hunt.
  8. Iron Chef: Cookies (bake cookies using ingredients found in the kitchen).
  9. Beach trip! (complete with sand castle contest).
  10. People watch – make up stories about the people.
  11. Public craft night (invite passers-by to join in).
  12. Picnic.
  13. Make a friendship bracelet/mail it to a friend.
  14. Stargaze.
  15. Kickball game.
  16. Field Day!
  17. Segway tour.
  18. Rock/Wall climbing.
  19. Progressive dinner.
  20. Offer to do people’s caricatures in the park.
  21. Send a silly package.
  22. Spend a day in a podunk town just looking around.
  23. Finger paint.
  24. Bake cupcakes and give them to my neighbors.
  25. Let a child pick out an outfit for me at Goodwill. Wear it to work.
  26. Buy a plate from Goodwill, paint it to commemorate my Awesome April Adventures, and display it on my mantle.
  27. Set up a free face painting table downtown.
  28. Ride a horse.
  29. Go somewhere after hours.
  30. Ride the carousel at Pullen Park.

Adventure Time All the Time

There’s been a lot of talk in my life lately about adventure. Basically I want one. All the time, always. And I’m willing to go to great lengths to get one, which often means I leave the country. It’s almost like a drug, and my addiction to it started in high school with small things. I grew up in a small town that did not offer much in the way of wholesome entertainment for adolescents, so we had to make our own fun. They were silly things really – go to K-Mart and take pictures of each other inside big trash cans (clean ones they were selling, not dirty ones they were using), put weird things in friends’ mailboxes, sidewalk chalk friends’ driveways in the middle of the night, throw a frisbee onto the roof of the church, compile elaborate and precisely designed medleys and choreograph lip-sync routines for them. And this may come as a surprise to some of you, but we did all of these things totally sober.

The silliness continued into college, but as I got old enough and started making enough money to go on grander adventures, that is what I wanted to do. Ringing and running people’s dorm rooms just wasn’t as fun once we realized we could be at the beach at dawn and still get back in time for our 11:15 classes. Then it was driving through the night to catch a concert in Virginia Beach, a wedding in New Jersey and another concert in Raleigh all in about a 36-hour period. And before I knew it, I was on a plane to Honduras, then I was living in New York, backpacking through Europe, sleeping in airports with strangers, working at a community college in Raleigh…

Wait. Did anyone else just hear that record scratch?

The thing I love about adventure is that you come away with the best stories. I’m learning, though, that you can go on a big trip and not come away with a single awesome story, or you can stay right where you are and make your own adventure. When we were in high school, we didn’t even need to leave the neighborhood to do something we’d still be talking about fifteen years later. Shoot, when I worked at Caswell, we didn’t even have to leave the camp.

The secret is to find or make the fun wherever you are, and it can be as simple as doing something totally out of the ordinary. G.Lover and I were just on our way home from Durham, and we started talking about The Hunger Games. She hasn’t read the books yet, and I told her she could borrow my copy of the first one, but I thought it was at work. I work in a church building, and if you can believe it, those suckers gave me a key, so I suggested we go over there and get the book out of my cabinet. It was 10:30 on a Saturday night, so of course there was no one there, but we were both sort of nervous that there would be an alarm or a security person or something. And even though I’m at this place every day of the week, it felt completely wrong to be there on a weekend night. The red light coming from the exit signs was alarmingly bright, all the shadows were different, it was eerily quiet, and I was sure that the police would show up at any moment. On top of that, the book wasn’t there.

Another way to make your own fun is to develop your sense of curiosity and amusement. When I lived in New York, I was always fascinated by the people – who they were, how they became that, what they wanted, where they were going, why they were doing what they were doing. It was a never-ending source of entertainment. I miss that about NYC. I feel like people here are blander than there (friendly for sure, but nothing like this guy), but I’m starting to wonder if I came with that preconceived notion and therefore set Raleigh up to be boring before I ever arrived.

What if I spent more time out amongst the masses? What if I did more people watching and made up more stories about them? What if I made riskier mischief? What if I chose to be amused rather than annoyed? What if I spent less time watching Netflix and more time watching cloud formations or kids at the park or couch-to-5k-joggers at the lake? What if I were less concerned with my to-do list and more psyched about my karaoke song list, less worried about losing 20 pounds and more excited about salsa dance parties in my living room, less afraid of what people might think of my writing and more curious about what my characters might do? What if I had more fun on purpose? This sounds pretty awesome.

So here’s what I propose: For the month of April, I will do something creative, out of the ordinary, borderline crazy or just totally different every day in the name of fun and adventure. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I’m not promising I’ll do all the suggestions, and I will not sacrifice my morals or my sleep for any of them, but other than that, I am open to taking risks. And if you want to join me for any of them, I’d love that. Love it. Please join me.

Suggestions can be little things I can do it five minutes or big things that’ll take me a whole weekend. Whatever you’ve got, shoot.