The Summer of Awesome – Day 34

And here we are!

Exactly 2 months later and The Summer of Awesome featuring The Book of Awesome is coming to an end!

I can honestly say, I thought I would have given up at some point. 😛 I didn’t think I’d have the discipline to actually go through reading – and writing – about each of the 201 topics, but I did and I’m pretty proud of that. It was much harder to force myself to write about something that I didn’t have to submit to a professor or that had deadlines and it was even more hard to force myself to turn my computer on in this day and age of Smartphones.

If I continue to write (which I am definitely hoping to), I think I’ll have to make a proper space to do so, though, because trying to write on a laptop without a desk… isn’t exactly helpful for my old lady back.

Kudos to any of you who actually took the time to read my rambles, and more than that, THANK YOU for doing so! I appreciate the support, even if it was just a click here or a skim there. And I hope that somewhere along the way I managed to entertain you with my anecdotes and silliness.

So, here we go, the final four…

(197) Driving through your old neighbourhood and stopping to see the house you grew up in (pg 371)

I have lived in three houses in my life (and one apartment when I went away for school for eight months).

One house I don’t really remember all that well because we moved when I was still in kindergarten. I have vague, dream-like memories of this one… Things that I am never actually sure are real, until I ask my parents or siblings if I was remembering things correctly.

One house was literally my childhood home. We lived there for ten years from when I was in kindergarten, all the way up until Grade 8. We moved to my current house when I started high school.  I have fantastic memories of this second house – playing outside in the sprinklers, running around playing hide and seek with my friends and cousins, finding my first budgie – Joey – outside on the fence one day, and many, many other wonderful things.

We’ve lived at our current house for twice as long, but maybe because I was already a teenager by the time we moved here, I am not as emotionally attached to this one. (Probably doesn’t help that circulation is awful and it’s always too hot in the summer – I am boiling right now and freezing cold in the winter.) I do have good memories though, mostly tied to my niece, nephew and Indy.

Funny enough, my “childhood” home, the one I lived in for ten years, actually isn’t far from my current house at all… I see it pretty regularly, but… it’s not the same.

I don’t mean that in the sentimental, “Times have changed, and I’ve grown” variety – I mean, literally, the entire house looks COMPLETELY different.

One of the families who moved in over the last (almost) 20 years, changed the entire facade; it’s made of brand new bricks and isn’t even the same colour. Trees that I remember from when I was a kid have been torn down and, instead, a huge fountain was put up. (My dad once promised me a fountain… he never put it in, then years later I saw that someone had. How strange is that?)

I have relatives and childhood friends who’ve told me that they’ve gone down my old street, kept an eye out for my house and weren’t able to spot it anywhere. That doesn’t surprise me at all given how much it’s changed! I’ve even taken my cousin with me, pointed it out to her and she didn’t believe that that was the house where she used to sleep over and we’d always play.

In some ways, it’s sad, seeing your childhood home get so revamped and changed, but on the other, it retains your memories, because you realize no one will ever have the exact same experiences there that you did.

Part of me does wonder if my name is still written anywhere in the house, though… Goodness knows, my ten year old self tried to leave my mark in various places. 😛

(198) The last day of school (pg 374)

I’ll let you in on a little secret, kids may love the last day of school, but…

Teachers love it more.

Don’t get me wrong, as a student, there’s nothing like the last week of school leading up to that inevitable freedom, but when you’re a kid, your only responsibilities are your own; that is – you’re in charge of your schoolwork, your projects, your homework, your own well-being…

As a teacher, you’re in charge of marking everyone’s schoolwork, everyone’s projects, everyone’s homework and, most strenuous of all, caring for everyone’s well-being!

That can get tiring and stressful and believe me when I say, teachers deserve – and really look forward to – that two months off (which, in truth, really only works out to about six weeks, if not less, between planning, workshops and having to go back to set up and prep the classroom).

And what’s on the opposite side of the love-spectrum from the last day? You got it – the first! Luckily, here, that was about two weeks back, so I can assure you, the countdown to June 2018 has already begun… 😛

(199) When you’re right near the end of the book (pg 376)

Whether I’ve loved a book or hated it, when I reach the last few pages I get really antsy.

The type of antsy will depend on how I felt about the book:

If I didn’t like it – I’m just eager to be done and am skimming through as quickly as I can to say I finished it (e.g. The Hobbit, I threw it in the air when I got to the last page).

If I loved it – I’m eager to hold on to the characters and don’t want to get through quickly, but at the same time, I want to see how the story ends (e.g. The Help, I loved it so much that I watched the movie almost immediately after I finished and am glad to say I enjoyed that just as much).

Since I also like to keep lists of books I’ve read, that’s another reason I get antsy, just knowing I am a few seconds away from adding yet another book to my list!

For anyone curious, The Book of Awesome is my 6th book read for September – as I go by “Finished” date, instead of start date; my 49th book for the year; and my 321st listed on my GoodReads “Read” list, which, generally is made up of books, comics, plays, short stories, etc. that I have read from age 13 onward. Slowly, but steadily, making my way to that 500 book goal!

(200) Smiling and thinking of good friends who are gone (pg 378)

This story about Neil Pasricha’s friend was so bittersweet because you could tell where it was headed from the title. Such a sad story, but he was lucky to have such a wonderful friend in his life for the short time that he did.

Given my (relatively) young age, I’ve actually known a few too many people who’ve passed away, including some childhood classmates and friends. Two particularly come to mind for me, because now I sometimes work at my old elementary school and am reminded of them often.

One of these friends passed away from cancer, just after high school, and it was quite a significant blow because I had just seen her when we were doing our grad photos about two months earlier and she seemed to be doing quite well, much better than she had been… I remember when my sister told me my childhood friend had passed away, it was really hard to take in and believe.

She was so sweet, always happy to chat. We were close friends when we were very little, I think she may have actually been one of my first friends in kindergarten or grade 1; I remember her from way back. She was such a sweet girl, so incredibly beautiful, inside and out.

Another friend passed away a few years ago from, I’ve heard, complications from pneumonia. He and I hadn’t really seen each other in person or spoken for years.  This wasn’t for any reason, just circumstances of not seeing each other as you grow up and grow apart as you do, but as children, he was one of my closest friends and I has such amazing memories of him.

He, my best friend and I were a little trio for a long time. She used to go to daycare with him and a lot of my family used to work and volunteer at the daycare, so we all got to know each other very well. I always have this one very distinct memory of the time my best friend got this ludicrously bright pink puffy coat one winter and he and I made her run to the complete opposite side of our school yard, just to see if we could still spot her… and we did. We laughed so much (much to my best friend’s dismay). I also remember that he was very afraid of my brother and would hide from him…

While writing these stories, and thinking back on these friends, I did tear up a little, but smiled too. You really do remember how lucky you were to have such wonderful people in your life and hope that that little bit of time you were in their life, that you added something special for them too – a kind word, a hug, a memory…

It’s hard to lose friends, especially at such a young age, and so unexpectedly. Life’s truly not fair and doesn’t often make sense, so I’ve learned we need to cherish what we have when we have it.

(201) Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now (pg 382) 

Just like I said – cherish what you have when you have it!

I’ve read and learned a lot about the importance of gratitude in the last few years. It can get way to easy to complain about all that’s wrong and take for granted all that’s right in your life. I, like most everyone, have easily fallen into this trap.

And I’m not going to pretend it’s easy either, especially when you’re feeling down. A lot of books on self-help, spirituality, philosophy and the like suggest listing out things you’re grateful for, to foster more gratitude, but I’ll be the first person to tell you that when you feel crummy, those things may not be on the forefront of your mind and sometimes they might feel really forced.

What I tend to do is, start small – think of one thing that (usually) makes you smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling. Then think of another, and another, and so on, until, eventually, you might start to feel a little bitter, even if just one out of the bunch gets you remembering something good. It’s not a quick fix for depression or anxiety – I, unfortunately, don’t know that there is even such a thing anywhere – but at least it helps you to swap your thinking a bit more.

And so, at the end of all this, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to read this book and take on this project. It may have just been for my own sake, really, just to get me writing and remembering some awesome things in life, but it’s been fun to do.

Even though I had to push myself to actually write at times, I really do feel like doing this reminded me how much I like writing. Sure, I still need to practice at it to get past the bad habits that texting and social media have now ingrained in me, but at least I got started in some way!

So…

Thank you, followers and readers, for coming along!

Thank you, friends and family, who may not have even known I was doing this – and probably most still don’t – and contributing a lifetimes’ worth of memories and anecdotes that I’ve been able to include along the way.

And thank you, most of all, to Neil Pasricha, for writing The Book of Awesome and inspiring me to write on my own blog again.

And now…

On to the next project?

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*One last note: If there were any big mistakes or typos anywhere along my way, sorry for that! I tended to just write and write and write, without any actual editing or re-reading. Maybe that’s something I’ll have to think about in my next go-round with the whole blog thing… 😛

 

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The Summer of Awesome – Day 33

This is the last FULL post on The Book of Awesome people! My very last post will have less entries because that’s just how it worked out.

I can’t believe I’ve just about made it through finding things to respond to and talk about on all 200+ topics…

(192) Watching your odometer click over a major milestone (pg 359)

This reminded me of a particular scene in my favourite show King of the Hill, but unfortunately I can’t seem to find the it online anywhere.  In it, Hank is so excited that his car is about to turn over to 100,000 miles, but he gets just unlucky enough to miss it and sees it at 100,001.

When the same happened in real life in my sister’s old car, she and I made sure to drive around until we could actually see it happen. It was a ridiculous thing to do and, sure, a waste of gas, but made for a pretty hilarious memory. I, sadly, never got to see the same of the first car I ever drove because I got into an accident and it had to be scrapped. 😦 I am hoping I will get that exciting moment with my current car, but it will be quite a while yet because I rarely ever drive very far!

The other thing that’s very similar to this is when it’s New Year’s Eve and you just wait to see your clock switch over to the next year at midnight. Yet, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve either:

  1.  Not really paid attention – one year in my late teens, I actually was on the computer at midnight and looked at 11:59 then forgot to look back until 12:02, so missed it
  2. Dozed off or been very ready to!

In these days, when midnight hits on New Year’s Eve, it’s more likely I’m celebrating staying awake than I am the passing of a year!

(193) Mastering the art of the all-you-can-eat buffet (pg 361)

Our buffet of choice around here is Mandarin and not so much because it’s great, but because there aren’t very many options. When I was a kid, we used to frequent a buffet called Town & Country that I really loved and have great memories of – most specifically because it was the first place I ever tried cottage cheese!

As a kid, I actually have no idea what cottage cheese was and because it was always located next to baby corn, I thought it was just some special side dish you were only allowed to have WITH baby corn. I also had no idea it was something you could buy in regular stores and thought it was only available at this one restaurant. It blew my MIND when one day, my mom came home from the grocery store with a tub of the MAGIC FOOD that I’d only ever seen at that restaurant.

But that’s what makes buffets so special, isn’t it? They can introduce you to foods you would never try anywhere else and if you don’t like it, that’s totally fine – you can just take a little for a taste and not get penalized by having to pay for an entire meal of just that food.

At Mandarin, we’ve all got our personal favourites at this point too – like my niece who’s all about sushi and chocolate covered marshmallows and my nephew who is a fan of torpedo shrimp. For me, personally, I am enamored with their chocolate chip cookies, coconut cream pie, waffles and GIANT BOWL of whipped cream that I could, easily, eat all by myself…

So… Desserts.

Pretty much that’s all I’m there for. 😛

In terms of new things I tried that I wouldn’t usually, I realized how much I like fish by eating at this buffet. I never really ate fish before that, but they have a great battered fish and even a pretty tasty salmon… Having had both of those there, now I am more likely to try fish at home and elsewhere too.

(194) Finding money in your old coat pocket (pg 365)

Right away, I thought of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry finds he’s “even Steven” on everything and when Elaine throws away $20 to see if he manages to get it back, he finds a surprise $20 in his pocket.

I can’t think of a time this has happened to me, but goodness knows I’d totally welcome it! The closest to was when I thought I only had a $5 left in my wallet and there was a secret $20 stuck to it! (We have some really weird bills in Canada now that aren’t actually made of paper, but are some strange plastic that is difficult to fold and easily stuck together… You’d think being plastic they also wouldn’t break that easily either, but recently my dad got one that was totally ripped in half from the bank, so it’s not really all that great that way.)

(195) The Laugh Echo (pg 367)

In this entry, Neil Pasricha mentions that Wikipedia says “laughing is great for us” and that reminded me of those classes that have popped up where you’re supposed to laugh for the good of your health – apparently it’s referred to as Laughter Yoga.” 

That’s not something I think I could get on board with…

Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and think it’s a wonderful thing, but remember when I said if you’re smiling when you don’t want to be you start to look a little crazy…?

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Yeah.

So I feel like I would be a little too creeped out the entire “Laughter Yoga” session, wondering if The Joker is somewhere, secretly forcing us all to do this for some odd reason.

Also, I have times where even when I’m sitting alone in a room and laugh-out-loud (literally) at a show I find it very strange to just hear myself laugh… to nobody. I find this has happened to me often in the last few years while watching The Big Bang Theory in particular, which actually ties back to the whole “laugh echo” concept because I’ll suddenly remember a really ridiculous scene and start laughing at it out of nowhere.

In case you are someone who doesn’t really care for The Big Bang Theory or doesn’t think it’s as funny as people say… Watch this scene and try not to laugh. Still not convinced? Here are two other favourites that I sometimes just think about at random and start laughing.

(196) Crying (pg 369)

I get what he’s saying, a “good cry” is definitely something it’s helpful to have from time to time, but there was a point in my life (about six years ago) when I cried way to much, to the point that I don’t know that I can ever think of crying as something “awesome.”

Just a piece of advice: if you’re crying every single day – that’s not normal.

I was going through some really rough times at the point in my life and told myself if I powered through, it was just my circumstances, and that things would eventually get better in time…

Truthfully, they did get better, but only once the person that was causing me to cry that much left my life.

Being on the other side of that tough time, I started to look back and realize just how unnatural it was for me to be crying that much… especially since I definitely don’t cry that much now.

If you’re finding yourself in a situation where this happens to you, take a good look at what’s causing you to feel that way, and get help however you need it. Talk to your friends, talk to a counselor or therapist, cut out that factor in your life that is making you so depressed.

But also remember, once you’ve figured out what’s depressing you, that it is okay to cry when you need to.

Like I said, being happier now and on the other side of all that, I can be more discerning about what was going on. It did take me a while to realize that it’s okay to cry when you need to – I used to fight crying at all because I went through too much of it.

Now, I feel good enough to do so when something gets to me (sometimes that’s a sad situation, like our dear Indy passing away, sometimes it can just be a movie that really gets to me, like War of the Planet of the Apes).

Hell, Neil Pasricha even mentions that crying “releases a bunch of wacky hormones” and “balances your stress level” – so it’s good for your body to do from time to time. I suffer from migraines and sinus issues and have cried from the pain being too much and have actually found, sometimes… crying can actually alleviate my sinus pressure. I don’t know that there’s a scientific reason for it, but it has happened in the past. Maybe it’s just that I give in and let the floodgates open to release some of the tension my pain has cause me, but whatever the reason, I’ve learned, it’s okay to cry – now and then.

Well, that’s (almost) it! Five days of summer left and one post to go!

The Summer of Awesome – Day 32

We’re at the tail-end here, friends. As of this post, I have less than 50 pages left of The Book of Awesome – which means less than 20 awesome things for me to write about.

So without further ado, #s 186 through 191…

(186) When you spill something on your shirt and it doesn’t leave a stain (pg 348)

You have NO idea what a win moments like these are for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I am extremely clumsy and a big klutz. It’s a well-known fact among my family that I am liable to drop something on myself. My dad and I, both, actually. Somehow, it especially seems to happen if we just put on something nice or brand new.

I’ve taken to wearing my apron while eating if I have something nice on to prevent myself from getting any stains, like it’s just a giant bib.

Case and point, my friends’ family threw her an anniversary party recently and I was getting hungry before we left, so this is what I resorted to to keep drippy Wow Butter off myself…

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Yes I am wearing a Batman apron over my dress

I actually have a very nice apron too that kind of looks like a dress, but somehow I always lean towards the Batman one when trying to protect my clothes too. Maybe I want all the added gravitas of a superhero to help fight stains…?

(187) Finding the last item of your size at the store (pg 350)

For most of my teen and adult life, I was very used to being a large, then I shifted into X-Large and that made me feel slightly crummy about myself. After a while, I worked really hard – ate properly, exercised and WOW, I actually made it into the medium and even SMALL clothing territory.

Weirdly, once I did… I could never find clothes in my size… And all I kept seeing were sizes 12, 14 and 16… things I would’ve fit intowhen I had more weight on me!

Right when I started to get used to being a Medium/Small, though, and actually did start to find clothes in my size that I really liked… I gained all the weight back.

Three years have passed since I started to gain the weight – it all started from when I was very sick with the ear infection, thus was rendered incapacitated.  This was followed by wisdom tooth surgery, which was then closely followed by a wedding – I think I gained 15-20lbs within those few months alone and it only grew more after that!

I am, for the most part, back up to a large/x-large territory, but… now I can’t find any of THOSE clothes when I want them. Isn’t that just always the way?!

I still have some of the small/medium clothes I bought in my closet that I never got the opportunity to wear. In particular, there is a lovely pair of red skinny jeans that I am keeping in the hopes that they’ll motivate me into fitting into them again one day.

By now, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am not in my twenties anymore and the old ease of losing weight I once had isn’t as likely, BUT I also believe with a little work I can get down significantly.

Until then, yes, it is pretty sweet when I go to the store and find clothes just in my size (whatever the heck that may be at this point! I literally can fit anything from a S to a XXL depending on the clothing item…).

(188) When the boss goes out of town (pg 353)

I don’t exactly work in an office, and I feel like this is more in relation to people in those kinds of settings. I imagine it must be a pretty great feeling though, especially if you work somewhere where your boss can peer over and keep tabs on you all the time. (Or watch you through CCTV):

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(189) Getting out of the car and stretching at the highway rest stop (pg 354)

Right away, this brought to mind what my sister and I affectionately call “The Tim Hortons and Washroom Tour of Eastern Canda” aka, a bus trip we took through the Maritime provinces ten years ago.

I wasn’t really eager to go on this trip, to be honest – I was young and adventure-starved and wanted to go somewhere really flashy. Particularly, I wanted to go here:

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Neuschwanstein Castle aka “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle”

Buuuut a trip to Europe was RIDICULOUSLY expensive (especially given that I wouldn’t get my 2nd shoe store job until right after the East Coast trip), and so my sister suggested we go for something a bit more local.

I wasn’t convinced that it was going to be all that fun… But now, ten years later, I can say, very certainly, that it was my favourite trip we’ve ever taken! We managed to do so many fun things that I never would have done, like see the world’s largest lobster statue, the Hopewell “Flower Pot” Rocks, visit Peggy’s Cove and, way back from Day 1 – my first time playing on a See-Saw, among many, many other things.

I wish I could still handle sitting for the long hours that it takes to go on a bus tour like this because, truly, it was the best way to do things. We didn’t have to plan a single thing, the price of hotels was included, we were taken to all the best sites and along the way, I got to read books and they showed us a bunch of movies that weren’t that bad either on the bus (I finally watched The Day After Tomorrow on this trip, after a couple years of my sister telling me to watch it).

Even with all the amazing things we did, what stuck out most was that everywhere we went, we would have to take rest stops and washroom breaks – and 90% of the time, it was at a Tim Hortons.  This is how we ended up naming the trip. 😛

(190) Planning for snoozes (pg 355)

I used to be really good about waking up early. When I was in my mid-twenties, I could wake up on the first ring and be ready to go.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, that turned into one snooze, then two snoozes… until the point I’ve reached now, where I can have an alarm everyone 5 minutes and I’ll still manage to turn right over and fall back asleep.

I’ve even had times where I’ve woken up at 5am, 6am, 7am… even looked at my phone and responded to messages and then suddenly woken up three hours later, not even realizing I’d done that.

You know what I blame for all of this (aside from my lack of self-control 😛 ), SMARTPHONES.

Previous to the ability to make an alarm for literally every minute, I just used to have a plain ol’ alarm clock, which would blare staticky radio at me and I would have to obey it. Now, you have these really, not that offensive, alarms that I just happen to tune out. (Thankfully, not to the point of missing work…yet).

I suppose I could go back to using my alarm clock, I do still have one. Buuuut… I like my sleep. 😛

(191) New socks day (pg 357)

I understand this very well. I gave in and bought a new pack of socks after trying to make the most of my previous pack for as long as possible, but once they start piling and making giant holes, you just have to admit, it’s time to give up on them,

My new socks were so fluffy and wonderful. They made me wonder, “Is this what socks are really meant to be like?!?”

Now I want to hoard the good ones for as long as possible too, but I must remember, at one time… this was also true of my crappy socks, and that’s exactly how they turned into the crappy socks! Oh the horrible [laundry] cycle!

Well, that’s all for today! Soon… the last two posts!

The Summer of Awesome – Day 31

Edited to add: WordPress just informed me that this was my 100th post! How exciting! I had no idea that I had almost 70 posts before I started on The Book of Awesome. I guess I wrote more than even I realized.

Well, congrats to me, and onwards with this post:

With only exactly a week until summer is done, it’s really strange, but the weather suddenly got very hot outside!

According to The Weather Network – it currently feels like 30 degrees! Given that earlier in the week it went down to 15, I can’t say I expected this at all. Usually at this time of year, once it cools down, that’s that! But surprisingly we just got a burst of random warmth that might last until the end of the month.

I wouldn’t mind at all if it does because as a child it was always cold on my birthday (which is in a little over a week too!). I always wanted an ice cream cake, but, alas, I was told time and again that “September is too cold for ice cream cake!” (I finally did get an ice cream cake on my 20th birthday, which I remember was also quite warm.)

But weather aside, summer still officially ends on September 22nd  (though on the other side of the equator, for you folks summer is just beginning! Enjoy it!). Before that happens, let’s hope I can finish this book and these posts…

(180) Getting something with actual handwriting on it in the mail (pg 332)

A few years ago, my best friend moved to England for school and while she was there she fell in love! That was great for her, but sad for me… She was only meant to be there for a year, but as of this year she’s celebrating five years of living in the U.K.

The one good thing that came out of this is that she constantly sends me hand written postcards. I’ve always loved cards from my best friend to begin with because she writes the most hilarious and random things, but when you get something like that in the mail? It’s literally one of the best things ever.

(181) Building an amazing couch-cushion fort (pg 335)

My sister and dad have always been master fort builders. As a kid, they made forts for me and my cousins regularly when we’d have play dates and sleepovers, using just chairs and sheets. It sounds really simple, but I once remember attempting this as a child myself and it just wouldn’t work out as well!

The sheet would droop in all the wrong spots, or I’d use the wrong chairs and they’d fall over and cause a big mess. Somehow, they just did it so easily and it came out amazingly well.

Fast forward to twenty (plus) years later, and my sister is proved she’s still fantastic at this by building a tent fort for my niece and nephew recently. Even all these years later, I was still blown away by the skill.

This also brought to mind when my sister and I went on a trip through the East Coast of Canada ten years ago and we stayed at a really nice hotel in Fredericton. What do you do when you’re in a nice hotel that gives you an abundance of pillows?

Build a pillow fort – OBVIOUSLY!

I know I have a photo of this fort somewhere, but was going through my old photos and can’t seem to find it. So you’re just going to have to do with a picture of Homer’s dream “Fort Adventure” instead…

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(182) Gym pain (pg 338)

I am not a gym person – never have been, never will be. The idea of exercising out in the open around people isn’t for me.

If I ever did go to the gym, I know exactly what I’d be like – Lorelai and Rory.

Instead of going to the gym and faking like I’m doing something, I tend to exercise at home, thanks to the beauty that is YouTube work out videos.  I may not know the “gym” pain, but I do know the pain that comes from working out and exercising. The worst is when you haven’t done so in a while and then the next morning you wake up and think “WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!”

Sometimes, it’s a good feeling because you know you’re in pain for a reason, and you’re not just waking up in the morning with aches and pains out of nowhere (and believe me, that happens more often than not in these days for me…)

Still, I wish this pain would pass quicker because it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re already aching. Some people can use that as motivation. For me… it’s just motivation to sit my butt down on the couch and not get up. 😛

(183) Squeezing through a door as it’s shutting without touching it (pg 341)

Ahh the germaphobe’s greatest moment!

I wouldn’t say I am a germaphobe, myself, but even I get such pleasure out of not having to grab the door at times.

The best is when you’re multitasking – texting, talking to someone, reading – and you just catch the door closing from the corner of your eye and squeeze in like some master thief or spy, dodging laser beams… Or, as he says, Indiana Jones, making it under the door in the last second!

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(184) Snow days (pg 342)

Did you know, snow days aren’t even really a thing at many schools?

I can’t really speak for all schools and school boards, but I do know that around here – they never actually close the schools. At best, if you hear that there’s been a “school bus cancellation” then that means the school, most likely, isn’t going to be running like usual (and, possibly, you might end up being the only ones there – as happened to me and my brother when he used to volunteer at my elementary school and we trekked there on a snowy, icy day, only to find out…no one came in that day.)

Maybe this is because as Canadians we’re meant to have a thicker skin when it comes to snow. But let me tell you something, 30 years of winter and I am DONE WITH IT.

I have said this to people in the past and they’ve just chuckled or laughed it off, adding “But it’s so nice to have different seasons!”

Is it, though…

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Any excuse to add Loki to a post, I’ll take it… 😛

I can tell you exactly when something snapped in me and made me hate winter, too.

It was lo those many years ago (4 years back) when we had a particularly brutal winter – ice storms, power outages, -40 degree whether.

Additionally, I happened to be the lowest weight I’d ever been, which seemed amazing at first, but I soon learned that when you are really thin you have very little protection against the cold. (See Tina Fey’s Bossypants, where she also discusses this phenomenon!). I caught a chill around November that year and it didn’t go away for the ENTIRE winter.

The brutal winter of 2013 was bad in many ways – we actually started to get something called ice quakes which, if you’ve never experienced it, is an extremely loud sonic boom that sounds like something is exploding. When we first heard it, we all thought something – truck, bus – had hit our house! Took about a few days, but eventually other people started hearing them too and it was then explained in the news. Until that point, we started to worry that ice had accumulated in our attic and was falling down.

On top of all this, a lot of people lost power, and right around Christmas too. We were actually extremely lucky to still have power, but my brain couldn’t handle all of this insanity it anymore. One night when it got really bad, I looked out the window (sans glasses or contacts) and saw the trees across the street that I had seen there pretty much my entire life had become so icy that they had all broken and my favourite one had SPLIT RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE. Without my glasses on, it looked like some really freaky angel of death

All of it was just too much for me to take.

The cold, the chill, the fact that I had just got a job over 30km away and had to drive in this madness (thank goodness for my dad because he always offered to drive me on really crazy days and thank goodness for my amazing supervisor who let me work from home whenever I could). Also, I kept getting really sick in weird ways that winter too (what happened a few months later? DEAF MAKING EAR INFECTION OF DOOM!)

*Shudder*

The other time in my life that I can think of that possibly started this hate for snow and winter was when I went away for school. I moved only about 2 hours away to do a Masters program, but ended up right in the snow belt, apparently.

And wouldn’t you know it, that just happened to be the year that city got it’s WORST snowfall in, I think they said, 50 years or so…

I was on the bus going back when I got a text from my friend saying that the school was shutting down… (And it actually stayed closed for two or three days, which is saying something because that NEVER happens, even at Universities!) I could have stayed home, but sadly, by then I was already trapped on the bus. A usual 2 hour bus ride took almost 5 that day…

The weirdest thing was that for most of the trip, you wouldn’t even realize the snow was that bad, it was only when you got about a half hour away from my school that suddenly you realized you’d reached Snowmaggedon!

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Me, to winter

This was about 3 years before the brutal winter, so those two coupled together can explain exactly why I loathe winter now…

If I could hibernate, I would.

The bears have it right, friends. The bears have it right…

(185) The first time you fly alone (pg 345)

I’ve never actually flown anywhere on my own! I’ve travelled places on my own (see, the aforementioned university 2 hours away), but have never taken a plane alone.

To be honest, when I moved for school, I was really worried about my ability to fend for myself. I remember, very clearly, having a day when I thought “I’m such a ditz! How am I going to make it back and forth without forgetting things all the time?!”

Well, ditzes and klutzy people everywhere – I am your success story!

Despite my qualms and fears, I managed to make it through my year, going back and forth often, without ever once forgetting anything important. I also learned that I actually quite like doing things on my own and travelling on me own. To this day, I often enjoy outings on my own (which I find some people don’t quite understand, but maybe it’s an introvert thing).

As a youngest child, I think it’s particularly difficult to make that transition from being looked after to having to look after one’s self. When you travel as a youngest child, everyone kind of takes care of everything for you – they bring you snacks and tell you where to go and carry everything important for fear that you’ll lose it.

Then you grow up and have to do it for yourself and panic sets in – why did no one ever prepare you for this?!

Maybe that’s not true of all youngest children, but I was a youngest child by a wide margin, so I not only had parents who were in charge of things, but my extra set of “parents,” who were in charge of anything else that was needed or left behind.

I guess one day I’ll have to fly on my own to see how far I’ve really come in my ability to be an “independent and capable person in charge of [my] own life.”

And that’s that for today. Only 3 more posts to go!

 

The Summer of Awesome – Day 30!

With 8 days left of (actual) Summer, I am down to the last five posts on The Book of Awesome!

I am hoping to get them all wrapped up a few days before the 22nd as I have some things going on right before that, so with further ado, let’s get to it…

(174) Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants (pg 314)

I only learned secret menus were a thing when I started seeing posts about all the different drinks you could ask Starbucks baristas to make for you that aren’t actually listed. (And was only really intrigued because of the idea for a Butterbeer drink, which I wasn’t able to get in the end because of nuts being an ingredient).

Then I found out there are ways you can order secret things from all sorts of places!

Of all the ones Neil Pasricha lists out in this entry, I think these are the ones I’d be most inclined to try:

  • McDonald’s – Fries with Big Mac Sauce: This might be THE most brilliant thing anyone has ever come up with. I first had fries with mayo in Montreal and thought that was the most brilliant, but this has just blown that idea out of the water for me
  • Subway – the old cut: I remember this fondly from my childhood! I don’t know that the “old cut” served any real purpose and was probably just more tedious to do, but he’s right about how the little bits of your sandwich meat that came out the sides always seemed to taste better somehow. I wonder how many people who work at Subway restaurants these days even know about this…
  • Starbucks – the short cup: I figured this one out on my own by looking at the lids and noticing a “short” version. I am really glad I did discover this too because occasionally I want to try their fancy new lattes and so forth, but don’t know if I can handle all the sugar they throw into them. One time they had a drink (ON the menu) that was touted as the closest thing you could get to a “Butterbeer” and it ended up tasting like PURE LIQUID SUGAR. I love sugar…but I love it in cookies and cake, I don’t need to drink it straight up! Even though I got the Short, I only drank half. I felt a little better about the fact that it was smaller and I hadn’t spent as much on it as I would for a Tall when I checked it out. (I actually made a smiley face in the snow with it and kind of hoped it tricked people into thinking it was pee… I’m sophisticated like that. 😛 )

(175) Paying for something with exact change (pg 319)

Confession time: I have an irrational dislike for nickels.

I don’t know why.

In truth, I should dislike dimes more because when they fall down they’re so thin and tiny, so they’re harder to pick up.  When you’re counting change out – especially while working in retail – dimes are, definitely, the hardest to keep track of too. And yet… I really don’t like nickels instead…

I’d say it’s because of the progression of size, but then, again, I should be mad at the dimes! The dimes are probably only saved from my ire by the fact that they’re kind of cute since they’re so tiny. Maybe I have it in for nickels because they’re a little thicker and so I have this idea that they take up more weight in my change purse?

Whatever the reason is, whenever I get the chance to pay in exact change, I am always trying to get rid of my nickels first. Now, in Canada, we don’t have pennies in circulation anymore either, so nickels are the smallest possible denomination too, so at least I get opportunities to get rid of them.

I feel I should at the end of all this, that unlike 99% of Canadians, despite my irrational dislike of nickels… I actually don’t hate Nickelback. 😛

(176) Absolute perfect silence (pg 321)

Silence is unnerving to me. I talk a lot and am probably always the first person to break an uncomfortable silence…

I can’t even remember the last time I was anywhere that was totally silence, but the thought of makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.

Funny story – apparently, when we first moved to my hometown my siblings had a hard time with it because they found it too quiet after coming from a busier city feeling. Now, 25+ years later, it’s hard to imagine my hometown being quiet at all!

(177) The first shower you take after not showering for a really long time (pg 325)

Right away, reading this, I thought of one of the hardest things I’ve faced in recent years – when I got ear surgery in an attempt to improve my (aforementioned) damaged ear.

After I was inflicted with a horrible ear infection, I was left with a punctured ear drum and so, around eighteen months later, got a “tympanoplasty” – i.e. surgery to restructure my ear drum.

Sadly, despite a good three or four months of improved hearing and everything seemingly going well, my weakened immune system and terrible allergies caused my ear drum to burst once again… And now I just have to deal with the partial hearing loss.

As part of my surgery, I had to have my head cut slightly right behind my ear so that my doctor could have easy access to my ear drum. Also, as part of this, they had to shave part of my hair in that area. I was not aware that they’d have to shave part of my hair! I was under the impression that they’d just cut where there was already no hair. You can imagine my surprise when, while half delirious still from anesthesia, I took out my hair tie and a HUGE chunk of hair came with it!

Also as part of this surgery, because you can’t risk getting water into the ear and having it get infected… you can’t take a shower… for a while.

I felt DISGUSTING. My ear was all packed up, and the back of my head felt slightly sticky from where it was cut and the stitches. Not being able to wash my hair was the worst feeling.

After a while, because my hair was pretty oily, though, I was able to style it in different ways. If you watch enough YouTube videos on how to do hair (something I am already really bad at), you’ll hear more often than not “Don’t do this with freshly washed hair!” Apparently having oily/slightly dirty hair makes it more malleable for things like curls and various styles.

At one point I noticed I looked like Natalie Dormer in The Hunger Games movie series – only a lot less intense. 😛

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OK, so I only had it shaved slightly around my ear, but I definitely felt like this… (Not as badass, though. 😛 )

(178) The smell of gasoline (pg 327)

The weird thing about the smell of gasoline is that it’s apparently added in – or at least that’s what I’ve learned from Ross on Friends

I actually just learned from a quick Google search that – as long as what this person said is accurate – what we actually smell is the most volatile components of gasoline.

Either way, whatever the reasoning, the smell of gas… is oddly enjoyable. I don’t think it’s really meant to be, but it is. I’m sure there are people who can’t stand it, or think it’s awful, but I like the smell, myself.

That being said, gas stations on the whole, kind of freak me out! One day, when it hit me that the gas has to come from somewhere, which means it’s all sitting there under the ground being pumped up and into our tanks, it really freaked me out.

To be fair, before that, I never used to pump my own gas – I didn’t have a car, so didn’t need to. Once I started driving and would get gas myself, knowing explosive material just sat there under the ground and I had to maneuver my car properly onto the site that contains all of it, well, that ignited my anxiety, a bit…

I’m proud to say I’ve overcome this enough to go get my own gas, but I rarely ever go to a gas station other than my local one if I can help it because at least I am fairly comfortable driving in and out of there.

Let’s be honest, I’m just trying my best to avoid a Zoolander incident…

(179) Your pillow (pg 329)

Ahh my pillow. Recently I had to retire my actual pillow because it just got too lumpy, but I’ve already got to work on my current one.

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You see, much like Homer when the carnies come to stay and mush up his “ass-groove,” I need to make the perfect head groove where I can stick my big noggin.

Maybe it’s not the best for my neck to have this flattened indentation and probably explains why I started to get upper back and neck pains recently, but it’s just too comfortable having that spot where you know your head will fit so perfectly!

And that’s the reason why my pillow must forever stay as my pillow.

Anyone can feel free to borrow the pillow from the side I don’t sleep on as much, or my extra pillow that I use to prop myself up when reading or going on my computer, but there’ll be no sharing of my actual pillow because otherwise this would be me (only, you know, with my head… 😛 )

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The Summer of Awesome – Day 29

The last few days have been ridiculously tiring and amazing all in one. I have met quite a few celebrities and got some amazing stories out of it, but just the quick rundown of who I saw most recently:

Jessica Chastain
Idris Elba
James McAvoy
Andrew Garfield
Andy Serkis
Claire Foy
Liam Neeson

SUCH amazing people and so, so gracious and kind. I am actually planning, once I am done with  The Book of Awesome (soon!), to create a GIGANTIC list of every single celebrity I have ever seen or met (“met” in this context means anyone that I have interacted with, talked to and/or have had them talk to me).

The list of celebs I’ve come across is a big one, so I’m thinking I might just make a list of EVERYONE first, then differentiate by Seen and Met or something along those lines… And/or adding the circumstances. I think I am going to try to go chronologically, as much as possible, rather than alphabetically (and still haven’t decided if I’ll include ALL the Bollywood people because that could be a WHOLE list all on its own…)

We’ll see! I’ll figure that out in time. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how you’d like to see it, let me know!

For now, my other project…

(168) Getting into a bed with clean sheets after shaving your legs (pg 305)

Oh for sure, I can attest to the fact that this is amazing, but more often than not, when you have coarse, black hair this is what it’s really like… 😛

(169) The gas arrow (pg 306)

If it weren’t for this little helpful hint, I kid you not, I’d have no idea which side my gas tank is on, even after many times of getting gas!

Even though at this point I am fairly certain because I know which way I always drive into the gas station, I still give a perfunctory glance at the arrow, just to make sure.

(170) Snow falling on Christmas Eve (pg 308)

There was one year, many years ago, when there was hardly any snow in December. Given that I live in Canada this was very weird.

The ground was completely and totally green in the days leading up to Christmas… There was no sign whatsoever that it would snow.

So you can imagine my surprise when I peeked out on Christmas morning and what did I see? SNOW! TONS AND TONS OF SNOW! I almost thought it was fake snow because it seemed a little too good to be true.

Even more shocking than this is the fact that it all melted again by Boxing Day (the 26th, for anyone not from here).

That, my friends, is something of a Christmas Miracle!

(171) Playing with a baby and not having to change its diaper (pg 309)

I have said it before and I’ll say it again and again – Aunty life is THE BEST.

I’ve been an aunt since I was young, as I have older cousins and when our cousins have children we don’t do the whole “first cousin,” “second cousin,” “once removed” (which I still don’t get) thing in our culture.

If they’re older than you and of a different generation then they’re an aunty or an uncle, if they’re around the same age or younger, they’re a cousin. (Even if you’re not related by blood, but if it’s your cousin’s child, then you’re most definitely an aunt or an uncle.)

Thus, when my cousin had a child when I was nine and I told my (not Indian) friend that I was going overseas to see my niece, well, that just resulted in a HUGE fight between us because she was adamant that if my sister or brother didn’t have a child then I WASN’T an aunt at nine years old. My teacher corroborated that usually a cousin’s child is also referred to as a “cousin” and I was extremely irritated and still didn’t believe it…

I actually don’t think I even delved into what all these relations mean until I watched Lord of the Rings and Pippin says he and Frodo are cousins twice removed. Like I said, I still don’t understand that, fully… For the longest time, I actually thought “second cousins” meant your cousin’s cousins…

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Luckily, I am not nearly as clueless as Karen…

Random aside out of the way, point being, I, in my mind, have been an aunt for over TWENTY YEARS and in all that time I have NEVER ONCE changed a diaper!

Even when I actually became an aunt in the “real” sense (i.e. in the way my childhood friend was saying, through my brother or sister)… I still never changed a diaper.

Once I came close, when my baby nephew needed a change, but YAY my mom came to the rescue at the last minute.

So… lucky me! That is, of course, for now… If I ever have children of my own in the future, I guess I might have to… But here’s hoping someone invents a diaper changing robot in the next couple years to save my perfect 30+ year record at this point. 😛

(172) Squeezing a little more juice out of dying batteries (pg 310)

Well, this just goes way back to the Day 4 post about smacking things to make them work, doesn’t it? When the batteries start to go in the remote, my gut instinct is to give them it a good whack, as if they’ve just forgotten they need to be doing something and just need to be woken up.

After that, I am on board with his “Ay, there’s the rub” technique of taking them out and rubbing them, as if that’ll do something. I especially like Neil Pasricha’s scientific explanation of “It has to do with the ions.” I, personally, never even questioned why I do this, it’s just something I was taught and, so, continue to do. In my mind, I guess I thought I was warming them up from being to cold to work…? But this idea that it might have something to do with friction intrigues me too.

Just last week, I changed the batteries in the remote without even attempting a single one of these things. It was a shocking moment – not literally, because that would’ve been frightening if I got a shock from some batteries.

At first I thought maybe the remote wasn’t working, as my friend had said that just happened to her with the same type of one, but I thought, you know, maybe it’s just time for the batteries to be changed…Even though I swear we changed them only just a short time ago. Surprisingly, that’s exactly what it was.

Now I’m mourning for those old batteries…wondering if maybe I should have given them one more chance with the ol’ “flip-flop till they drop.”

(173) Falling asleep in the backseat of a car late at night on the drive home (pg 313)

Some of my earliest memories are of lying in the backseat of the car starting to fall asleep and watching the trees, power lines and moon go by, trying to guess how far we were from home.

Nowadays, now that I think of it, this would be highly illegal because I can clearly remember lying down and not being that old… But hell, before that my parents told me about how people rarely used seat belts in cars… And when you think about it buses still don’t have seat belts (public transportation or the school variety).

So before I continue, please don’t leave your little children lying in the backseat of the car now, even if you’re sitting back there with them. Not only will this be illegal, but it’s very unsafe for your children! We lived in a simpler time back in the ol’ days, what with the wagons and the buggies and all, I guess… 😛

Anyhow, this does remind me of my childhood because it reminded me of seeing the moon out the window which I always liked but also made me think of a funny story about my poor little nephew. He’s older now, but when he was tiny he noticed that wherever he went the moon seemed to “follow” him and his uncle (I think?) told him that it was following him (Someone did, I just know it wasn’t me!). To this day, even though he’s much older than he was when he was told this, the moon still freaks him out!

Given my phobia of waterfalls was borne out of something that happened at three or four years old, and same goes for him and the moon (that’s selenophobia, by the way), I think that must be a very sensitive age. We should all protect our little toddler and preschool children so as not to scar them for life by simple things later! 😛

Well, there we have it with the last post in the 20s, onto Day 30 next and soon… THE END!

The Summer of Awesome – Day 28

So, recently, I actually looked at Neil Pasricha’s blog that The Book of Awesome is based on and WOW, he came up with even more things that I realized.

One thousand things is a lot.  I just saw on the main page that he said it took weekdays from 2008 up until 2012 to finish it and that doesn’t surprise me given how long it’s take me just trying to responsed to the 200 or so in the book…. Kudos to him for that (especially since doing so helped him through some rough times from what I just read!).

Anyhow, I am trying to meet my September 22nd deadline for my own posts, so let’s get to it:

(162) Sweatpants (pg 294)

At some point in my life, I went from being a girl who only ever wore leggings to only wearing jeans and now back around leggings, alternating with jeans. Sweatpants have also played a huge role in my life too, though, as my staple “home clothes.”

My sister and I often refer to the clothes we wear only in the house as “home clothes,” which apparently confuses people because…not all people have home clothes? When we actually get to explaining it, many people realize, wait, they do have home clothes, but really, they just consider them pyjamas and/or they just change out of their work/school clothes and straight into pyjamas.

I like having the intermediary between outside clothing and pyjamas. As much as I like to go out and about and spend time with friends, I like to hang out at home, watch TV and spend time with my family just as much, if not more, and if I were wearing pyjamas that entire time… I’d feel pretty gross (and lazy).

So that’s where sweatpants come in!

My current favourite pants are actually ones I got on sale last year just because they have an adorable elephant pattern (let me just add, that my elephant-loving self is SO happy that elephant-themed items are so in right now). I love these pants so much that when my sister, who I’d bought a pair for, said she didn’t like them that much, I was more than happy to take hers too…

Now I just keep alternating between those two as I wear one and wash the other, with the occasional yoga pants thrown in (ALSO really amazing, especially when your weight goes up and down on a roller coaster like mine has been).

(163) Multitasking while brushing your teeth (pg 297)

I am, most definitely, a “toothpaste stroller” as he puts it.

Sometimes I just dance around to get my pedometer to start picking up on my steps, sometimes I rush back to my room and plug my phone in so it can get in some precious charging time whilst I brush my teeth. Other times, I try to play my new favourite game on my phone or make my bed one-handed.

All of this has helped me realize why I seem to go through so many toothbrushes in such a short time.

Recently I read on the package of the one I got on the dentist that you should replace it every 3 months (unless you’ve been sick, then replace it sooner) and was pretty surprised because I’m sure I’ve been replacing mine every month to six weeks… My toothbrush literally always looks frayed and half-dead, even if I’ve only used it for about two weeks.

Then I read this entry and realized it was all because I was trying to multitask so often. Sometimes, halfway through brushing, I’d become too focused on trying to make the best fairy or princess look (see above link to favourite game) that I’d just leave my toothbrush chomped in my teeth – yes, thus really defeating the purpose of “brushing,” I know. I do get around to actually brushing them (as my dentist can attest to), but that little bit of time being distracted has really taken a toll on my poor toothbrushes (may they R.I.P.).

Here’s hoping now that I’m aware of this I can hold on to a toothbrush for longer than a month now…

(164) The Parking Lot Pull Through (pg 299)

I won’t lie, 9 times out of 10… this is how I manage to find a parking spot.

You may remember from my previous mentions of driving, that haven’t actually reversed parked since my driving test – 7 years ago – and this is the reason.

I really don’t mind walking from farther in a parking lot if it means I can stay away from cars – both out of fear of smacking them, myself, and for fear that they will smack me. I live in a high traffic and bad driver neighbourhood… It’s just smart to park further.

There is a risk in doing the “PLPT,” as he refers to this method of driving – and that’s that you never know when some lunatic driving really fast is going to try to do the same from the other direction. It’s never happened to me, but I’ve had friends say they refuse to do this anymore after having it happen to them and almost getting into an accident.

I’m pretty (i.e. very) cautious and make sure to look everywhere, though… and usually park where it’s totally empty if I can manage it, so think I’ll be safe.

(165) The three-paycheck month (pg 300)

You know what’s better than this?

Getting a pay check EVERY WEEK!

Okay, so in order to reach that point… you actually have to be working multiple jobs, which, for some people will sound, decidedly, not awesome, but if you do happen to work two or more jobs, isn’t it just the sweetest thing when your pay days end up alternating, so your bank account never has to go a single week without being added to?

I’ve experienced this a number of times over the last few years, and I loved it. I was always really sad when something happened that caused the pay days to shift and all the pay would get deposited on the same day. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the monies that were coming in to me, for sure, I just kind of missed having them spread out so nicely over the month.)

(166) The smell of books (pg 301)

I love books.

(You can feel free to say, “NO, really?” sarcastically. It’s fair.)

Currently, I have about 15 books out from two libraries and that’s nowhere near the most I’ve had out this year at once.

Sadly, as much as I love books and reading, I am not very fast, so I can’t get through them as quickly as I’d like to and even more sadly, sometimes, even though I love the smell, the smell of books doesn’t love me.

I’ve actually had to forgo reading some books until I ca different copy because they make me itchy and sneeze.

For an old classic book, like Frankenstein (read this summer!) or Little Women (currently have out!). you might expect this because libraries tend to have quite old copies of these that they hold on to.

And yet, surprisingly, in recent years, even brand-spanking new books make me itchy. At times it’s because of the paper they’ve used, but even more oddly, some books have made me sneeze and get stuffed up because of the smell of the INK!

Even still, REAL BOOKS OVER EBOOKS ALL DAY, EVERYDAY! 😛

(167) Getting in a line before it gets really long (pg 303)

This truly is that moment when you look back and see 30+ people behind you and feel like a trendsetter…

Or at least that’s what it’s like for me.

I love when I get in line somewhere and suddenly, people clamber behind you. It’s like you were the one to discover this amazing and brilliant place (in my case, the most memorable time like this was at the Dollar Store… ooh la la).

I hate being in lines (remember my post about loving the self-checkouts), so the less people the better and if it gets long after I am done, all the better because it means I beat the rush. GO ME!