Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Somehow Life Speeds Up

I know that I am far behind in my accomplishments leading up to my birthday plan.

Truth be told I had 2 limiting factors:

#1 - access issues - which continue for me at home (silly neighbours all have security enabled routers!)

#2 - I have run out of things to mark as accomplishments.
I don't think it's because I don't have any more - I just can't call anything to mind.

My Birthday passed as a nice day, in the company of many good friends (which was a nice surprise!) for lunch, and a family dinner.

I don't feel very different, maybe age agrees with me?
Or maybe it's just the wisdom I have gleaned having left my twenties ;)

So what I thought would be a slow down of activity and responsibilities has actually become a speed-up.
Too much to do, too little time - seems to be a never ending story!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Access Limited - Sorry

I am in PEI this week on business, and have very limited access to personal email, or even computer resources.

Sorry for messing with my own resolution.

I plan on updating upon my return.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Have Travelled on Business

I used to think that would be a glamorous thing.
Be a world traveller, flying business class in a smart suit across the world.

So it's not really what I thought it would be.

First nobody except for executives fly business class - and economy I've already done.

Secondly - you only fly where your company has offices - so Ottawa is not particularly exotic.

As a kid I used to always wish that we could eat out more, and not have home food every night. So I am surprised that as an adult, I get sick of having to eat every single meal from a restaurant.

On the bright side, I have gotten to go to PEI - which is somewhere I have never been before.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we magically have to open an office in Hawaii or something :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Have Observed Cardiac Surgery in the OR

It was 1996, and this was a co-op position that I won.

So I was originally planning on graduating a semester early and getting a full time job in order to help pay for university.

I was approached by a co-op teacher about a competition that is Ontario wide, where only something like 12 students from across the province planning to go into sciences at university, would get to participate in a Biomaterials co-op placement, and then present a poster about the research done during the placement at the 5th World Biomaterials Congress.

So I agreed to apply for the contest.
I got one of the 12 spots, and I got to work for a company called Corvita Canada.

The office was at U of T downtown in the Dentistry building. I work with PH.D. Chemical Engineers and we were looking at acellularizing the structure or matrix of veins. This would allow us to harvest veins from others, for things like bypass surgery. And if the matrix contained no cells, we wouldn't have to worry about rejection. And then surgery would be easier on by-pass patients because it would be a single point of entry as opposed to two.

So as part of this team, I had 2 jobs.
#1 - I did a study on using SDS as a re-uptake or drug delivery device within the acellularized matrices (I still have my poster from the presentation).
#2 - I observed open heart surgery twice a day, almost every day in order to collect sutcher samples which we could use to identify the average length of a bypass.

It was a really cutting edge job, and it was cool. I had a hard time with how solitary the work is - same exact experiment every day, no one else around.

So when I was offered a permanent job with them - through the summer then part-time after that, I declined (which I am kicking myself for now).

but hey, it's a cool thing I got to do in my life, and before I hit 30 to boot!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Have Travelled Across Half of the Country Public Speaking

The year was 1997.
It was the beginning of May.
My journey began on a train ride from Toronto to Kingston. First time I took the train (actually, I think the only time I have done so).

In Kingston, I met 2 girls Teresa and Kathy - new to me. And they were my ride to Ottawa.

One week of "Base Camp" training in Ottawa, then we broke into groups of 6 people in each mini-van (6 in total) and we headed off to our respective locations.

I was on the Central Canada team, we covered every town and city between the Alberta border and the Quebec border.

And Challenge '97 was officially begun.

I got to see the Giant Egg in Vegreville, the Big Nickel in Sudbury, the Terry Fox memorial in Thunder Bay, the most memorable Aurora Borealis in Dryden.

I got to have one foot in Saskatechewan and one foot in Alberta in Lloydminster.

I got a 15 minute tour of Wes Edmonton Mall - when we pit stopped in Alberta for about 1 hour.

I kicked my friend Pete out of the bed when he half asleep got in. I was sound asleep, but my radar just knew something was improper.

I got to drive into North Dakota and have my shoes confiscated at the border on the drive back, because there was mud on my shoes. Then I had to do an assembly in a school an hour after that in my stocking feet.

I attended a "social" in Winnipeg - which is basically a party in a Church basement used to raise money for something. In this case it was my friend Andre's band.

Oh yeah, and almost once a day, pretty much every week-day for 6 weeks, I was a part of a presentation team (2 or 3 of us) - talking about Chastity in schools, churches, community centres, etc.

It was not only a blast, but a great opportunity for Public Speaking, which I think is a skill that has served me well since then.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Have Run 5K

This is a huge accomplishment for me.

I have always wanted to be, but never really been an athletic sort of person.

At recess in Elementary school, I would sit by the doors and read - it was always so stinking cold out for playing.

I dropped gym in high school as soon as I was able to (I think the last gym class I took was grade 9).

I always dreamed about being that 6am jogger, in a cute outfit - all matchy-matchy in a ponytail, and smiling as I conquered the physical world before my regular day started.

Ok so I may have run 5K - a handful of times now - but I have never matched my stereotype.

First off, it's really tiring and hard - I am always the slowest in the pack, red as a beet and completely winded by the time I'm done.

But I did it, which is something, I never truly thought I would be able to do.
I had resigned myself to being an nonathletic person, who just couldn't do it.

What I have discovered is mostly that I'm just an uneducated athlete. I never played sports, never rode a bike, never ice skated, never took swimming lessons as a kid, so I never learned how to do these things. And I am always slightly embarrassed to learn as an adult - when everybody else has already mastered the skill.

I thought that meant I was bad at it, because everybody else could already do it, and knew it.
Turns out I am simply new at it, and can be good at things I never thought would be possible for me - if I just have the patience to learn.

That's a big IF - I hate looking and feeling incompetent, and worry about looking silly.

But joining the running room, and learning to Run, has opened me up a little more - I may just come out to a sporty event - even though I've never played before and don't know the rules, and will feel like I look stupid.

So this is not only an accomplishment, but one that has made subtle yet strong changes in my willingness to engage life.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I have Painted a Picture

It's true.
Usually I draw stick figures and people ask me if it's an abstract design.

In 1998, I flew to Winnipeg to spend a week with my friend Pete and his family. So Pete's Dad is an artist, and one day during my visit, he offered to sit me with me and help me paint a picutre.

So this very kind and very very patient man, sat with me for 3 days. First he helped me to select a picture I wanted to duplicate. Then he patiently worked with me to blend colours, and learn how to use all the different brushes, etc.

So the final result is a painting that looks nothing like the original I was trying to replicate. But still a copmpletely recognizable ocean scape. And I was so excited about this painting that I carried it home on the plane on my lap, to keep it safe.

Once home, I got it custom framed, and it has hung ever since at the base of the stairwell from the second to third floor in my Mom's house.

I don't know if I am ever likely to be able to paint anything else that might be framed and put on a wall somewhere - but I can proudly say, that I have already done so.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I have Read Scripture at a lot of my Friends' Weddings

I think this should count as an accomplishment on several levels:

#1 - I have a lot of friends who cherish my friendship at a level where they wanted to include me in one of the most important days of their lives in a significant way. This to me is a tremendous blessing. I have always hated that I am an only child, and I think that I compensate for that by valuing a large friends network. But what being so included means is that I have been good at being a genuine friend, and not someone who is superficially adding to their acquaintances.

#2 - I am good at public speaking, or rather public recitation to be more exact. At Kevin and Michelle's Wedding, I got to read this cool speech directed to the bride and groom about what Marriage is.

#3 - I have gotten to go to a lot of weddings - and weddings are always fun!
I enjoy dressing up
I enjoy feasting on a gourmet meal
and a wedding is the #1 place that I enjoy dancing, and I really enjoy dancing

So here's to good food, lots of fun, and lots of dancing! And this accomplishment is about getting to celebrate all of these things with people who are special to me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Rode an Elephant

Emma and I did it together at the EX one year.

The Elephant was from the Oshawa zoo, and he (or she, I can't remember) was a very sweet and gentle beast.

But my word if it wasn't huge!! And a little scary.

It was a lot of fun in the end - I just wish I had my camera to document it.

I have also been on a camel ride (twice, the first time was in Colorado and the second was by the pyramids).

And a couple of stints under my belt of horseback riding.

So I guess that leaves a donkey - then I've exhausted the meant to be ridden beasts.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Have Stood Up for What I Believe

And on occasion, I have paid dearly for that choice.
For me Junior High was the most peer pressured time. I know the stereo-type is that High School should be the worst, but for me High School was a relief. It was a place, where everybody was mostly the same, and we did not have a lot of labels for people. We still had "loosers", but you had to be pretty weird to get that label, and there were very few of them. Other than that, we all had the freedom to do our own thing.

Junior High was a different story, littered with cliques, and popularity contests - it was a self-esteem nightmare.

And I had several moments where I believe that I did shine, and lots when I didn't.

One time, I had failed a test in History - I think it was. I got something around 42% (which was surprisingly higher than the class average on that test). I thought that the teacher had added incorrectly and given me 10 extra marks. So I went and told him - I remember him saying, "Are you sure you want me to check that? You've done quite poorly already".
And I remember my reply. "I don't want any marks I didn't earn and don't deserve".
I am proud of myself for that moment.

I remember being ridiculed for a lot of things in school, my weight, my Faith, my curly hair, the list goes on.......

And while I didn't always respond with grace or wisdom, the moments when I did, shine for me.

I only hope that as I continue to age and mature (hopefully maturity comes with age), that I will have more and more shining moments.
So that at the end of my life, when I look back, what I will see will be like a glorious night sky littered with more shining starts than I can count.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Have Completed 2 Degrees

Yes, because I'm a glutton for stress :)

My Bachelor's Degree just might have been the most stressful 4 years of my life. I was so fixated on doing well, and getting into Medical School.
And I was a commuter to bear, so the 1 hour 20 minute commute to the university daily did not help.

My fist week was so bad, that on the Friday, I decided to buy a chocolate from the vending machine to cheer myself up. I bought a pack of M&Ms and the entire time I'm eating them, I'm thinking - gee, these taste a little funny. but I told myself to get over it, it was probably my bad mood tempering my taste buds.

So I finish the pack and then open it up (because the outside said that there was a contest, and to look inside to see if you're the winner). I don't remember what the contest was, but I opened up the wrapper, and I had won! I started to smile, the clouds had started to part and a little ray of sunshine was finally getting through my miserable week. It looked like my luck was changing.

Then I looked more closely at the label. The contest had expired August something of the PREVIOUS year. The sun went away, the clouds gathered en-mass and it started to storm.
My luck had not changed at all.

Things did get better from there - after all I made some pretty cool friends in University.

And my degrees were a lot of time, and effort - and totally worth it in retrospect - although I did not always feel that way while in the moment.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Have Been Guest on a TV Talk Show

Ok, so I've been on TV more than I realized - I have a couple more instances other than this one and the game show.

For this one, I was 17. And I was on a panel about Teens and Sex.
The producers basically got 2 sets of people (pro and con) and they sat us interspersed along the stage.

They told us they wanted a lively debate, and then when things got that way, the host, chastised us a little and told us to be nice. It was somewhat ironic.

This is where I met Rebeca, who was the organizer of The Challenge Team, and that's how I found out about it, and what eventually lead to what is sometimes affectionately know as my Sex tour. (the talking about No Sex tour, would be more accurate).

And this time around, I did get a copy on video of the show. So If anybody wants to see a pretty old episode of The Shirley Show, with me in it - I can oblige you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I have been "in love"

Yes, it's true, and to borrow a line from one of my favourite films (Love Actually) "...the total agony of being in love".

It can be an agonizing experience, but in that lies some of it's beauty.
I was also lucky enough to be in love with someone who started out as my best friend. And the depth of that experience is unparalleled (as has been my experience thus far).

And I have also ended a relationship while totally in love with that person. My reasons were simple, again I'm going to borrow a line from a movie (Ever After) "A bird may love a fish Signore, but where would they live?".

And I want to count both the experience of being in love and the wisdom and courage to end a relationship while in love as parts A and B of this accomplishment.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I have Eaten Alone in a Restaurant

This may not seem like an accomplishment to some of you.
And I will wholeheartedly admit to not enjoying it one bit, but through the necessity of eating while on business travel, I have on one single occasion, sat in a restaurant alone,sans reading material and had dinner.

And I feel quite accomplished for having done so.

I'm the girl who will play Bejewelled on her Palm pilot while waiting for take-out, or have the TV on while cooking dinner - even though I can't see it from the kitchen.

I am not good at being alone. And I am very creative at keeping busy and surrounded by others, as you well know if you've ever spent any time with me.

So this is a very big accomplishment for me.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I have been to the Pyramids of Giza

Ok, this one is sort of not fair - land of my birth and all.

But it is kind of cool that I have been to see live one of the only 2 man made objects visible from space. The great wall of China is the other.

And it is one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient world - sadly it didn't make the new list :(

I did this in 1999.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Have Been a Contestant on a TV Game Show

Yep, I have - but I didn't win :(

This is a recent one as well, I taped the show the summer before last, and the show aired last year.

I didn't see myself, because the show aired on TvTropolis, and I didn't get that channel.

But I am a contestant on Episode 51 of Season 1 of "Inside the Box" which was a TV trivia game show.

And I have no swag to show for my participation. Heck I was there for like 6 hours, and they didn't even give us a bottle of water.

But it was fun.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I have flown an Airplane

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to fly. It's one of the items that always ends up on one of those "things to do before I die" lists that I re-invent every once in a while.

It's probably because my Dad is an Aeronautical Engineer, so I got the bug early on, weather I was interested or not on my own. We used to go by the airport and my Dad would explain to me what kind of plane was in the air, and taught me how to guess based on the shape of the underbelly.

And it was a dream, I think I was pretty liberal about sharing.

In 2nd year university, my boyfriend told me he had a surprise for my Birthday. And if you know me at all, you know just how much I love both presents and pleasant surprises.

He told me to "dress warmly" and that was about it.

So he picks me up and we're driving and then he says - "Umm, I'm kind of not sure about the directions, I may need you to help me"
"Ok, no problem - where are we going?"
"Well, I don't want to tell you if I don't have to"

So we're driving north, and suddenly he pulls into the Buttonville Airport.
"ummm, you know this is an airport right? Is this where we're suppose to be?"
"yes, relax, this is the place"

So we met our instructor at the entrance.
We got a tour of the airport.
An explanation of the mechanics of flight.
A Tour of the Air Traffic Control tower
I got my name in the flight log as the co-pilot (how cool is that!)
And then I got to fly!

It was the most phenomenal and surreal experience.
I did absolutely everything except for the take-off and landing.
I taxied along the runway.
I learned about flying using instruments in the dark - that was funny, because I didn't quite get it at first and the instructor calmly says, "ok so now the plane is dropping at a rate of 750 feet a second"
"OH! Ok, so that means I need to pull up the nose right?"
"Yes, ok - good that's much better"

I remember it so clearly - which is funny, because I remember saying how I wished that I had brought my camera, so I wouldn't forget.

With the exception of God's gift of Jesus, which brings me eternal life with Him in Heaven, it's the best gift I have ever received.

So accomplishment #2 is my second best ever present.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I bought a Home

This is my most recent accomplishment.
I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of it.
Other times, I feel like it's a trivial step, and I can't even do this right (after all I don't have any furniture, cable, a land-line or an Internet connection).

I do think it's a big step though, and should be counted as an accomplishment.

I sort of feel like I'm doing things a little backwards - most people buy their first home with their spouse or significant other, and I have not.

But then, that sort of makes me a little ahead of the game right? Not putting my life on hold, but rather living life, and making smart choices. At least I'm told home ownership is a smart choice.

And I am really learning to love it.
Sometimes I close my eyes, and I see it furnished, and it's so elegant - I sigh a little.

I can just say "come over" and it's always cool. This is by far what I am enjoying the most about having my own place.

So come over, and celebrate my accomplishment #1 with me :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Countdown Begins

It's October 1st already!
In 28 days I will be 30 years old.

If you know me well, or have been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I always get this New Year's-esque sort of reflection about my life and my accomplishments around my birthday. And I usually make resolutions for myself.

I always seem to get a little bummed out as I reflect. I usually feel like I have not accomplished nearly as much as I expected to by __ age. And it doesn't seem to matter what the number in the blank is, I always seem to fall short.

But in the words of my wise friend (well this time wise anyways) Jeremy, "It's not a race".

So this year, I am going to try and buck the system, and my pattern. Now old habits die hard, so I'm not sure how well I will accomplish this, but I'm going to try.

So in honour of turning 30 - which is a big milestone. I hope to enter a post a day, and each one will be about something that I have accomplished in my life.

They may not be huge accomplishments (after all I do have to come up with about 27 of them) but I am going to try and think of one thing every day.

After all one should be celebrating when they reflect on their life, not lamenting.
Isn't that the point of a birthday party - bringing people together to celebrate the individual. Kind of saying, "I'm glad you're alive, you make my life a little sweeter by being in it".