Tag Archives: adventure

When the going gets tough … blah, blah, blah, just pour the wine

Why do the things I love always cost so much money?

They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In this case, the writer gets writing.

As you know, I’m supposed to be headed off next week for an adventure. Bandit and I are going to BlogPaws, a pet blogging conference in Virginia, outside Washington, DC. We’ll be spending a night with my dad on the way down, and possibly on the way back. Me and Bandit, out on the open road, spending three nights in a hotel. I will return with lots of material for columns, I’m sure of that.

In a way, it’s part of my “Year of Adventure”, since I’ve been wanting to take a road trip with the dog for years. It’s a trip I’ve put off several times. “Just do it!” everyone has been telling me. “Just go! Don’t let anyone stop you!”

That’s easy to say when you have money in your pocket. Not so easy when the moth are  multiplying.

I took the dogmobile (aka the Jeep) into the shop this week for a pre-trip check up and to take care of one or two maintenance items that have needed attention for a while. Transmission cooling line. Universal joint. Spark plugs. Oil change. Turns out the little dogmobile has a more serious rust problem than I thought, and one problem leads to another and another hundred dollars and on and on.

And now the Jeep is another day in the shop, and we’re up to $1200 in repairs. And I just got off the phone with the mechanic; the cooling lines are apparently a bitch to remove (or something like that), and they may need to add a couple of hours more labor to the bill.

Great.  The repairs needed to be done; I just hadn’t expected them right now. At this point, I don’t have enough money to pay the bill and go to the conference. The Jeep will be fixed and I’ll be sitting home.

So I’m sitting here ready to bang my head against the wall in frustration.

Writing requires experience – new experiences, adventures, networking. Hitting the road with Bandit is part of the book idea. But if I can’t afford to go, I can’t write about it. Hence, no new ideas to write about. No new ideas, no new writing opportunities. No writing, no income. No income, no adventures. It’s a vicious cycle, one that has kept me not only lacking in new ideas but in a personal rut. Did I say rut? I meant hole. Deep hole. Cavernous hole. Can you hear the echo?

My mom keeps offering me money, and my sister has offered a ‘gift’, too, so I put up a little ChipIn box in case anyone wants to contribute to the adventure. I call it “reader supported writing”. But there’s a limit to what I feel comfortable taking when I give nothing back in return. If this were a mission trip, or if I was doing something that would benefit mankind, I wouldn’t think twice about asking for contributions. But this is selfish – a writing conference, a weekend away with my dog. I mean, really. There are people starving and jobless and this is what I’m worried about? 

It’s not like I’m lusting for expensive new cars or million dollar homes. I have a used Jeep that I love, that makes hauling dogs around a breeze. I have dogs that cost hundreds (and close to thousands) in vet bills. I don’t want to cost a lot, but I do.

Oh poop. I suppose this is part of the adventure. I told my sister to pray for a book deal and a little advance that will help cover the costs of more adventures to write about. Until then, I’m going to crack open a bottle of wine and have a good cry.

Adventure girl gets a massage

Nope, this is not me.

OK, in the interest of full disclosure, this isn’t the first massage I’ve ever gotten. It’s maybe the fifth.

I got a gift certificate for a massage for my 40th birthday and it took me several years to use it, so trust me. The thought of stripping down to my underwear and having a stranger rub me all over my body is not my idea of a good time.

Well, I didn’t use to think it was a good time. 

I went to my first massage with more than a few reservations. The salon was very trendy, which made me feel out of place right away. Then I was led to a large dressing room where I was instructed to undress, don a fluffy robe and sandels, and wait in a quiet, candle-lit room where I could enjoy tea and snacks while I waited for my turn.

I’m sure the experience was supposed to be relaxing, but I couldn’t enjoy it, what with all of the questions running through my head. Should I leave on my underwear? Would I feel ticklish having someone touch me? Where, exactly, was this stranger going to touch me anyway? Would he or she be disgusted with my body or notice my fat? Did I remember to shave my legs and wash my feet? Would it matter?

When my massage therapist came to claim me – it was a woman, Melissa – I just fessed up and told her it was my first massage and I wasn’t sure I really even wanted to have it. She was great and said most people felt exactly the same way the first time. She explained the process, and assured me that at any time I could tell her it I wasn’t comfortable.

It only took a few minutes to realize that she knew what she was doing, and that not only was this going to be a relaxing half hour, it was going to be theraputic. And no, I wasn’t lying totally naked on the table. I was covered by warm, fluffy comforting blankets with only the limbs she was working on exposed. The rest of me was covered and toasty.

During that first massage, Melissa pointed out the tension I had in my neck and shoulders and what she was doing to work it out. She also warned me that I might feel sore the next day, and that I should drink lots of water, because a massage is like a workout on your muscles.

Sore? Not a bit. In fact, I felt great. For the first time in months, I could actually turn my head without pain.

I was sold on massages. The only problem is that it can get costly, so a massage is definitely a rare treat, one I usually indulge in when I have a gift card.

Until today. For quite a while I’ve been having pain in my neck, back, hips … oh, let’s face, I’m in pain everywhere … and today I realized that there was something I could do about it.

My salon was offering a special discount on full body massages: $45 for 50 minutes. The only problem: this isn’t where I normally go for a massage (I get my hair done there), so instead of Melissa I’d be having a stranger touching me. And a guy at that.

But the pain won out, which is how I found myself on Michael’s massage table.

The salon isn’t as luxurious – no separate dressing room and shower, no candle-lit waiting room – but the massage was exactly what I needed. It was the first time I’d had someone work on my body from head to toe – literally. Michael worked pressure points in my feet that relieved pain in my back, spots in my legs that loosened up my hips, and my neck – oh, my neck. I could move again.

It was different than any other massage I’ve had- I saw how my entire body was involved in my pain and how what he was doing was helping me all over – and when I was finished I felt a little dopey and the headache I’d started the day with was a little worse.

By the time I got home, I was feeling nauseous and really dizzy, so I ate lunch, took some Advil, and had some tea. And in about half an hour, I was feeling fantastic. In fact, I felt so good I took the dogs to canal for a walk … in the rain. It was great.

Best of all, my mood was drastically improved. Being in pain just wears you down physically and mentally. I can’t imagine how people in chronic, severe pain – like my Aunt Mary Ellen, who has rheumatoid arthritis – manage it.

I asked Michael if he enjoyed his job, and he – quite adamantly – said yes. When I asked if it freaked him out to touch strangers, he said not at all (except you couldn’t pay him enough to do pedicures; eeew, cleaning people’s feet? Not his thing). I told him that it must be nice to have a job that you enjoyed and where you left people feeling so good. He laughed and said it beat working at the DMV.

So in the spirit of adventure, let me challenge you to go get a massage. If you’re really scared, start small, maybe with a chair massage, where you’re fully clothed. But I suggest you jump in with both feet. Trust me. It’s not as weird as you think it is.

Adventure girl makes (another) pie

My most recent attempts at pie crust from scratch. It's not a pretty sight.

Since I’ve been without a car for most of the month and was out of shortening, I’ve been making pie crust using oil. Tastes better but is much harder to work with. Especially for an idiot like me.

This most recent attempt at pie crust from scratch ended up with me just patching together pieces to cover the filling. (And you guys want me to go whitewater rafting? I’m dangerous enough with flour and oil!).

It wasn’t much to look at, but after it was baked it looked a little better:

Fortunately, the baking process hides a lot of the crust flaws. And appearance has no impact on taste – because these apple and blueberry pies were YUMMY.

Adventure Girl makes a pie

Look! I made a pie!

As part of my Year of Adventure warm up, in which I will attempt to have 12 adventures in 2011, this week I made a pie. Actually, a few  pies.

It’s not as if I’ve never made a pie before, but whenever I make pies I use pre-made crust. You know, the kind that comes in a  long box, and all you have to do is unroll the crust into a pan. Which is basically cheating. I mean, at that rate, why not just buy the pie already made and save the effort of peeling and slicing apples? Continue reading

And the adventure list begins!

2006 Ojiya Balloon Festival (2006年おぢや風船一揆)

Image via Wikipedia

So far my friend Meg is the only one who has suggested some really out-of-my-comfort-zone adventures for the 12 Adventures project. She suggested whitewater rafting through Letchworth State Park and a hot air balloon ride, which play on my fear of water and heights. And death.

Then my mother-in-law also suggested giving blood, which I hope to do anyway.

Interestingly enough, both said they’d go with me on these adventures.

So there you go! Once the adventure list is set, I’ll let you know and you can join me. Calamity is always more fun with friends.

Keep those ideas coming!

The 12 Project – 12 adventures in 12 months (with potentially 12 trips to the ER)

I'm preparing for 12 adventures in 12 months, with potentially 12 trips to the emergency room. And you get to help!

As I write this post, it’s 1:00 PM on a Monday afternoon, and I’m lying on the couch watching season 4 of “Psych” on DVD while enjoying a coffee ice cream cone. For me, that’s living on the edge.

Or at least it has been for a while. But, believe it or not, I’m ready for a little adventure. In fact, I’m ready to declare the a whole year of adventure!

I know, I know. I declared 2009 the year of adventure, and then did it again in 2010. And so far this year isn’t looking too adventurous.

But I have a plan, my friends.

Continue reading