Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Swing

I am fortunate to have strong determination, or, I'm just stubborn.  My strong determination (stubbornness) gets me into a lot of fear facing situations.  I try to do some things outside my comfort zone, sometimes though, they are so far outside my comfort zone I should probably just skip them.  Today I did one such thing; the swing at Monkey Trunks.

To those of you who aren't afraid of heights a drop off a platform 35' in the air might seem like lots of fun, and not terrifying in the least.  However, I am afraid of heights.  So going off the swing, even hooking people on and sending them off is a scary idea.  Which is exactly why I didn't go off myself until today.

A couple of weeks ago I'd wanted to go off, I even got all hooked in ready to go off, but I got scared and made my friend hold the rope (which isn't light) so I didn't go off for probably 5-10 minutes before chickening out, and not doing it.  Today was his last day so I decided I had to let him send me off, since he'd been nice and held me there for so long last time.

As I expected, I disliked the immediate drop, but it wasn't quite as jerky as I thought it'd be, which was good.  We'd figured out how to send me off so it wouldn't be jerky before I went.  Other then that, it was just as scary as I thought it would be.  The actual swinging was fun though, I knew that would be the case before I went off.

I had a couple of things running through my mind, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to go off.  First, I trust my friend, and if that wasn't the case I wouldn't have even gotten attached to the swing in the first place.  Second, I remembered a question my bosses asked me during my first day of training, because I'd gotten so nervous being at heights "Do you really want to be a safety instructor?" That question helped me on day 1 go off the ziplines, which is now my favorite part of the course, and it helped me go off the swing today.  Third, the song Sugar, We're Goin Down by Fall Out Boy was definitely in my head, not going to lie.

Here is a video of what the swing is.  This is a different location, but it's the same kind of swing.  The drop in this video looks fairly smooth, like it was when I went off, though this isn't always the case.

In the end, I'm pretty glad I did it, but I'm not sure I'd do it again, but who knows.  At the beginning of the summer I wasn't sure if I was ever going to do it, maybe by October I'll try it again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Appalachian Thru-hike Update 8/21

I figured I'd update you all on my AT Thru-hike details.

First of all, I've chosen a tent, the Tarptent Double Rainbow.  I actually have had this tent in mind for a while.  It's lightweight, fast to pitch, and not too expensive, as far as good tents go.  Plus, there's plenty of room for me and my dog! Outdoorgearlab's price for the tent is off by a couple dollars according to the tarptent website, but it's still not a bad deal.

Next things on the list are sleeping bags, sleeping pads, a backpack (I know, that maybe should have been first?), and doggy backpack.

For sleeping pads I'm thinking the Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOlite.  One regular sized one for me, and possibly a small one for my dog

Sleeping bags I've been looking at are the Enlightened Equipment Revelation Bags, the short(5'6")/Slim option for me, and The 2-in-1 NobleCamper for my dog. If I go with the NobleCamper I won't have to get a sleeping pad for my dog either, because it's a bed and sleeping bag in one!

The backpack I'm looking at for myself currently is the Deuter ACT Lite 70 + 10 pack

A great article about hiking with dogs, which is certainly a good thing to be reading up on.  I should be getting my dog very soon, so be watching for a post about that! It will be knocking something off my list, too!
80. Adopt a Dog from the Animal Shelter.

As soon as I get my dog I will start purchasing things for it, such as

  • A dog pack
  • Food/Water dishes
  • A coat
  • Booties
  • Leash/Collar/Harness
  • Flea/Tick collars or medication
  • First aid supplies!
Doggy supplies is a whole other post!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Animals VS. Humans

A huge topic is whether or not animals who have killed humans should be killed themselves.  In my opinion, it partially depends on why the animal killed the person, but usually it's a NO.

This event has recently sparked one such debate.  Many people have said the exact same things I would say "Hikers know grizzlies are out there, and the risk is one they are willing to take!" and "why are human lives more important than animal lives?"  Sometimes in these situations I also wonder to myself "What would the victim have thought?" Of course, we can never know that.

I will let you decide for yourself how you feel about it.  Personally, if I ever am killed by an animal I hope the animal lives, no matter what type of animal it is.  Whether it's a grizzly, a shark, a dog, a snake, or something else entirely.  Unfortunately, that wouldn't be my call to make.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sense of Adventure

Ever since I was little I've had a strong sense of adventure.  There are a couple of things I remember wanting to do as a career, such as:

  • Storm Chaser/Meteorologist
  • First person to walk on Mars
  • Oceanographer/Marine Biologist
  • Employee of the Australian Zoo (Steve Irwin was my hero, RIP)
  • Archeologist
I can remember making lists of all the careers I'd wanted to have, the most I remember was 18, I had them in order of what I wanted to do first, also! 

Now, of course, my goals are a bit different, but I seem to have kept, or rediscovered, the adventurous spirit I've had through most of my life.  It drives me to achieve new goals everyday.  It's the reason I work at a high ropes course, and a climbing gym, the reason I wouldn't settle for just whatever job I could find.  The reason I'm not going to college, and instead I'm working to save money to hike the AT.  The reason I'm writing this blog in the first place.

I went to an Oceanography summer camp a few summers ago, because when I was 15 or 16 I had decided to become a Marine Biologist, my favorite animals were sharks, and I had to pick a career at some point, so why not just work with sharks?  It was thanks to this camp that I rediscovered how much adventure meant to me.

I earned four college credits for the camp, I enjoyed the course work, and it seemed like I would be content following that line of work for the rest of my life.  Then, we went snorkeling, and hiking, and dock jumping (which I'd never done, and didn't really end well, but I'm glad I did it), and after those two short weeks everything had started to click.  Within a year I'd started making my list, and shortly after that this blog was born.

Hard work went into that camp, I saved over $600 for it in under six months by teaching dance and babysitting, and I wrote an essay about why I wanted to be a Marine Biologist for a $500 scholarship.  "Just imagining  all the weird, creepy, beautiful, or just amazing creatures that may be lurking in the depths of unexplored caves, or sea floors, or reefs fill me with a kind of excitement that is easily compared to 'a kid in a candy store'" - A quote from my original, unedited essay.

A lot of my friends have a strong sense of adventure also, and I guess that was the inspiration for this post.  Many people lose their sense of adventure or passion for a certain subject because of things like job security, or just general wage differences.  I know people who are going into certain fields just because they'll make a lot of money, and not necessarily because they enjoy that work.  I also know people who will talk passionately about the field they are entering that will not earn them much money, just because it's what they enjoy doing.  The latter are my favorite kind of people.

I hope you all still have an adventurous spirit, even if your adventures aren't things like climbing the tallest mountains in the world, even if they just involve writing fantasy novels, or driving school buses for a living.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Paw Print Tattoo + Animal Shelter Fundraisers

Today, as promised, I got my first tattoo!

For those of you who haven't read my last post I'll give you a brief backstory to the tattoo.

Today (August 15th, 2015) was the "#clearthesheltercampaign", and the fundraiser at Fianna tattoo in Portland for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
   The Clear the Shelter part went well, 84 animals were adopted today! I was going to get my Appalachian trail dog, but the puppy I'd been looking at yesterday got adopted by someone ahead of me in line.  Unfortunately, there was not another dog that would work for me.  My parents have agreed to allow me to adopt a puppy as soon as I find another perfect one, though!
   The tattoo fundraiser went really well also.  Apparently, there were some people lined up before the shop even opened! They also had so many people that I went and signed up (to guarantee my spot) and went back two+ hours later and still had to wait over an hour to get my tattoo! I didn't mind, of course, it was for a good cause, I was expecting a wait, and the artists were amazing.  That event was supposed to end at 7PM, but now (almost 10PM) my Mom just got done with hers, and I know a couple of people had signed up after her.  The dedication of the artists for this cause was amazing, one of them said he'd be there until 2AM if he had to be, though he didn't want to be.  I honestly hope he isn't!

So, the tattoo I got is just a small dog paw print on my upper left arm just below my shoulder.  It was $60, as I mentioned in the other post, all of the money from everyone's tattoos is going to the shelter!

A bunch of the shelter staff and volunteers came in to get tattoos.  Quite a few of them, including myself, first timers.  Many of them even brought in their dog's paw prints to be tattoo'd on them.  A wonderful reason to get a meaningful tattoo.

If you're planning on getting a tattoo I highly recommend the amazing artists at Fianna Studio in Portland, Maine.  They're friendly, they know what they're doing, it's a welcoming environment, and the art is beautiful.  Definitely worth the visit.

I got to support an awesome organization, found a great tattoo studio, and got to cross something off of my list, truly a win-win.  Hopefully I'll find the perfect puppy within the next couple of weeks, too!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Area Spotlight: ARLGP

This may seem like a strange area spotlight.  It's an animal shelter.  The animal shelter where I volunteer to be exact!

The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland in Westbrook, Maine, helps almost 4,000 homeless animals a year! They have a very small shelter currently, and have been fundraising in order to expand to be able to help even more animals.

Instead of my usually area spotlight I'm going to tell you the upcoming events the ARLGP is doing.

On August 11th 2015 at Otto Pizza in South Portland, some people from the ARLGP will be hanging out, and a portion of all food sales will be going back to the shelter.  A great time to talk to some of the staff, eat some pizza, and help out a worthy cause!

On the 12th WGME and FOX23 are hosting a day long pet food drive for a couple of the shelters in the area.  If you're interested, food can be dropped off at the studio!

The 15th they are participating in the national #ClearTheShelters campaign.  This is a big one, so I'll come back to it. 
Also on the 15th Fianna Tattoo Studio in Portland is doing a fundraiser.  $50 for a paw print tattoo, or $100 for a custom paw print.  All the money raised goes back to the shelter, I plan to do this one if I have time! I'll be knocking something off my list, and helping out my favorite charity.

The 26th is annual Martinis for Mutts fundraiser.  $25 per human, each human is allowed a doggie +1.  The price includes admission, valet parking, a "signature mutt-tini", and hors d'oeuvres.

That's not all of the events either! Check out the others, too, you might see something else you'd like to attend.

A bit more about #ClearTheShelters.
First of all, this is not the only shelter doing it.  It is sponsored by NBC, and NECN.  NECN is going to be broadcasting live from the event!
It will take place August 15th, 2015, from 9AM-3PM.
There will be more than 150 pets to be adopted just at the ARL.
The fees are going to be by donation, so you get to pick your own adoption fee! Though $0 is not an option, that isn't an adoption fee.
The goal is to clear the shelter, and raise awareness for pets in need.
No pets can be placed "on hold".  If you are interested in a specific animal get there as early as possible!

It is a wonderful organization, the staff are all amazing, and working with the animals is beyond rewarding.  I have been walking dogs there for almost a year and a half, and fostering dogs for a few months, I highly recommend volunteering, whether at this animal shelter or another.  Personally, t's probably the most rewarding volunteer work I do.

Monday, August 3, 2015

What this blog is about

I want to make this clear, my blog isn't just about what I'm doing, or what I want to do. Yes, it's about me completing my list, but I'm trying to make it about much more. I want it to be about me enjoying life in every way possible, and not doing things just because people say I need to, or because I have to have money, or whatever.

I also want to be encouraging others to do the same.

I just read a fantastic blog post from a wonderful actress whom I know in real life.  The blog post is "Professional" theater vs. "Community" theater: a reflection.  She does a lot of shows at the community theater where I volunteer (keep an eye out for that spotlight if you're interested!), and because it is just a community theater none of the actors/actresses get paid.  They don't mind though, they're doing it because they just love being onstage singing, dancing, and acting!

One of the last lines in the post is "So, the next time you go to see a community theater show, please, remember that we’re all up there LOVING what we’re doing." I love that line.

People choose to follow their passions in different ways. The people at the theater choose to follow their passion without getting paid. Some follow their passion in other ways in order to get paid to do what they love. In my opinion, the only wrong way to follow your passion? Is not to follow it at all. Personally, I choose to write about it on this blog. Will I ever get paid for it? Maybe. But even if I don't I'll be following my dreams and sharing them with the world.

Full Week of "Adulting", + Crossing Things off the List!

You may not know what "adulting" means, so before I dive into this post I'm going to give you a brief definition.

Adulting: the term for when a young adult (usually 18-24, or so), does something by themselves that is something that's basically required of adults in this day and age.  Such as, making an appointment, going to a job interview, buying a car, renting an apartment, etc.  An "Adulting win" is when they do something successfully, usually for the first time, I.E. getting their first job.  An "Adulting Fail" is when they attempt to do something "adulty" and screw up, such as microwaving tin foil.

Last week, my week of adulting was:
Sunday: I Ordered several things off of ebay, including a refurbed 2009 MacBook, without a charger.  I had to be very careful and research the seller before I bought the computer, to make sure the under $200 laptop was worth it.  It definitely ending up being worth it! I received it two days before I was supposed to, and only two days after it shipped.

Monday: I went to work? (Um, I did that four days this week though...) That was the most adult thing I did on Monday, I believe,

Tuesday: I made my own appointment to get my haircut, in person. I also made an appointment to get my belly button pierced over the phone.

Wednesday: First potluck I've been to by myself, I even made a cake to bring.  It was at my new job, we had an employee potluck.  It was certainly a lot of fun!

Thursday: Just my normal music lessons and volunteering... Though volunteering at the animal shelter could almost be considered an adult thing.

Friday: Payed for my own belly button piercing, and for my haircut.  I even tipped both places! I didn't try to figure out the correct tip amount, though, I just gave them extra money.  I was shocked, I had most of my hair cut off, I got it shampoo'd, and styled, and the whole thing only cost $27 before the tip!

So, with my full week of adulting, I also knocked something off of my list: getting my belly button pierced.

I'm going to be honest, it hurt more than I was expecting.  I've read a lot of people say that they barely felt it at all, or that they didn't feel it.  I definitely felt it.  I didn't bleed, but it felt like he had pierced too much of my skin, and was having a hard time getting the needle through.  Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to take a long time to poke all the way through.
It's doing better now, except for when I accidentally pull on it, or brush it wrong.  I'm sure it will be sore for a few days. The piercer I went to was pretty bad, too, from research and talking to people, so that could have been part of it.