Sometimes I think my life is funny.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

30 Before 30 Mid-Year Progress Report!

This mid-year progress report is a bit late, but better late than never. In reviewing my progress, it looks like I have a bit more to go and I could use your help!

1. Take 30 pictures with 30 giant animals

So far I have taken pictures with 10 giant animals… I think. You can check my progress and the photographic evidence here. Clearly I still have a lot more to go, so if you’d like to show me where your favorite giant animal is, let’s go! I’ll bring the coffee and the camera, you should bring some funny jokes and car jams.

2. Give 30 $30 tips on bills that are less than $30

5/19 – South Wedge Diner. Our waitress followed us because she thought I forgot my money on the table. When I told her that the money was her tip, she told my nieces “You’re auntie is so nice. You make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses” to which my nieces responded “Aunt Steph doesn’t like hugs and kisses. We’re not allow to hug of kiss her.”

5/24 – Ice Cream Jubilee. The ice cream server was the nicest, happiest person I have encountered in a very long time. She was super patient with me as I tasted EVERY flavor ice cream in the joint, told me that calories are just “flavor points” – the more calories a food has, the more flavor it has, so I should just be excited about lots of calories, and she even jumped in a selfie with me and Julia. I loved her and she 100% deserved the $30.

6/9 – South Wedge Diner. Every month I meet my friend Del for breakfast at an ugly hour of the morning. We have the same waitress every time who is incredibly chipper and sweet for such a gross morning hour. She knows us, knows our order, and refills my coffee cup like every 5 minutes which I appreciate more than I can express.

6/17 – Schallers. This place is my favorite quick bite burger joint. The guy who took my order at the counter was polite and patient with my niece (who decided she only wanted to whisper her order). He was just a nice guy and something in me made me feel like I should leave him a $30 tip. The feeling was so strong that when I saw I only had $22, I didn’t give up. I asked my mom, brother in law, and sister if they had cash until I had $30. When I gave it to the kid he seemed shocked and then tried to give it back and told me he wasn’t allowed to take tips. At this point I told him to put it in his pocket and when he hesitated, every woman in my family brought out their pressing charm and forced him to accept it. Later when he saw my mom in line for ice cream he told her to thank me again, that he never gets tips, and to tell me “God bless you.” It seemed to really have impacted him and I’m so glad.

7/20 – Friendly’s. I went to Friendly’s because I heard that there were new ice cream sundae flavors, so I decided my nieces and I need to go to try them out. The waitress was a perfectly fine waitress, but then I saw the “Crowd Pleaser” sundae which includes a ridiculous amount of ice cream and toppings and asked “How much would you hate us if we ordered the crowd pleaser?” To my surprise she said “Not at all! People rarely order them and they’re really fun to make!” I was thinking a mammoth sundae would be obnoxious, but she seemed excited about it and was very patient with my nieces as they took forever to decide what ice cream and toppings to get. She totally earned that $30 tip.

9/2 – Scotts at the Public Market. Jo has been serving me my ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich every Saturday for more years than I can count. She has been with me through countless boyfriends and even during my single times at the market. She’s served me in sweltering heat and in the freezing cold. I have no idea how she is always so cheerful, but I love her for it and refuse to let anyone else serve me. I finally gave her the $30 tip she deserved and it felt so right. The next week when I ordered my sandwich, she refused to let me pay, and when I insisted, she threatened to hurt me if I didn’t just roll away. I love her.

I have a lot more $30 tips to go and a lot of friends who I don’t spend enough time with, so I hope someone reading this will reach out and say “Hey Stephanie, let’s go grab an ice cream at my favorite place so we can catch up and you can tip $30!”

3. Find out if I have abs

Still have not been found.

As of 6/22, the whole world seems to know that I have not yet found my abs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you don’t’ watch the news and I am so thankful for that.

8/5 – Abs have still not been found. I do have a calorie counter on my phone which is supposed to help in this quest, but I might not be doing this right. I type in “girl scout cookie” and it says 70 calories per cookie, so I’m all like “Yeah, I only had one Mr. Calorie Counter” as I eat seven. I also firmly believe that I don’t have to count anything I eat if I don’t eat a scientifically measurable amount. A “handful” of chocolate Chex Mix? Doesn’t count. Does ice cream count? Not if you only have a “smidge.” So, yeah, all of this to say, I’m not sure if abs will ever be found on me.

11/12 – Abs are still MIA. I have been doing 15 minutes of yoga a day, for like, the past 10 tens. I have no idea where these abs might be.

4. Dress as a cat all day. Go in public.

7/2 – I dressed up as a cat for a shtick at Ari’s wedding, but it wasn’t all day. Can I get half credit?

10/31 – I dressed like a cat on Halloween, but I didn’t feel good and I was having a rough day and I ended up rolling up and down Hudson Avenue in a full cat onesie in broad daylight around a bunch of people giving me weird looks.  Then I went home and found out I was on the wrong antibiotics. I got the right meds the next day, but I think I need a redo on the cat thing.

5. Go on vacation alone.

I’ve been thinking about where to go, but beyond that, no progress. Any ideas?

6. Karaoke Jagged Edge/Rev Run’s “Let’s Get Married”

I have sang this in the office, rolling through airports, and at nightclubs whenever it comes on, but as for karaoke, not yet.

6/22 – I did sing this a few times while I was in police custody for 10 hours in D.C., but there was no karaoke machine, so I don’t think it counts.

7. Try 30 different burgers and rate them. Bonus if I can get 30 different people to buy me the burgers.

See Burger Rating System and all rated burgers here.

I swear I’ve eaten 30 burgers by now, but I ate so many I couldn’t keep up with writing about them. The only solution is to eat more.

8. Unplug for an entire day.

No progress. But I did go on a women’s retreat with ladies from my church where I looked at my phone a lot less than usual and didn’t watch any T.V. So it was like practicing for the real Unplug day!

7/7 – I went without my phone while in police custody for about 8 hours. I think that should count as practice at least.

9. Give 30 things away.

4/24 – Gave away a book bag filled with stuff to a person on the street.
4/25 – Gave away a bag of clothes to a coworker.
5/7 – Gave away a bag of clothes to our church collection for refugees.
5/21 – Gave another bag of clothes away to our church collection for refugees.
7/22 – Gave my nieces two cups covered in smiley faces.
October – Gave away tons of clothes, food, and other goods to Puerto Rico
October – Gave my sister & brother in law one of my cars.

*I need to step up my game on this. Who wants my stuff?

10. Spend a whole weekend with my mom

6/1 – Booked a 5 night, 4 day stay at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for me and my mom. She’s really excited about it.

August – We did it and we survived! Read about it here.

11. Bake something without a mix

No Progress.

12. Pay off 3 big debts

5/1 – (1). Finished paying off my manual wheelchair! I got the chair in October and have been paying off the bill of over $2500 ever since then (that was just my copay…).

September – (2) In 2015 or 16, I tried to help my then boyfriend build credit and get on his feet by cosigning on a car for him. But then we broke up, I learned my lesson, and I suddenly had a second car. I asked my sister & brother in law if they’d drive it around because I didn’t need a sedan for any reason, and they kindly took it on. With this 30 before 30 goal I was especially motivated to budget to pay the car off, and I am proud to say with solid budgeting, selling a few things on Letgo, and drinking less Dunkin Donuts, in September I finished paying the car off! After paying it off, I was happy to give the car to my sister and Rob since they use it and take care of it, and are incredibly helpful in my life (catsitter extraordinaires!) and always supportive of me.

One more debt to go!!! I am debating between trying to pay off my car (the one I drive) or my credit card. I am leaning towards my card, because I feel like paying off my credit card completely won’t feel as awesome because the moment I use it to buy groceries the balance will no longer be zero.
Whichever I choose, I know I will love it because I find paying my bills to be very cathartic. When I’m stressed, I get online and pay bills and it makes me feel better. I don’t care what the pop songs say, being financially responsible is SO much better than going to the club instead of paying rent.

13. Do a headstand

No progress. Need more zen. And balance.

14. Keep a plant alive for 6 months.

5/1 - I have begun asking people what kinds of plants can last with minimal care/an irresponsible plant mom. Some ladies on my church retreat suggested I try a spider plant or an air plant. An air plant apparently just lives on air and this sounds very appealing to me. No plant has been adopted yet.

5/7 – Bought a Banzai tree and named him Fernando. I picked him because he looks resilient and hearty. Plus he came with a stone that says peace, so maybe that will help me to find zen. Anyway, so far he hasn’t died. He looks tough and I think he can handle my neglect. 

5/23 – Fernando is still alive.

6/9 – I bought 2 hanging plants from the market on May 21st. They died. Fernando is still going though.

7/22 – My cats keep trying to eat Fernando and he doesn’t exactly look as chipper as he used to, but I think he’s still kicking.

11/6 – Okay, so I forgot about Fernando even though he lives in my living room. But I remembered him today and gave him LOTS of extra water to make up for not watering him for months!!

This is what Fernando looks like today, November 12, 2017. 

15. Build something.

I went to Home Depot to buy supplies to build a book shelf, but now I’m thinking I don’t have the skill set for this and should have gone for something simpler.

16. Go to a bar alone.

5/10 – I tried to semi do this. I was going to meet Katie out, but she had a meeting she needed to go to, so I figured I would go to the bar early and wait for her and that would count as being alone. For about 20 minutes I sat in my car hesitating. Finally, I got out, rolled to the bar, and when I got inside I found out there was a step to get up to the bar. What the fuck. So basically, this has not been accomplished.   

17. Take a class on something creative, like cooking or knitting.

No progress. Please suggest something for me! Better yet, is there a creative class you want to take or that you teach? Let me know! I’d love to go with you!!

18. Learn a new skill and show it off on my 30th Birthday!

No progress.

19. Complete 30 acts of kindness to show my appreciation for others

5/8 – (1). My coworker Mary works ridiculously hard and is a wonderful coworker and friend. I found out she’s been watching Netflix on her tablet because she didn’t know how to make it go to her T.V. I felt that Mary worked way too hard to not be able to go home and binge watch trashy tv on her actual television, so I bought her a chromecast to show my appreciation for all that she does and to help her relax when she finally does get away from work.

5/10 & 5/11 – (2) & (3). I regularly collaborate with two people in the City of Rochester to help make Rochester a more accessible and welcoming city for disabled people. We always joke that I’m part of the City’s team and that we need matching outfits. To show them how much I appreciate them both as humans and as advocates for the Disability Community within the City’s Administration, I got them both really cute mugs with the Rochester flower that say “Home.” I got myself one too so that we can have matching cups and show we’re all on the same team J

6/21 – (4) Staci is one of my fellow Directors at work and she works her butt off. She cares so much about the people we serve and goes above and beyond to support me and my team all the time. When I’m stressed, she lets me vent. When we need to throw together a protest or action at the last minute, she’ll always help us to make protest signs, load the bus, and do anything else we need. I don’t know if this woman ever sleeps. Lately things have just been piling up, so I sent her purple flowers in hopes that they would brighten her day.

7/22 – (5) My neighbors, Charles and Rose, have kindly been working on my yard in their spare time. I didn’t ask them, and they may just be doing it because they’re sick of having a scumbag neighbor with a gross yard, but I truly appreciate their time and effort. To show them my appreciation I gave them a hanging pot of flowers that I am sure they will be much more successful at keeping alive than I was.

Sometime in August (6) My sister is always amazing to me, so when I took my niece out shipping for the day, we picked out a lovely lipstick for Danielle at Sephora as a token of my appreciation for all she does for me.

Sometime in September (7). My beautiful friend Hannah is such a loving person and a great mom. She regularly makes time to have lunch or dinner with me and gives such real, down to earth, loving advice. She was pregnant with baby #4 (and the first girl!!) so I decided to bring her flowers to her home to brighten her spirits in her last weeks of pregnancy.  

20. Throw a dinner party.

No progress. Anyone want to come over for dinner? I’ll make pizza rolls and cheap wine!!!

21. Go to a country that I’ve never been to.

Okay, hear me out. I have technically gone to Mexico before because I went to Cozumel, but I never went to continental Mexico before, so I’m counting my trip to Solidaridad, Mexico with my mom as going to a country that I’ve never been to.

22. Get a facial.

No progress. I’m kind of afraid to do this.

23. Learn how to change a tire.

No progress.

24. Buy a crop top. Wear it in public.

5/17 – After telling some of our ADAPT teens about this goal, one of them gave me a crop top and told me to wear it during our party on our last night in D.C. I hesitantly wore it around the hotel and my ADAPT family. This was a good practice run, but I don’t think it counts as actually wearing it in public.

5/26 – I took the crop top that I borrowed from a teenager to Atlantic City with me. I wore it the first day we were there for the entire evening and night. I strolled along the boardwalk in it, I ate Mexican in it, and I danced at an 80’s club in it. I didn’t feel one bit insecure. I’m really happy I made this a goal and accomplished it so quickly. I thought I would be super insecure about this and look terrible, but I felt great and might even get my own crop top after I return this one to its rightful owner. 

6/22 – The day after I was arrested in D.C. for fighting to save Medicaid and protect the lives and liberty of disabled Americans, I received a message that read “You really went hard on that ‘wear a crop top in public goal, didn’t you?’” I laughed so much. I am actually still laughing. This goal is beyond complete now.

Me going hard on my crop top goal.

25. Cook a meal without a recipe and buy all the ingredients myself.

I am excellent at looking up recipes and then not following them, but I have not yet tried to cook a meal without having a recipe to barely follow though.

26. Learn to meditate without falling asleep.

6/9 - I took a CLE (required classes for lawyers to keep their license) called “The Mindful Lawyer: Meditation in the Practice of Law.” My goal was to: 1. Get required CLE credits, and 2. Learn how to meditate without falling asleep. I tried staring at a raisin as meditation and I still don’t get it. I tried a few other forms meditation too. I also fell asleep for a minute. SO close. 

11/6 – In the past 4 days, I have meditated every day for 5 minutes and NOT fallen asleep!!

27. Help someone else check off something on their list.

No progress. Do you need help with your list? Let me know! I’ll help J

28. Make a list of 1095 things I am grateful for (or 3 things per day for 365 days!).

Lots of Progress! I’ve got a journal bursting with things I’ve been grateful for and I love going back and reading them. I think everyone should do this!

29. Go on an incredible 30th birthday best friend vacation.
No progress.

30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party!

No progress.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

That Time I Took 30 pictures with 30 giant animals before I turned 30

1. May 6, 2017: Spikes from the Red Wings, Rochester, NY 

I think it's fair to say any bird that is over 6 feet tall is a giant animal. 

2. July 2, 2017: A unicorn/Pegasus thing, Ari & Ruti's Wedding

Listen, I know this might be a stretch because it's fictional animal, but in reality, it could just be extinct. Also, anything large enough to fit me and Ari in it should count as "giant."  

3. July 23, 2017: A Camel, I think. Chinatown, Washington, D.C. 

I don't know what this is, but I know I liked it.

4. Aug. 24, 2017: Marble-like Horse, Public Safety Building, Roch. NY

I got to see this guy every time I went to court for protesting at the Monroe County Republican Headquarters. Now that I've paid my fine and completed my community service hours, I don't get to see this guy anymore :(

5. Sept. 1, 2017: Galaxy Horse? RMSC, Rochester, NY

This horse was pretty chill, though I was surprised to find he's hallow. Should has suspected that I guess. 

6. Sept. 1, 2017: Giraffe, Rochester, NY 

While searching for a different horse, I saw this giraffe, so naturally I had to turn around and meet him. 

7. Sept 1, 2017: Big Weird Cat & Bird, Rochester, NY

Okay, so this cat & bird are not giant in comparison to the horses and giraffe, but they are definitely giant for a cat and a bird, so it counts. 

8. Sept. 1, 2017: T-Rex, Home Depot, Rochester, NY

After deciding to retire on the giant animal hunt for the day, I went to Home Depot to check out the Halloween decor. I found this T-Rex. He's 8 feet tall, which is not giant for a t-rex, but is giant in comparison to me. 

9. Sept. 6, 2017: Hairstyling Kangaroo, Rochester, NY 

After an airline broke my chair (possibly Delta this time?) I took my chair to Monroe Wheelchair for repair. On my way out I saw this fancy kangaroo in front of another business. Obviously I turned the car around to meet her. 

10. Sept. 9, 2017: Rainbow Glass Octopus/Squid? Boston, MA

I found this create at the convention center in South Boston. I'm not sure if he is giant in comparison to his real life counter part (and I don't actually know if he's an octopus or a squid because, well, I'm not that smart). He seemed big enough to me, so he's on the list.

At this point, I need 20 more giant animals in six months. If you know where I can find one, or if you'd like to go on a giant animal adventure with me, please let me know.