(Did you read week 3 of #30daysofnewthings yet?)

Fresh off’a my coffee habit on my #30daysofnewthings challenge (I’d decided to mostly quit the stuff), I forged ahead.

Could I still be productive without my intravenous caffeine?

The answer is: yes. In fact, last Saturday I sat exactly where I am now and found work-zen on Wegman’s upper floor.

This is a gem I hope more of the grocery patron peons beneath me (literally) on the dungeon level never learn about.


Because there’s nothing quite like reveling in the paradoxical luxury that is public solitude.

Or high heeled yoga, which I did later that day:

And, speaking of yoga, I was starting to catch a bit of wanderlust.

I mean, this was all great – but I needed to travel at least a town over once more before the challenge ended.

So, a friend and I opted to give hillbilly brunch in Alexandria a go the next day:

Lucky for us both, we’re equally amazing conversationalists with vocal dysentery.

That made the two hour wait for a polluted-on-bloody-mary’s band far more tolerable; dare I say… fun.

Still, by Monday, after getting my hair done, I was too tired to even think up a #newthing.

“New candle?” boring-me thought almost out loud because I was delirious with salon fatigue.

Despite being fully aware of how boring that’d be, I stumbled toward Yankee – led by my olfactory bulb.

Then I saw him.

And I knew he wasn’t gonna get outta this holiday without a socially handicapped 30 year old perched upon his lap.

After my photo op with rabbit (who really needs to stop smuggling carrots in the lower half of his suit), I was starting to feel that feeling I get when my karma credit card bill is getting into the red. But good deeds never feel so good when they’re forced. Thus, I summoned the cosmic gods to bestow upon me an opportunity to cancel out my overgrown ego, sheathing my soul like dental plaque.

(But not before some exotic fruit that tastes like the lovechild of a potato and a shot of amaretto):

Then, I met Mike.

A man sans a home – but plus many a handy man skill (and a new set of tools he’s proud to own):

First off, lemme say that when I help someone who might be in a ripe place for “desperate times desperate measures” actions, I take caution with any Good Samaritanism. For example, I’ll only be able to help ya out in broad daylight. This particular time, though, I rolled down the passenger window a crack and asked him if he’d like to meet me over at the restaurant across the way. I’m not well off myself, so I could only afford a cheap burger for him, but he was more than grateful as we sat, chatted, and he regaled me with all the skills he has and how much he wants to get back to work. Right now, his buddy (I think he said – formerly homeless herself) is even holding his tools for him in a storage locker so that they “don’t get stolen”. It amazes me how well the homeless community stay connected, help each other out, and don’t forget one another when they’ve gotten their lives back on track again.

And I had to get “back on track” myself the next day – with my P.T. career efforts.

Starting with a campus recon to where I wanna take my summer class.

The event wasn’t Instagram-worthy – plus I was driving (first cell phone induced car crash? #30daysofnewthings?).

So I took my puppers to the park later to enjoy it a slightly different way than usual…

And then I opened some nuts a slightly different way than usual too – right before getting the worst massage ever:

Equally unusual: the shop I went to the next day.

Yes, I visited a Wiccan shop. And, I hafta say, I was a little disappointed. I’d genuinely hoped to walk in and see a buncha high school sluts in catholic school girl gear, with Faruza Balk at dead center – bearing all her teeth and gums and crying black eyeliner tears while lamenting the loss of all the guardians of the watchtowers from her witch system. Alas, there was no magic posse to be seen. Nay.

I went to 13 Magikal Moons and all I got was this anti-amorous spell to try and make me fall outta love with someone.

#OhIntriguing #TellMeMore

No, but I will tell ya this:

On my way there, I mother-fluffing parallel parked my car. Alone. For the first time ever:

Now, that’s the real magic of the day.

Almost as magical as going to the carnival for its last day in town, riding all the rides, and getting swindled by carnies:

I’m not sure what was more fun – the funhouse whose windows of which at least twelve now have my face imprinted Forrest-Gump-Smiley-Face-Style-Except-With-Sephora? Or the bumper cars whose seats cradled child piss which I sat in directly after they departed them. (I can still feel it on my bum now. And yes, my jeans are on more repeat washes than an emo love song playlist titled “Razorblade AfterMath Bath” on the heels of a high school breakup.

And that brings us to… Easter Sunday.

The last day of my #30daysofnewthings challenge.

This year, my sister and I thought, “All those years mom and dad made us go looking for eggs…

…Why not do it to them this time?”

So, we did.

But candies, chocolates, and promises we didn’t intend to keep didn’t seem sufficient for our not-so-Disney-PG style.

Thus, instead, we hid challenges of our own inside of the eggs:

And if you know me and my fam, you also know the challenges got far crazier than that.

This was, by far, the best of all the challenges I took part in – including the tattoo.

Watching my parents run around after eggs, be open to trying out the craziness we’d birthed in our brains to hatch outta plastic eggs, and being such good sports… There’s just no substitute for it. Nothing better. In fact, I genuinely dunno what was better – my mom staring lovingly into my dad’s eyes and reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in an epic Julia Childs voice, him singing Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” while wiggle-walking around, or my sister and I catching early onset Alzheimer’s and forgetting that there were only ten eggs – and they’d found all of them (as they carried on with hunting for nonexistent additional eggs). And that’s the amazing thing about this challenge. As I’ve been trying new things based on someone else I saw try new things, it has spread in a slightly viral-lite kinda way. My friend Kim matched my same headstand pose – in the middle of public – just like I was doing with my woodsy meta yoga photo ops (it was funny ’cause she was even – subconsciously maybe? – wearing the same colors I did in my snap). When I comment-adored her for it, she comment-adored my challenge in reply. (*takes trophy no one’s awarded me*) Then my friend, Jamie, whose ab-challenge I’d done started a list of her own to try. She’s even getting her hubby to collab with her on it. (*Grabs microphone and thanks imaginary agent between microphone feedback squeals*) Then my former colleague jumped in and started doing it too. (*Starts doing the Halle Berry sob to an auditorium of empty seats*)

But the best yes-anders to my month long innovation improv have been my loved ones.

Despite the lovely ego shower of hearing you’re inspiring, that wasn’t the best part. (Trust me, I thought it’d be.)

But, really, it’s been the effect of involving the people I love in on this.

Seeing them try – and enjoy stuff they’d normally never do.

Hearing my mom say something like, “Ah, I’m glad we went to the carnival after all!” (when zero point zero people really wanted to go), enjoying her “Oh, that’s lovely, darling” reaction over my tattoo and dog mohawk, and watching my dad and her kiss romantically (even if only on an Easter egg challenge) before we all debrief and laugh about it … that… that’s the unexpected prize at the bottom of this 30 day cereal box I was holding out for all along. The connection. The fun. The spirit of everything that’s so easy to lose, so hard to rekindle, but so worth it when you just utter the magical words, “Let’s try something different this time…”

Thanks, Ken, for this fantastic life-changing concept. I might miss a few days of challenges in the next 365.

But you can bet your red-trousered bum that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

(Which reminds me: I need to add “opera” to the list…)