Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Speed-Dating: Solo-Style

As many of you who have been following The 52/52 Project on Facebook know, the Gods of Finishing Projects on Schedule have been messing with me. It seems I can't control the winds which dictate my hot air balloon ride. However, rather than wait around for the next scheduled speed-dating event--and risk that being cancelled again too--I've decided to take that item into my own incapable hands. And I've chosen also to up the ante.

Enter Sherry's Solo Speed-Dating Venture.

Over the next week, I plan to visit seven bars to interview men. (And no, "interview" is NOT a euphemism. Honestly, you people.)

Here are my rules:
- I must sit by myself up at the bar.
- I must strike up a conversation with at least two guys at each establishment.
- I must stay for an hour.
- I must work a few of my preplanned questions into our conversation. For example, "Out of curiosity, how many cats may a woman own before you would label her a crazy cat lady?" Also, "Have you ever been actually convicted of an ax murder?" (OK, I promise to have a more boring line of questions included.)

And, here's the clincher: If a (presumably) single man piques my interest and doesn't run away, I must ask for his phone number.

If I were 22 instead of 52, this venture would be only slightly pushing my boundaries. Now? My fingers are a bit shaky just typing this.

I think what makes this experience so far outside my comfort zone is that I'm really not searching for a man in my life. I'm very independent and fairly satisfied being on my own. If I were actually focused on finding someone, I'd probably enter into this more easily.

Still, if there's one thing The 52/52 Project has taught me it's to push ourselves beyond our status quo. Some of my best experiences in the past year resulted from bad odds and low expectations. As my friend, Murf, who suggested this escapade, reminded me, "You never know what you'll find when you're not really looking." Maybe. At the very least, the journey usually proves interesting.

What, really, do I have to lose? I mean, except for my dignity?

Advice, encouragement, sympathy, loud guffaws: I'll take whatever you have to offer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Giving It Your Best--and Then a Bit More

My mom and dad, in the mid-eighties. Handsome, yes?
With Father's Day approaching, I've been thinking a lot about my dad, who died at the far too young age of fifty-three. Here's my favorite Denny Stanfa story, which both my sisters remember experiencing, too:

Dad: Squeeze my hand. As hard as you can.

Me: (squeezing tight)

Dad: You're squeezing hard, right? Now, squeeze a bit harder. As tight as possible.

Me: (squeezing harder)

Dad: OK, now squeeze even a bit more.

Me: (squeezing, squeezing, squeezing)

Dad: Are you squeezing as hard as you can?

Me: (gasping) Yes, yes, as hard as I can.

Dad: (nodding) OK. Now, I want you to squeeze harder yet.

And, somehow, I managed to do just that.

This is why my sisters and I learned to never give up in most anything in our lives. My dad taught us that even when we thought we were giving something our all, we could always, always try a bit harder.

He may have been been gone for twenty-four years, but his life lessons live on. Thank you, Dad. xo

What's the best lesson one of your parents ever taught you?  Who in your life is gone and is missed the most? Could you have tried harder, that one time, before you gave up?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Catching a Buzz

As I pried open a box of bees to install into a hive, I hesitated. I tried to recall the last time I was stung. Maybe thirty years ago? I don't remember the episode clearly, but I know it was fully unpleasant. Yet, I was certain it was nowhere near the pain I'd endure if something went awry now, as 10,000 bees swarmed in front of me.


Although I was a newbee keeper and carefully coached through the ordeal by an experienced keeper, Christian Kuhl, I was outfitted like a pro. Thanks to another local reader, John Curtis, I was covered by a slightly snug bee-keeper suit (the diet resumes next week) and a helmet with face netting. It was a fabulous look. I resembled a Star Wars Stormtrooper--only minus that stoic courage.

Were these the drones I was looking for? I flinched and blinked twice. No, apparently, I was only looking for trouble.

But between the suit, a bit of smoke (sadly, not THAT kind of smoke), and some sugar water sprayed on the bees to help render many of them temporarily flightless, I managed my task successfully. After forty-five minutes, I escaped with only one--nearly painless--sting on my ankle (I failed to wear socks), which I didn't even notice until I left. And my EpiPen proved unnecessary.

The experience was so fool-proof, it almost felt like cheating. I vowed that next time, like Christian, I'd bravely attempt this with no protective suit or gloves. My friend Marion, who'd once been stung by a swarm of bees and trembled this afternoon as she took photos from about fifty yards away, made no such promise.

My biggest disappointments were accidentally smashing one bee and learning that all these little creatures--my tiny new friends--would die in about five weeks. *sigh* Such is the sorry cycle of life for a busy bee.

I gained a whole new understanding of and appreciation for bees. As I pulled off my bee suit and climbed into my car--holy hell, did I breathe out a huge sigh of relief.

And, it appeared I was more a Jedi than a Stormtrooper. Because---although it had failed me through so many of my 52/52 ventures--on this particular day, the Force was strong with me.

To bee or not to bee? When's the last time you faced one--or 10,000--of your fears? What's the buzz; tell me what's a happening?