The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

August, 2015:

Day 92/90 – Gearing Up for the Next Adventure

That’s it! The 90 Days of Awesome are complete! How did I spend my last day of this adventure? Gearing up for the next one!

Photo by Joseph Abbruscato, used with permission

Photo by Joseph Abbruscato, used with permission

September means cooler weather and fall conferences for me. I’m hitting the road next week to attend and speak at Content Marketing World in Cleveland. I spent a good chunk of time today verifying my flight and hostel reservations, emailing my co-panelist, and making plans to see some of my awesome legal eagle friends in Cleveland – including David Mills – one of my Sponsor A Law Kid sponsors that I’ve never met in person

Looking through my posts from the last 92 days, I noticed that the best days were the ones I got to spend with friends. More and more I realize that it’s the relationships that matter in my life, not what I do or where I go – but with who I share the adventure.

So what’s next? I’ll go back to writing posts 1-2 times per week on this site. I have at least 3 trips planned for the fall and I’m working on a fourth. And September is my birthday month so I’ll have to figure out some shenanigans to commemorate my 36th trip around the sun.

Thank you all for joining me for the 90 Days of Awesome. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did.

In case you missed it: Day 91 of the 90 Days of Awesome – My life oscillates between warp speed and crash-and-burn.

Day 91/90 – Two-Speed Life

Day 91 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I had a good day living at two speeds.

I warned you I’d do the 90 Days of Awesome until the end of August.

Gorgeous Photo of Me by Devon Christopher Adams from earlier this summer.

Gorgeous Photo of Me by Devon Christopher Adams from earlier this summer.

My life tends to oscillate between two speeds: full-speed ahead and crash-and-burn. Moderation is a foreign concept for the most part without deliberate thought and diligence. I was up at 5am and literally hit the ground running today, which got me on a roll of activity:

  • Ran 4.2 miles – it feels good to see myself building up endurance.
  • Visited Rev. Patrick – I appear and disappear at will at CCH.
  • Bought potting soil at the nursery for the patio garden.
  • Went to the market for paprika and vegetarian bouillon.
  • Made Terry’s lentil soup – love this recipe! I use extra broth instead of wine.
  • Boiled chicken for Rosie – yes, she gets chopped chicken with every meal. She’s spoiled.
  • Planted broccoli, cucumbers, and greens beans on the patio – peas and parsley will be planted later this season.

By 2:30, I was exhausted and felt a massive headache coming on despite being conscientious about drinking water throughout the day. From warp speed to full stop – I popped two acetaminophen, threw The Perks of Being a Wallflower into the DVD player for background noise, and collapsed onto the couch for a nap and woke up about 90 minutes later. After I woke up, I still had a few items to crank through on my to-do list, mostly house chores that didn’t require too much mental capacity. Thank goodness for that because my body woke up significantly earlier than my brain.

Practicing moderation is part of my recovery, but until I get better at that, I’ll have to keep doing the up-and-down lifestyle. Thankfully, my life has the flexibility to allow me to take naps when I need them most days.

In case you missed it: Day 90 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Celebrating the Life of Atticus VanSlyke.

Day 90/90 – Atticus’ Memorial

Day 90 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? We celebrated the life of Atticus VanSlyke as a community.

Photo by Amy Donohue

Photo by Amy Donohue

Literally hundreds of people followed this family’s journey as their little son Atticus battled cancer. He battled it while spreading joy and love everywhere he went. I loved seeing the photos of Atticus walking the halls late at night and looking up at the light displays in the lobby with wide eyes and his jaw dropped with wonder. Our collective hearts broke when we learned the news that Atticus passed away.

We came together as a community to support this family and remember Atticus. The church was packed with all walks of life from people in suits to people wearing jeans and “Team Atticus” t-shirts. I wore a yellow cardigan and my dress with the pleated skirt that makes me want to twirl. (I may have twirled a few times when I put it on that day.) It seemed appropriate.

The service was beautiful. It was filled with images of Atticus from his too-short life and some of the most gorgeous music I’ve ever heard – especially the performance of Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). Krys and Melissa planned to sing this song when Atticus was cancer-free, but they played it here because their son was free from the chains of cancer in a different way. I’d never heard this variation of Amazing Grace before, and even though I’m not a religious person, I bought the song on iTunes when I got home. Listening to it still makes me cry.

Atticus' Balloon Release

Atticus’ Balloon Release

Krys and Melissa both spoke at Atticus’ memorial. I don’t know how they did that, but they each spoke from the heart and with such openness and love for Atticus and their family, sharing stories that few people know. I was in awe of their grace and how openly they shared what was in their hearts while the rest of us soaked tissues and handkerchiefs with tears.

The service ended with a balloon release. (Yes, I know we engaged in communal littering and it’s bad for the environment, but shut up – it’s what this family wanted.) I hope it helped give them a sense of peace and the feeling that they are still connected with their son and brother.

I hope the VanSlykes know that they are surrounded by love. Even though the rest of us will get on with our lives while they are deep in their grieving process, we will be there in a moment’s notice if they need us. And as time passes on and they re-experience their grief as they celebrate holidays and milestones knowing that Atticus is missing, I hope they know that we’ll be thinking loving thoughts for them.

In case you missed it: Day 89 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I registered the trademark for this blog!

Day 89/90 – Registered Trademark

Day 89 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I officially registered trademark for this blog!

It's Official!

It’s Official!

Ever since the Turner Barr incident a few years ago, I’ve been telling all my blogger and vlogger friends to register the name of their sites with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to keep someone from stealing their name from them. Since I am a person of integrity, I needed to do the same, so in January I submitted the application to the USPTO to register The Undeniable Ruth as a trademark.

A few weeks ago, I got the notice that my application was approved and today my certificate arrived in the mail. So The Undeniable Ruth is now The Undeniable Ruth®. It’s mine. All mine. You can’t have it. I will forever be The Undeniable Ruth®! If anyone tries to use my name or something like it on their product, I will lay the smackdown on them hard and fast.

The best part of getting a registered trademark was that I got to post a picture of it on Facebook and share the joy with all my friends. It wouldn’t have been as meaningful if I didn’t have people to share it with, especially my fellow creatives.

In case you missed it: Day 88 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got to have lunch with Stripes!

Day 88/90 – Lunch with Stripes!

Day 88 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have lunch with Stripes!

Stripes and Me!

Stripes and Me!

I met Rachel (aka Stripes) at the inaugural No Pants Light Rail Ride in 2009 and then we became friends as two of the co-founders of Improv AZ. (She got the nickname Stripes because she wore awesome striped knee-high socks at the first No Pants Ride.) We did some awesome shenanigans together like Welcoming a Stranger at the Airport, a Freeze at First Friday, and we were co-captains of part of the 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride. Geez we had fun!

This is a freakin' cool kid!

This is a freakin’ cool kid!

And then Stripes moved to the east coast, got married, and had a baby. This week, they were all back in town because Stripes and her husband Paul were invited to give talks on computer programming. (Yeah, they’re wicked smart.) We met up for lunch at Carolina’s – Paul’s first time to this Mexican food Mecca with the best tortillas in Phoenix. I suspect they don’t have Mexican food like this back east.

It was so great to catch up with Stripes and meet her husband. I loved his 3-question test he gave each of his dates when he was still single:

  1. What’s the square root of 144?
  2. True or false: There is right way to put on the toilet paper roll.
  3. What do you do?

He and Stripes seem to be a good fit for each other. And they have the most adorable baby. In general, I dislike children (which I need to revise that to children over 6 months old) but this little guy was so cute and chill. I asked to hold him the moment I saw him. I love his big inquisitive brown eyes – always checking out his surroundings.

It was so great to see Stripes! It’s too bad my next trip back east won’t afford me enough time to visit them on their turf.

In case you missed it: Day 87 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Processing my grief and anger.

Day 87/90 – Processing Grief and Anger

Day 87 of the 90 Days of Awesome was not awesome. My day started out with sadness and anger as I woke to the story of two news reporters being killed on live TV. Their deaths were so sad and senseless. My heart goes out of their loved ones who will never get those images out of their heads. These senseless acts of violence make me so angry I wanted to go out in the alley behind my office and scream, but I didn’t want to scare my officemates.

Six flower pots filled with possibilities - soon to be filled with dirt.

Six flower pots filled with possibilities – soon to be filled with dirt.

It’s been a bit of a rough week for me physically – poor sleep, sweating again, chest pain. Sadness + anxiety perhaps? (When in doubt, Occam’s Razor.) I was glad to finish my client work by early afternoon. I told my receptionist, “I’m going on a mission” and left for the day.

What I called a mission was really a trip to the nursery to get pots for my patio garden. I picked up 6 pots and saucers and some seeds. I placed the pots and watched how the sun hits the patio over the course of the afternoon – adjusting their locations for maximum sunlight. I hope to get quality potting soil this weekend so I can start the growing process.

Working on this simple project seemed to calm me down, give me something tangible to do, and engaged the curiosity center of my brain. Perhaps this gardening project will continue to be good for me.

In case you missed it: Day 86 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Celebrating a friend’s sobriety anniversary.

Day 86/90 – Celebrating Sobriety

Day 86 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to help a friend celebrate their sobriety anniversary.

Serenity Prayer

Serenity Prayer

The people I’ve met are incredible, and they come from all walks of life. I really appreciate it when I meet people like me – people in their 30s with 10+ years of sobriety. We’re in similar phases of life professionally and in terms of our recovery. I can relate to most people in regards to their program, but it’s special to have friends with who I share so many other similarities as well.

One of those friends celebrated a sobriety “birthday” today. She’s biologically younger than me, but in regards to the program, she’s “older” than me. I love it.

In case you missed it: Day 85 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I’m learning how to be an urban gardener and grow vegetables and herbs on my patio.

Day 85/90 – Becoming an Urban Farmer

Day 85 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I learned about urban gardening!

Rosie enjoyed her first visit to Changing Hands

Rosie enjoyed her first visit to Changing Hands

My condo has a good-size concrete patio. Since we moved in, I’ve wanted to do something with it besides brush Rosie on it. A few years ago, I was impressed and envious when my friend Thomas did all-edible landscaping around his house. Especially now that I’m eating less processed foods and more vegetables, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully relaxing) to plant a small garden.

Tonight Rosie and I got a basic education on desert gardening at a talk by Greg Peterson of The Urban Farm at Changing Hands in Tempe called “Jumpstart your Fall Garden.” Greg told us how to have healthy soil and the best types of sun exposure for growing things. One of his key lessons was “observe your surroundings.” Pay attention to what’s growing, where it grows, and what microclimates are in your garden area. My concrete patio gets western sun exposure which should be good for gardening from mid-September until early May.

One of the most encouraging things Greg said was, “I’ve killed more plants than you have.” Historically, I’ve been afraid to grow things because I have a track record of killing plants – including a cactus. My goal with my garden is to have the experience of tending plants and I hope I break even in regards to what I spend setting up my garden (and I’m doing it on a budget) and how much food I harvest from my plants.

Greg also told us about the free desert planting calendar on his website that tells you the best time to grow certain plants. Based on his calendar, I should plant broccoli, cucumber, green beans, garlic, and peas this winter and hold off on planting squash, peppers, and melons until the spring.

I hope to devote some time during the next few weeks to observing where the sun hits my patio, getting pots, soil, seeds, and plants and setting my garden. Greg also suggested that we name our urban gardens. I wonder what I’ll call mine.

In case you missed it: Day 84 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Doing my own thing.

Day 84/90 – Doing My Own Thing

Day 84 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I did my own thing today – whatever the spirit moved me to do.

Sorry I don't have a photo from today's protest. Evo & I did the Topless Protest in 2013. I felt really pretty that day too. (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.)

Sorry I don’t have a photo from today’s protest. Evo & I did the Topless Protest in 2013. I felt really pretty that day too. (Photo by Sheila Dee, used with permission.)

Often my weekends are used to catch up on errands, chores, and rest. Many times, I feel like I’m doing the things I “have to do” rather than the things I “get to do.” Today felt like a “get to do” type of day, even though the activities were mostly similar to other weeks.

One of the things that made today special was the Topless Protest. This is an annual international event to bring awareness to the fact that men and women are treated on equally under the decency laws. This is true in Arizona – men can be legally topless in public but women are required to cover their areolas at all times (unless they’re breastfeeding). At the Topless Protest, men and women are often shirtless but cover their areolas to show that the law should be the same for all people. As a person who believes in gender equality, I believe the law should be changed so that there is one rule for all people.

I felt really pretty at this event. I wore green shorts and a pair of dark silver star-shaped pasties. I also wore contacts, make up, and put glitter in my hair. Meeting other people at the protest was fun, but the actual march was so delayed that I had to invoke the Law of Two Feet and bail.

So off I went with the rest of my day – running errands, doing laundry, writing blog posts, and doing some prep cooking for the week. Nothing was extraordinary, but because I was doing whatever I felt like doing in the moment, I felt happy.

In case you missed it: Day 83 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I love documentaries.

Day 83/90 – I Love Documentaries

Day 83 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I watched two awesome documentaries!

Movie Night! by ginnerobot from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Movie Night! by ginnerobot from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I love movies that are based on real events and documentaries. In the last year, I have spent a lot of time checking out movies from the library, and more recently I’ve been checking out mainly documentaries. I’ve learned that when it comes to fictional books and movies, I rarely remember what I read and see because my brain knows they’re not real, so it is difficult to convince it to retain any of the information as useful. So I can read or watch a work of fiction and enjoyed it, but I will barely remember it.

I find real life and stories about real people much more engaging. This weekend was no different. I watched to documentaries in between doing chores around the house:

  • Dark Girls (2011): An investigation into people’s views about dark-skinned women in America – in Caucasian and non-Caucasian communities. I had no idea that being a lighter skinned was such a preferred characteristic, or that there was such a thing as the “paper bag test.” It was shocking to learn that this issue is not limited to the U.S.; skin lightening products are popular throughout the world, including third world countries.
  • Out in the Silence (2009): After Joe Wilson legally married his partner in Washington, D.C., he ran a marriage announcement in his hometown paper in Oil City, PA. This led to a documentary featuring the lives of several LGBT people in this small city and the views of heterosexual Christians who opposed homosexuality same-sex marriage.

Documentaries show real people, in their real lives, sharing their real feelings and experiences. It’s raw. They provide a glimpse into someone else’s world. I also like that documentaries tend to be shorter than feature films. I can often get through two-four documentaries in a lazy weekend, which is great because there are so many documentary films that I want to see.

In case you missed it: Day 82 of the 90 Days of Awesome – A moment of grace in the sea of sadness following the announcement of Atticus’ passing.