This past year has been a crazy year of firsts. Going on my first blind date, my first trapeze class, my first Blackhawks game as a Chicago resident, the first time I read over 50 books in a year, the first time I took a challenge to write a novel, the first time I went rafting and the first time I spontaneously hopped a plane to travel.
But I didn’t stop there. This year also marks the first time I marched down Michigan Avenue in the Festival of Lights parade as a balloon handler. With Kara, Sarah, Durda and Amanda, we manned the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer balloon. The balloon, as big as a house, was a beast in the wind. Thankfully, we only had a couple of scares while walking down Magnificent Mile, including the reindeer game of getting Rudolph’s head stuck in a tree.
It was a fantastic time with the gals and I’m not sure if we had more fun creating a spontaneous sing-a-long while moving down the street or helping deflate the balloon at the very end. All in all, such a worthy bucket list item.
Taking a key from a lyric The Head and the Heart‘s song Coeur D’Alene, I’m finally taking the plunge and doing this. After hearing some kids talk about it after the Film Festival last year, I, Hanna E Soltys will make the grand attempt to turn out 50,000 words this November as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as the kids call it.
I thought, sure 50,000 words? No problem! That breaks down to less than 2k words every day. And after actually telling people I was doing this, did it only dawn on me that holy crap, that’s a lot of words. That’s a ton of words. And this is a short month. And Jayhawk basketball season starts. And there’s Thanksgiving.
But I’m confident, I’ll be able to do this. After doing some serious reading the past month, I have just one more book to read to get to my goal. Which means there’s one thing out of the way. And the weather in Chicago promises to turn at any. So what better way to spend the days indoors than with some tea, great tunes (courtesy of THATH and Explosions in the Sky) and thousands upon thousands of words? I can handle that.
This challenge is about quantity over quality, which is something I have a hard time dealing with. I’m someone who likes to write and edit. Or edit while writing. I see this solely as an exercise feat. A massive one.
Aside from this challenge, I’ll also be running my first sanctioned running event since the age of 12 and the Point Eagles Cross Country days. Maggie and I decided this past week that after living with arthritis for five years, it’s time to celebrate my journey with the disease and participate in the 5K Jingle Run for the Arthritis Foundation. 5K isn’t much. But it’s a lot when it takes a while to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve got co-werkers and friends and dear loved ones running alongside me and encouraging me every step of the way as I go from brisk walker to runner again.
I blame the book My Year With Eleanor where author Noelle took on a challenge every day for a year.
Whatever have I got myself into? It doesn’t matter. Because my mind’s made up, I’m doin’ this, I’m doin’ this with you.
After befriending a musician and Celia getting booked to werk the Treasure Island Music Fest, fate dealt some sweet cards and I was on my way to the west coast for 48 hours. Where I had a weekend full of first times.
-First trip to San Francisco
-First time navigating a new city without a map
-First time eating and drinking total German cuisine at Suppeküche
-First time walking up “hills” and being completely out of breath
-First time having a rooftop party that felt like a movie
-First time hanging with Kacee in America (Dublin reunion 4 years in the making)
-First time at a Music Festival
-First time movin’ and groovin’ in the Silent Disco (San Fran calls them “Silent Friscos”)
-First time using a sewing machine to create a beer koozie in the arts & crafts tent
-First time on a Ferris Wheel that was so old-school, it didn’t have a cage around it keeping you in
-First time getting a haircut on an island. At a music festival
And the big one:
-First time I bought a journal and started writing my book. While gazing at the Pacific Ocean.
Needless to say, I’m in love with San Francisco. And leaving was horrible. The music fest wasn’t too bad to boot either.
Seeing as I enjoy sunshine, I’ve always thought I enjoyed the month of July. It’s hot, there’s baseball going on, BBQs smoking and of course, my blessed day of birth. But after this article on The Gloss, I’m thinking I was made for the month of November.
……National Novel Writing Month–Maybe I’ll take part in a few years, and then this will be more relevant to me.
……Movember–An ode to some great ‘stache wearers where “men” shave off their facial hair and raise money for men’s health awareness. Totally support it, but sadly, cannot participate seeing as I can’t grow a ‘stache (whew). Thankfully, TOMS has made it possible for lasses to participate this year.
…..National Peanut Butter Lovers Month–Oh hey, I’ve been a peanut butter lover since creation. And I know I have already expressed my passion for this staple. I mean, at work, they offer us staples in the kitchen. Crunchy and Smooth both make the list. Just sayin’…
…..Sweet Potatoes Awareness Month— I’m not sure why the Awareness is needed, but these suckers are tasty! The day Maggie showed me the power of microwaving a sweet potato and eating it was life changing. And sweet potato fries?! Be still my heart. I’d dip you in peanut butter, but I’m not big on mixing and matching.
…..National Pomegranate Month–I still recall the moment Mal pulled one of these foreign alien objects from her lunch box. I thought what in the hell is that. And then I saw her picking at it and I thought, why in the hell would anyone eat seed by seed? Then I tried it. And it was amazing. And I never looked back. POM juice is sick though. Opt for the real deal.
…..National Sleep Comfort Month–I didn’t need another reason to hit the snooze or go to bed at 10 o’clock, but I do!