Being Judged And Finding A Mermaid

As we quickly approach the end of May, I thought it was time to update my status on the 52 New Things Project.

When I first conceived of this idea to try at least 52 new things during the year, I didn’t have any real plan.  The smooth-walled ruts of complacency were closing in on me and I simply wanted a mechanism to ensure I didn’t settle into a routine of same-ness with each passing day.

Armed with a spreadsheet – which eventually evolved into categories – I started to populate it with ideas.  If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you already know that my curriculum vitae of fulfilled adventures is long and varied.  I worried briefly that it might be challenging to constantly find new things to explore.

It quickly became apparent however that adding variety and new-ness into my life was not going to be that difficult at all.  It didn’t have to be a heart-stopping adrenaline rush like many of my adventures in the past.  It could be as simple as trying some of the unusual fruit and vegetables that I would otherwise ignore at the supermarket.

My current list has 88 items on it, broken down into 8 categories:

* Exploring Toronto
* New Experiences
* Projects
* New Recipes
* New Foods
* Travel
* Personal Development
* Miscellaneous

Little Italy

Little Italy – March 2015

As I contemplated ideas, I created a few guidelines for myself.  For example, a New Food had to be something I had never tried before – like Vegemite or False Elephant Snout and a New Recipe had to have something unusual or unique about it – not simply another chocolate cake or vegetable soup.

My failed version of Polka Dot Cake fell into the ‘unusual’ category, but it really deserves a story of its own.

As of today, I have completed 44 items on my list.

Some items in the Personal Development category involved establishing new habits – like a weekly yoga class and strength training twice a week.  I didn’t consider them “accomplished” until I had successfully worked it into my routine for 3 consecutive months.

… and yes, the irony of creating new routines is not lost on me.

I’ve had some great adventures like visiting Niagara Falls on the American side, or going to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto – both of which I would recommend.

Aga Khan Museum

Aga Khan Museum

Others, I would probably give a pass on if ever the opportunity came by again – like the Float Spa experience in a sensory deprivation tank … or kumquats.  Sorry, to all of you who love these little citrus bites.  They just don’t work for me.  I’m willing to concede that it’s likely because a decent tasting citrus fruit is hard to come by in Ontario.

I set the bar pretty low on some new things – like creating a Twitter account.  I may now have a Twitter presence but my activity is sporadic at best.  I just haven’t invested much time in developing exactly how I want to use Twitter.

On the other hand, some new things are proving to be a little too challenging – like 33 days without sweets.  I’m hanging my head in shame on this one.  It doesn’t sound that hard, does it?  Apparently I have issues and I may need to re-work this challenge before I can come anywhere close to breaking this bad habit.

One recent adventure is the source of today’s post title.  I recently took a drive to the small town of Elora about 90 minutes from Toronto.

Admittedly I had passed through Elora once before – 35 years ago – when I first moved to Toronto, but this day I got a chance to actually explore some of this lovely little community.

Elora-2

Elora1

Overall, I’m rather proud of my progress to date and I have some exciting new things to look forward to in the months ahead.

Maybe you’re feeling inspired to try a few new things yourself … I hope you’ll tell me about them.  They in turn may also inspire me.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Active Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Being Judged And Finding A Mermaid

  1. Pingback: 52 New Things – Been There. Done That. | My Life Lived Full

  2. jannatwrites says:

    I’m impressed with your organization and progress! This is a great way to avoid getting stuck in a rut, that’s for sure. I had to chuckle a little at the Twitter account… I haven’t even set one up because I don’t know what I’d do with it even if I had the time to do something 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I have to admit that I’m not bonding with Twitter at all. The endless stream of one-liners is just overwhelming and I’m failing to get the point. I recently started an Instagram account and I’m enjoying it more … at least for now. Exploring all these different options in social media has been interesting. I can see how they appeal to different people for different reasons. That’s part of the point of 52 New Things!

      Like

  3. Pingback: PURPOSEFUL FLUTTERS | A.PROMPTreply

  4. I am proud of your progress! WELL DONE! I love this! Such a great, adventurous concept! I may give it a whirl. And I must admit, I “Floated” too! Only I liked it. I slept like a damn baby for days afterwards. Sweet. Dreams. 🙂

    Like

  5. beeblu says:

    I would imagine that trying vegemite for the first time would be something of an adventure 🙂 We eat it in spades down here. But I’ve never tried kumquat. I did recently cook with pomegranate seeds for the first time, which was an experience – not the cooking part but the removal-of-the-seeds part.

    I’ve recently taken up Taiko and can recommend it. 😀

    Like

  6. This makes me really think about whether I am complacently in a rut or not. And I think maybe I am….but it is so comfortably here, Joanne, and nicely furnished. All my things are here and I’m rather happy. Trying new things seems so unnecessary when I have you to do them for me and winnow out anything inedible, dangerous, too hot, too cold, too expensive, or too sour. You are my Daniel Boone! My trailblazer!
    I set up an account for Twitter once and then couldn’t figure out the rest of it. But I am an Instagram addict. If I were to add one more thing to my social media activities I might just lose it entirely, so I’ll leave that one for you. Hope you had a good weekend – I guess it wasn’t a long one for you in Canada? The heat is slowly seeping in down here after such a lovely spring. Not complaining, mind you.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m happy to be your trailblazer … I’ll continue to send out reports from ‘the other side’ 😉

      Our long weekend was the week before yours and it’s hot here too … in contrast to last year. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a hot summer for us.

      I have an Instagram account too, but I’ve never used it. Quite frankly, I just don’t get it.

      Like

  7. Hi Joanne,

    Loved the post.

    What jumps out at me are the aspects of resolve and curiosity which you have displayed. Resolve to ‘be in the moment’ and seek opportunities based on your set criteria. Curiosity to bring in that additional gush of adrenaline so essential to explore.

    Great going; wish you all the best.

    Shakti

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you for the kind words! There’s no question that a sense of curiosity and adventure is needed because it is so easier and less risky to stay close to the things which are comfortable.

      Thank you so much for visiting and best wishes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. badfish says:

    Joanne, you’ve come a long way, eh…44! You da man! Metaphorically speaking. For some reason, when I read this today, it made me want to do this, experience 52 new things. But that takes commitment, and I’ve never been good at commitment. So I’ll live vicariously through you for now. Have you ever tried rambutan? Way better than vegemite or kumquats…or maybe any fruit! Very sensual.

    Like

  9. Relax says:

    Sometimes I think about re-trying old things, but I lie down ’til it goes away. As for trying new things, I think maybe Steven Wright’s list would be identical to mine–but I’ve certainly enjoyed reading of your new things and everyone’s comments! By the way, I’ve been to Ontario (around and in Hamilton — so quaint and beautiful), and the cleanliness and friendliness of downtown Toronto was surpassed as a true delight only by the Horseshoe Falls.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      hahahaha … I must admit that I often have the same instinct to plop in front of the TV and veg until the urge to do something goes away 🙂

      I’m always happy when someone visits the city I call home and has left with a good impression. There’s good and bad everywhere, and I always hope that visitors get to experience the good stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve done so well on your list! Walking the Bruce trail, I’ve started discovering charming little towns around Southern Ontario too and aren’t there some lovely ones? Only problem is that I’m usually passing through so inspired by you I must start keeping a list of the 52 little towns I want to visit😉

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That was certainly one of the best parts of hiking the Bruce … getting to experience all these small communities that I would otherwise have no reason to ever see.

      Unfortunately we didn’t keep a list of all the stuff – including side trails – we wanted to go back to explore some day.

      Like

  11. bikerchick57 says:

    Reblogged this on Mary J Melange and commented:
    It’s time you let Joanne at “My Life Lived Full” know if you’re inspired to try something new.

    Like

  12. LB says:

    Hello Joanne! It’s been too long since I’ve visited, and yet, I’m so familiar with your 52 new things! I’m impressed that you have already completed 44! Your updated list is shows you are not a slacker and stick to your goals (except for the little sweets problem – ha!).
    You inspire me!

    Like

  13. I am from montreal and tend to say Toronto sucks, but reading more and more posts like this makes me give a 2nd chance to Tdot! haha

    Like

  14. One of my favourite lyric lines goes “I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake.” 🙂

    You’ve already done 44 and it’s not even June! You’re a champion!!

    Now, Joanne, I hope there’s a little musical challenge somewhere in that list. Step outside your comfort zone, woman! (Yeah, yeah, I know, you spend half your life there. Step a little further then!)

    I love cumquat marmalade (you say kumquat, I say cumquat, let’s call them tiny oranges). We don’t have a tree but our neighbour’s enormous cumquat tree hangs over our fence. Speaking of which, it is currently chockas with fruit. Must get picking and jamming (or is that marmalading?).

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh yummy … you get jammin’ 🙂
      Any fruit or vegetable fresh from the plant is going to be exploding with flavour, unlike a lot of the produce we get here which has its origins in the southern US, Mexico or South America. When we do travel somewhere and eat something truly fresh – like my experience with oranges in Majorca – the taste blows us away.

      It’s funny you should mention the musical challenge. I’ve already established that I’m muscial inept, but about a year ago, I started listening to a radio station geared to people under 30 (I’m just a wee bit older than that). It’s edgy and, for the most part, not the type of music I listened to when I WAS under 30. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship going on this it right now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s a massive challenge you’ve posed for yourself, Joanne, but one that clearly is coming out a brilliant success. I think people don’t often take enough time to discover more about themselves, their limitations and new inspirations. You are not only providing a lovely stimulus to others who read your blog, but you’re on the marvelous journey of self-discovery–and no one I know has ever deemed that a waste of time.
    You totally rock, Joanne.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Wow – that’s high praise! I’m so flattered.

      Here I am, just kicking and screaming on my inevitable journey to the grave – trying to stay as connected as possible to this wonderful world around us … hoping that maybe a few people might enjoy my adventures along the way 🙂

      Like

  16. Corina says:

    I have trouble doing more than five or six new things a year so your 52 is really impressive! Maybe I’ll try for just one new thing a month and see how that goes!

    Like

  17. treerabold says:

    You are an inspiration. Its great that you have stuck to it and continue to plan for new activities and adventures. I am looking forward to what happens next!!

    Like

  18. What a wonderful list and your post title has to be one of my favorites of all time. 🙂

    Like

  19. You only need to do 8 more new things then you can put your feet up for the rest of the year and eat those sweets. Oops. Wasn’t I supposed to say that?

    Like

  20. Sammy D. says:

    Already 44 ?!? Overachiever??

    My only q is WHY would reducing sweets even be on the list? That’s just cruel and unusual punishment at this stage of life 😍

    Like

  21. Sue Slaght says:

    Wow already so many accomplished! Good for you Joanne. I think I am good at trying new ‘bigger’ things but you inspire to look at smaller things too. The kumquats for instance. How often do I pass by foods in the grocery store never tried before. I appreciate the perspective my friend. 🙂

    Like

  22. Mama Cormier says:

    Maybe I need to write down what I hope to experience. I’m more of a spontaneous type of person. I’ll say I want to see certain things but I don’t always get to it. I went to the Aga Khan museum back in March and I really liked it but I went because a friend invited me.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ingrid says:

    That is quite the challenge. Kudos for accomplishing so many new things. My sister in law had a kumquat tree and would add the strange fruit to salads. It’s definitely ‘different’ tasting.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m willing to bet that kumquats ripened off the tree taste considerably better than what we can buy here.
      The only time I’ve had an orange that really wowed me was off the tree. Unfortunately in our climate, that’s virtually impossible to get here. So I avoid them :/

      Liked by 1 person

  24. bikerchick57 says:

    I know it’s difficult to give up sweets…I did it for a few weeks in February, but I have regressed since then. Do you want to do the 33 days together? Seriously. It helps to have someone else in the mix so you can keep each other honest. I need to get back on the wagon.

    Like

  25. I live in the almost area of Elora. About 30+ years ago, one of my sisters who did not live in the area–and years and years before internet, treated me to Elora.I’m still entranced. 😀

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Since I was virtually just passing through 35 years ago, I couldn’t really say whether the town has changed much or not … well, except the old Elora Inn is closed. I really hope it’s being refurbished because it is such a lovely spot overlooking the gorge.

      Like

  26. aleksawal says:

    Yes you’ve made it to the west end 😉

    Like

  27. Mrs. P says:

    Your little adventures are inspiring and I have to admit that I have been encouraged to try new things more often. In the last few months I have tried fruits and other foods that I have never eaten before.

    I’ve done zip lining – set up was an obstacle and zipline course in the heavily treed park. Fun, not scary at all but I wasn’t too thrilled with wearing the harness as it kept causing my shirt to climb and all my belly fat hung out…not pretty at all.

    I took sailing lessons for a month and learned how to sail. I loved the sailing part but admit that it was way harder than I had imagined. I got so many bruises on my legs and bottom that I was happy to be done so that they could fully heal. Now that I am able to sit without wincing, I’m ready to go out and practice some more…but that may have to wait for a while.

    I have always wanted to buy a project house and turn it into a nice house just like on the TV shows. Rick can do anything…I know I am so lucky! The goal is to use the highest quality materials for the least amount of money so there will be a lot of research/shopping involved. For example, we bought a pair of very nice granite vanities with sinks for the bathroom for $75.00 A lot of sweat equity…this one is a complete gut which means we will be able to modify the floor plan and add another bath. We both have decided to have fun with the project and I am real curious to see how we will feel at the end of it. Excited to do another or…never again. I hope it’s the first one. We should be starting very soon.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh wow – I’ve lived through more than my fair share of renos. It’s not for the faint of heart 🙂
      Our first home was a gut-and-rebuild, learning as we went along. I was lucky too … Gilles believed in doing things right, rather than just getting it done as quickly / easily as possible.
      You have lots of newness ahead of you with the house … not counting all the other fun things you’re sure to get yourself into – bruises and all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. lovetotrav says:

    Yay! I found a new place to explore… this place called Elora seems to be a big hit with you and your readers. I am off to check it out and make a plan. Thanks for the tidbit or is it timbit? I also love your idea and may steal it next year. It might be easier to pull off once we move to Cairo. Have a great weekend, Cheryl

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      If you plan to go to Elora, include time to also go to St Jacob’s. It’s in the same general area and also a lovely little community to visit. St Jacob’s Market is very popular especially in the fall when the harvest starts to come in.

      I’m sure you will have no problems with exploring new things in Cairo!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • lovetotrav says:

        Great. We plan on doing St Jacob’s and didn’t realize Elora was close by. We will do both then. Thanks so much.

        Like

      • Mama Cormier says:

        St. Jacobs is a must but check when things are open. It’s a very Mennonite area and in the past many of the stores were closed on Sunday. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there so that may have changed.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I was there a few years ago – literally just a couple of days before the old historic market hall burned down.
          I’d like to go back and revisit again. I understand that a new hall has been built. I’ll likely wait until the fall when the markets are bursting with produce again.

          Liked by 1 person

  29. Oh, Joanne! I can’t believe you did Elora! You have to go back in the summer and see the gorge and do the tubes! We did it a few years ago and it was SUCH nice experience! Lots of fun and beautiful area!

    Like

  30. Wow, 44 new things already! Way to go! I’m with you on the kumquats, not my cup of tea. I didn’t know you were on Twitter so I followed you. 🙂 Elora looks like a lovely spot. I will have to tell MR N about it.

    Like

  31. You just reminded me of a customer I had once when I was working as a grocery store cashier. She brought a spiny orange fruit up to my register, handed it to me, and said “I have no idea what this is or how I’m supposed to eat it, but it’s so interesting and unique that I’m buying it anyway!” We had a good chuckle over that. Luckily I had asked the produce department about these oddball fruits when we first began stocking them, so I was able to tell her it was a kiwano melon and describe its flavor as well as how best to prepare it, but I was impressed at how adventurous she was, going right ahead and buying a strange fruit she would have been willing to figure out by trial and error!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Su Leslie says:

    Great idea (and I love the rainy day list too). Particularly timely for me right now, so I’m about to toddle off to the office and start brainstorming. I love how articulating problems and needs can bring ideas and solutions — however u intended. Thank you Joanne 🙂

    Like

  33. Joe says:

    Forget the False Elephant Snout and go to a great Italian restaurant Joanne 🙂 There is something comforting in a big bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara 🙂

    Like

  34. Heyjude says:

    Well you have inspired me. 52 new things to do sounds like a great challenge and I definitely fall into the routine category. My life is so ‘samey’, Note to self. DO SOMETHING NEW!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. NancyTex says:

    Elora is an awesome little town! Ed and I were gifted a book on scenic Ontario towns a few years ago, and it was a catalyst to get out an visit a bunch. Some we liked enough to continue to revisit. 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      What a lovely gift idea! … a gift of possibilities 🙂

      I’d like to visit Elora again. It was quite cold and windy the day we visited and I’d like to spend more time there walking around.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. 44 out of 52 leaves… [computing] only 8 more to go! You’ve got more than half a year to finish 8 more! Wahoo, you!

    But one thing puzzles me… the title. Mermaids?

    Like

  37. Oh wow, yeah, definitely if I tried this challenge I would have to keep on the silly and simple side. In fact, I think that in school we had to do something like that and we went to a Ukranian restaurant in the village and then we did our presentation to the class by performing a song that went:
    I’m in the mood
    For pig’s feet stewed
    Goodness gracious Ukranian food!!

    But enough about me!! Love the mermaid pic and looking forward to more on your challenges.
    P.S. I have a Twitter account I rarely use either!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I still don’t “get” Twitter. So far the best thing I’ve discovered (accidentally) is Bill Murray. He’s prolific and makes me laugh. Ironically, I’m not a Bill Murray fan. How odd is that?!!!

      Like

      • Not a Bill Murray fan? But he’s prolific and he makes you laugh…ha, ha! Yes I’m not a fan of everything he’s done but I think when he’s good he’s great. Anyway, I’ll have to check that out.

        Like

  38. Solveig says:

    What a fun challenge you set yourself. For the sweets, best is to not have any in the house and have a lot of different fruits to chose from in case you feel the need for something sweet.

    Like

  39. What a beautiful town. We have a spreadsheet on the fridge, we call it “rainy day ideas”. It is great what you are doing, most of us get stuck in the same old routine. So go, write it down “Bridget wants me to taste goose” 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh – I love your rainy day ideas list 🙂 So often we have brilliant ideas about something we should do ‘one day’ and then promptly forget about it when we need it most.

      … and yes, I have had goose and duck and moose and deer and partridge … and a whole bunch of other things like frog legs, escargot and kangaroo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I traveled the world, have often worked in countries where they didn’t understand a language I spoke. That was always very interesting when it came to food. I often ordered bravely what I saw on other tables, or even asked to go into the kitchen and pointed at something unknown. I tasted snake in Africa, didn’t know it, spit it out when they told me (would have won a spitting contest). It was good until I knew what it was. Lesson learned “never asked what it is, if it tastes good”.

        Liked by 1 person

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