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Debbie's Bucket List


#5: Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge

At the turn of the second month as a Bay Area resident, I have to admit, it’s beginning to grow on me.  There are a few things that this side of the state has to offer that its counterpart doesn’t.  

1) Amazing tech company campuses that function as grown-up playgrounds.  (Googleplex + One Infinite Loop) > (LA Fitness + strip mall food court + park +  library) * 5.

2) Green…in the form of trees that are actually native to the area and not imported from various other countries.  Not to say there aren’t palm trees here, but these palm trees are supplemented by oak trees, redwood trees, eucalyptus trees, and other luscious greens that are in abundance and visible to the eye on the freeway, surrounding shopping centers, and in front yards!!  Trees where they are supposed to be!  

And alas, the final gem of the Bay Area that makes it such a priceless place:

3) The Golden Gate Bridge.  The bridge is iconic for a reason, and it was not until I biked it that I experienced the entirety of what the bridge has to offer.  Sights, sounds, breath, breeze, height, clarity, and a darn good work out.  And there’s no one else in the world that I would rather have enjoyed it with than with my other half.  

Pre-launch.  All smiles :)

Break for a picture-opp.  Overconfident in my cold tolerating abilities…

Not so smiley or warm any more. 

Little duckling chugging along :)

Watchu lookin’ at? o_O I ain’t tired!

Was worth every muscle burn and goose bump!  A tip for those attempting the bridge: bring a jacket and a companion who can make you laugh.  Together, they will provide warmth and joy that will enhance your experience tenfold!  

There’s no adventure complete without a treat for the tummy.



link 11/10/2011 — 2 years ago

#20: Send a Message in a Bottle

Edgar Allan Poe, Nicholas Sparks, and The Police were intrigued by the idea.  So was I. I didn’t need to be rescued from a deserted island nor did I need to deliver my last dying words to a distant lover.  But if I wrote a message, concealed it in a bottle, and sent it flying into the sea, would someone read it?  Could a little piece of paper from Newport Coast, CA bob its way into the hands of a stranger far far away?  If so, could we become friends, connected by the invisible path paved by a floating bottle?  

My best friend wanted in too.  Meet Mindy.  

Step 1: Write the message.

Signed and dated. (With email)

Super ghetto water bottle.  

Ripping the Arrowhead off made it look a little better.

Step 2: Put the message into the bottle.

Hopefully we made it obvious that the bottles were not trash.  

Using sand as extra weight. 

Step 3: Toss it into the ocean…

…past the break of the waves.

This was easier said than done.  It took at least 50 throws.  

It’s been over a week since our little adventure, and we have yet to receive emails from any recipients.  Hopefully that means that the messages are floating somewhere really far and have yet to arrive at their destiny.  Afterall, “A year has passed since I wrote my note…only hope can keep me together” -The Police. 


link 13/08/2011 — 3 years ago

#12: Prop up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Sounds easy right?  Go to Pisa, find the hard-to-miss landmark, position yourself correctly for the camera and say cheese.  Except when you find yourself exiting the club at 4am with two inebriated friends in Florence, a city 50 miles east of Pisa, and have a scheduled departure at 8am for Venice, and it suddenly dawns upon you that you have an item on your bucket list that needs to be crossed off, you’re asking for an adventure. 

We had a 3 hour window to complete the mission.  

With absolutely no Italian language skills, we sign languaged our way through conversations with drunkards and hobos for directions.  We trekked through stygian alleys and unfamiliar roads to end up at the train station. We hopped on the first train to Pisa at 6AM.  After nearly threatening the taxi driver to take us to the tower as fast as he could, he happily obliged, almost killing a grandma on the way. We sprinted to the Leaning Tower.  We checked the time.  We had exactly 60 seconds to take our photos in order to catch the next train back in time.  

And just as the sun came up, we arrived at the majestic Leaning Tower of Pisa.  I mustered up all the strength I had and held the tower in place, preventing the city of Pisa from experiencing the demolition of its beloved bell tower.  You’re welcome Italy.

"Go a little to the left, NO TOO MUCH, RIGHT! RIGHT! HURRYYY!! 10 SECONDSS!!! NO YOU CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER PICTURE!!!" -Joe, the angry camera man I call friend. 

#12  Ciao.

link 15/07/2011 — 3 years ago

#33: Ride a bike no-handed \o/

So after attempting this one on my own…

Just kidding, but the picture makes for great dramatic effect.   

Anyway, I’m a person of many fears.  What may seem very doable and unchallenging (why is there a red squiggly under this word? My internal spell check says this is a word) to some, is often a great feat for a girl like myself. Having said that, I’ve always wanted to cruise through the streets at a ninety degree angle, but could never muster up the courage to let go of the handle bars. Every time I tried, I would be inundated by thoughts of my skull cracking open and debris getting caught in the crevices of my brain.  So, I decided to call in some expert help. 

Meet Mr. I’m-so-hipster-look-I-roll-my-pants-up-to-my-shins. 

He showed me different exercises.

He taught me how to ride ever so gracefully.

He told me to have no fear. Just spread your wings and fly.

So I did, audaciously. 

And I felt so free! Free from reliance. Free from fear. 

…and I just kept flying. 

Because a wise man by the name of Mr. Miyagi once told me, “Debbie-San! OK to lose to opponent. Never okay to lose to FEAR!” 


link 29/03/2011 — 3 years ago

#11: Run a Marathon…

…in rain or shine. After 26.2 miles of shin-high puddles, chilling wind, and unceasing showers, I emerged at the finish line soaked from head-to-toe, shivering in my shorts and t-shirt, unable to bend my joints or feel my fingers. 

The LA Marathon was the most physically grueling task I’ve ever completed.  No amount of training could have fully prepared me for the conditions that were present that day including overactive bowel movements, unfortunate menstrual timing, muscle cramps, a broken ipod, and of course the weather.  In fact, thousands of runners were evaluated for hypothermia!  (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2011/03/la-marathon-thousands-evaluated-for-hypothermia.html).  Nevertheless in 5 hours and 15 minutes, I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with two of my dearest friends.  It was one of the most exuberant, emotional, and intense feelings I had ever felt. 

I know I’m pretty awesome, but I really, truly could not have completed the LA Marathon on my own accord by my own strength.  I must give credit where credit is due, so here’s to the three that are fully deserving of praise and recognition.  

1) God! Thank you for giving me these short little legs to run with, for creating such a beautiful world to enjoy, and for providing strength amidst pain (especially during the last 6 miles)! It’s times like these that I hear your voice LOUD and clear!

2) Fellow runners & moralers. The motivation you gave me was the fuel that powered my legs. I was extremely touched by the many that stood in the pouring rain to cheer on and pass water out to complete strangers.  Every time I got a high-five, it was like I ate a Mario Mushroom and gained another life.  And the people that I ran alongside…WOW.  There were kids, senior citizens, people running for Japan, and even paraplegics that were unbelievably inspiring. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that more than a couple gray-haired folk whizzed right by me!  That’s when I really kicked it into high gear. 

3) Joe & Tina.  I’m afraid I can’t eloquently express the totality of my feelings towards the both of you in writing, but here is my sincere albeit insufficient attempt.  We started this whole process together back in 2008 when our friendship blossomed (spending day in and day out with one another) and I unsuccessfully tried to convince you guys to run the 2009 marathon with me.  Little did you guys know that I had just planted the idea in your head and it would take a couple years for it to grow and take effect.  Fast forward to 2010, when I asked, or begged again, you guys reluctantly agreed and we became DTJ- Down To Jog!

Everything we have done has been a team effort: our countless runs together, movie nights to celebrate our 3-miles runs, dinners out to nourish our runs, the marathon sign-up party filled with In-n-out and Wendy’s.  We used the marathon as the perfect excuse to revolve all of our social/grub nights around! 

When it came game time, in true DTJ fashion, we stuck together as a team. Tina, you pushed us hard for the last six miles when it counted.  Joe, you carried all of our stuff, helped stretch out Tina’s cramps, and kept us safe and warm to the best of your ability.  We never left a soldier behind— we were as slow as our last guy. We even synced our ipod’s so that we would be listening to the same songs throughout the whole race!  

Finally, when we crossed that finish line hand-in-hand, and we embraced, I became so emotional because I was so freaking miserable, but having you guys with me through it all made the experience so rewarding.  And Joe, when you prayed for us right after, I started crying because I was so thankful at that moment that God blessed me with two of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. Thank you Baby girl Tina and Hoeseph for being such positive, selfless, encouraging, and precious assets in my life. I love you both deeply. Pain is temporary, but this memory will be ours forever! DTJ WINNING!

Good morning Tina and Joe! You ready??

At 5 AM, bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to the Dodger’s Stadium.

Pre-race nice n’ dry. Joe, me in my ahjooma visor, and Tina.

Fast forward to dinner celebration with our finisher medals!  (Couldn’t take pictures post-race due to the rain..boo..)

Medal up close and personal.

Yay we have friends! Tiff & Johney came out to support. Thanks guys!

And the perfect end to a great day. 

#11. This one was for you Brian.

link 3 21/03/2011 — 3 years ago

Bucket List #41: Start a bucket list.

Hello from the real world! It’s official.  I took my last final at UCLA 12 hours ago and I am officially a free woman college graduate!

So what now? Apparently, I’ve just entered the real world. It’s Day .5 and the view from over here is beautiful already. Suddenly I feel like my eyes have been opened to a smorgasbord of life’s delectable treats!  I’ve been asking myself, “Why have I not pigged out on everything that life has to offer?” (The millions of calories worth of El Taurino currently clogging my arteries do not count).  

In light of this, I am compelled to begin creating and completing my bucket list of things to do before life expires! 

Before I  attempt to check off another thing from my list, here’s a little bit about myself that might explain why I do the things that I do.  Because sometimes, it just ain’t pretty.

I can have a shameless amount of fun with myself.

Point proven.

I will do almost anything for a good laugh :D

I live to eat.

I have a pee-sized bladder that makes me go pea every hour.

I live with 5 beauties, my best friends.

Okay calm down men, here’s another one of them for your viewing pleasure.

God has blessed me with an absolutely perfect family :)

Broppa and Grandma may put me in my place, but they have my whole heart <3

Mommy & Auntie.  These fearless and faithful women inspire me beyond words.

Big Uncle & Little Uncle have infectious child-like spirits and joyful attitudes!

Mommy & Daddy teach me how to love a beautiful love.

Little Brian reminds me every day to look to the cross, and motivates me to be a better person.


link 2 17/03/2011 — 3 years ago