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The Last Three Days of 31 Days of Experiencing New Things

Yesterday, August 1, was the last day of my 31 Days of Experiencing New Things, one of the many 31-day focuses championed by Staci Brice (who now refers to herself as Anastacia). Some days, it was a challenge to conjure up a new experience. Other days, they rolled up to my doorstep, surprising me. Sometimes, they were heartbreaking. Mostly, they were fun.

My original goal in taking on this project was to explore more of the Hudson Valley. But in the end, the real gift of this project was an augmented awareness of how every day does bring new experiences, whether you focus on them or not. And if you intentionally invite new, wonderful experiences into your day, there’s a very good chance they’ll show up.

On Day 29, my new experience was going to the weekly Friday Nite Jam Session at Stephen Crawford’s place in Olivebridge. My bon vivant Mark and I have been meaning to go for weeks and weeks, and we haven’t been able to make it for one reason or another. But not this Friday! We google-mapped the address and headed out to Olivebridge.

Stephen has a great stage set up in his spacious backyard. When we arrived, there was an eclectic mix of musicians already jamming. Mark set up his amp and guitar, grabbed a homemade brew (Stephen and Dona make their own beer) and joined the jam. In a matter of minutes, I was headed back to the car because I was getting devoured by mosquitos. They LOVE me, those obnoxious intruders of lovely summer nights. And when I get bit by one, the bite always swells up to the size of crimson baseball, so I had to take cover.

But I could still hear the music from the car, and it was so wonderful to hear Mark play, something I haven’t had the pleasure of for serveral months now.

We got totally lost on the way home (yet another new experience) mostly due to the fact that we were way out in the boonies and the roads in New York are so poorly marked. What’s with that? Is it really so hard to put up a street sign every once in a while so you know what road you’re on? Anyway, we did eventually make it home.

Saturday was Day 30, and it, too, was full of new experiences. Remember Gabe from Monkey Joe’s? He was part of my new experience on Day 16? Well, on Saturday morning, he and his longtime musical partner were playing at Monkey Joe’s in honor of the roasting company’s 10 year anniversary. They call their duo “The Morning Howlers.” After hearing some of Gabe’s original tunes on Day 16, I didn’t want to miss his performance. Here’s a clip of one of his originals:

Later that same day, my friends Peter Wetzler and Julie Hedrick were having a little open house featuring Julie’s new series of paintings, so Mark and I wandered over around 6:00 pm or so. Their home, which used to be the chapel and rectory of one of Kingston’s many churches (Kingston is a city of churches; I swear they must have more churches per capita than any other city in the world), was a’buzz with people, sipping wine, eating blue cheese and looking at Julie’s vibrant, stunning new paintings featuring the color red.

Peter, Julie’s husband, is a talented composer who mostly writes film scores now. A bit of a crazy kook, Peter  dressed up in a black kilt and red tie for the occassion. Here’s a photo of Peter with Mark Marshall, another talented composer. Doesn’t Peter have lovely legs? Why wouldn’t he show them off?

We’ve been to other gatherings and Peter and Julie’s, and every time, we meet some wonderful people. This evening was no exception. New people, new paintings, new experiences!

On Day 31, yesterday, I rested. A lot. Lazy morning, big bacon-and-eggs breakfast, the Sunday New York Times, a little nap. What was new? Well, around 1:00 or 2:00 pm, Mark and I opened a bottle of Schramsburg Sparkling Wine, and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon, watching an old movie, eating popcorn. Afternoon champagne was a definite first for us, and the perfect end to this 31-day project.

Simple, quiet days can still bring new experiences, and sometimes, they’re the best. Like afternoon movies with champagne. Or watching the squirrels eat the cashews we threw on the deck. Just noticing something you haven’t noticed before or seeing it from a totally new perspective.

It’s been a great 31-day project. So great, I’m starting a NEW one! Stay tuned.

3 comments to The Last Three Days of 31 Days of Experiencing New Things

  • My big question for you is how do you find the time to write in your blog every day. That to me seems more challenging than acknowledging new experiences.

    • Well, I DON’T write on my blog everyday. And before this 31 Day project, I posted once in a blue moon.
      But it’s become addictive, and fun.

      Make it fun, and you won’t have to find the time. It’ll find you.

  • Ann e.King

    Oh man, I need to get out more. I simply cannot follow that act with any more mundane experiences, new as they might be. I’m happy to have walked these last 31 days with you. You have opened my eyes to greater possibilities. Enjoy the next 31!

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