I thought I’d continue my list today.

I had fun yesterday listing some of the 28 moments I’m thankful for, so here are a few more:

10. THE JAWBREAKER

I never got much candy as a child, but my friends at school did. Whenever they found it in their hearts to share their sweets with me, I would experience what I would now identify as a sugar rush. I’d feel happy and energetic and all I could think about was how to get more sugar. It soon became the sole purpose of my little existence.

So one day I walked into a convenient store and stole a jawbreaker. A really big one. It was an enormous, rock-hard ball of sugar. I couldn’t bite into it, it was much too hard (hence the name jawbreaker). So I started to suck it.

As I slowly licked each layer off (it was much too big for me to put in my mouth whole), the jawbreaker would change colours. This to me was beyond fascinating. It would take an eternity to lick each layer off, so I was always in suspense as to what the next colour might be. They weren’t solid colours either. They were different rainbows and patterns and swirls.

Because the jawbreaker was so big, it took me an extremely long time to even make a dent on it. I literally carried it around with me for MONTHS. I’d take it into bed with me and suck until I was tired. Then I’d place it next to my bed, and pick it up again first thing in the morning. If it was visibly dirty, I would run it under water. But I’d mostly just drag my tongue all over it.

I was in heaven with this thing. It was like being high for nearly a year. To this day it is still by far the most disgustingly wonderful thing I have ever put in my mouth.

11. SELF-PUBLISHING AT ITS BEST

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. In elementary I would write short stories and dream about having them published someday. I imagined myself sitting in my own home as an adult, typing away madly at a computer, creative juices flowing uncontrollably, imagination seeping from the walls.

On Christmas Day of 1993 I was 11 years old. Under the Christmas tree there was a book-shaped present with my name on it, from my step-grandparents. I thought it was a book, so I was already thrilled. But when I opened it up, my heart started racing. It was MY book!

The cover read:

Two complete stories by a young Canadian writer:

Vanessa Rodriguez

GRADE FIVE WITCHES

A DOUBTING CHRISTIAN

Published by: Covert Publishers, c 1993.

It wasn’t a real book of course. When I pull it out now I can see the Staples folder and the sheet protectors and the printed pages on Microsoft Word (or it might have been Word Perfect). The spacing is off and there are a couple of typos. But at the time I didn’t see any of that. I just saw a book. My FIRST real book!

At the back there was an author’s bio. It read:

Vanessa Rodriguez is an eleven year old grade six student with a strong ability and interest in story writing. She lives at home with her father, sister, and a pet rabbit named Pizza. Her interests (other than writing) include; reading, homework, asking hard questions, dancing and playing with her sister. She speaks Spanish and enjoys all types of food. We, the publishers, wish her all the success in future writing endeavours. – Covert Publishers

I’ve been writing ever since.

12. THE CRUSH

Around the time the Toronto Blue Jays won those back to back World Series (a LONG time ago!) I had the most paralyzing crush on Roberto Alomar.

I didn’t particularly like baseball. Neither did I have a TV so I never watched any games. I didn’t even know what position he played and I’m fairly certain that I didn’t understand the concept behind the game. But somehow, despite all obstacles, this love came to be.

I knew in the depths of my soul that if I could just MEET Robbie he might love me too. I would stare at pictures of him and daydream about how we might someday meet. How we’d be friends first, and then more.

I would find baseball schedules in the Sports section of the paper and try to remember where he would be and when and how I might possibly get to him. If there was a radio around I would tune into the games and try to listen for a mention of his name. I would even remember to pray for him. I kind of had it bad.

Sadly, Robbie never got the privilege of meeting me. So I decided one day that we should maybe just be friends. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m kind of glad to be over him.

He actually went on to marry a Puerto Rican model who incidentally looks a lot like me. Here she is:

But you know, it’s really his loss. We’re still friends.