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The Wendi Dee 25th B-Day Project!
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Totally blown away! Wow, just looking at the amazing responses is so awesome. I can't imagine how excited she's going to be!!  I'm trembling with excitement head to toe to finally be able to make public something I (and many of you) have been working on for months! To kick off the festivities, I thought I'd offer a little history of this project. (You could also skip this verbose intro and start browsing the wondrous works from around the world!)

In early 2009, I decided that I wanted to do something special for Wendi's upcoming birthday. You see, Wendi's raw journey had come across a remarkable plateau of sorts in late 2008. After years of being raw, she finally felt that her youth had been restored. She told me not that she "felt" that she was 24 again, but that she actually was 24 years old once again. And that's exactly what raw does for people; if you're a bit past your youth, it returns you right there. As far as I know, this miracle is available to damn near anyone.

The thing is, I mused, if she's 24 now, then her next birthday is her 25th -- and I couldn't let an auspicious milestone like that pass without doing something extraordinary. But what? ...

Was there any way to incorporate everyone Wendi knows and loves into one "event"? A surprise party seemed like a decent idea, but proved too impractical. Besides, all of the people Wendi knows and loves are spread around the Earth. If I couldn't bring them all together physically, I wondered if there was a way to bring all of their energy, at least in some small way, into one place at the same time. Thus, the idea was born.

At first, I thought, "Hey, I'll buy a sketchbook and send it to her friends. Each friend could take a page and do something cool with it! Then they could send it along to the next friend, and we'd just keep the love circulating for a few months." I liked that idea and acted upon it immediately.

Sporadically, over the following few weeks, I tracked the package from one person to another, and had much fun doing it, often exchanging emails with people and getting to know them a bit better than I did previously. However, I noticed that the process was actually taking quite a while longer than I'd anticipated. While I loved the idea of a single book traveling from one place to another, I realized that getting the 50-odd people on my list (all of whom, let's face it, are busy individuals themselves) would probably take ages.

My first reaction was to purchase one more book and start it on its own journey to a separate group, and then re-bind it all together at the end. I did that, in fact. At the same time, I had the idea of purchasing a third identical book in case anyone from overseas might want to take a loose page. (After all, now that I was binding together two books, I may as well bind in loose pages as well, right?) So, in no time, I had an East coast book circulating, a West coast book circulating, and a whole bunch of loose pages sent all over the globe. I set up an elaborate web page for myself to track everything.

I'm so glad I bought that third book! As the first two were on their journey, I noticed that time was running out to complete the mailing lists for each of those two books. So, I sent individual loose pages to many people who were supposed to receive one of the bound books. That solved the timing problem.

Of course, what would a project be without a few misadventures? Setting no limits for myself initially, I thought of inviting a few of Wendi's favorite famous people to participate -- rock stars, Hollywood / Bollywood actors, famous authors, etc.  Why not, right?

In the beginning, back when I was only circulating one bound book from one person to another, I'd approached a famous astrologer Wendi admires. He actually wrote me back and very politely declined. I think he almost did it, based on his personalized response and, if I didn't later think it would have been semi-rude, I'd have re-asked him to do a single page (and I daresay he'd have agreed to that much). But, you know... you shouldn't pester famous people who are nice enough to write back, so I let it go.

I really wanted to ask the singer Kate Bush to participate. I found an address to which you can send fan mail for her, typed up a top-notch, heartfelt letter, but then hit a snag with the postal system. The address listing for her specifically requested that you send a self-addressed stamped envelope. That's not an easy trick for international mail. The American post office offers something called an "International Reply Coupon" (IRC), but my local branches looked at me as though I were from Mars when I asked for one. So, I skipped out on Kate.

Another favorite band of Wendi's turns out to, quite likely, be disbanded at the moment. If you've ever seen Wendi's raw transformation video, that's one of that band's tunes playing in the background. I tracked the lead singer down, though... Turns out he no longer fronts a cutting-edge rock band. He's now -- get this -- an investment banker.  (I don't think I ever want to know what the story behind that one is.) I did try writing to the bank and asking them to forward a message to said rocker, but never heard back.

Finally, I just also wanted to note some things about the list of people you'll see represented in here. First, if you're a friend, foodie, family member, or follower of Wendi's and not in here for some reason, it's for any number of reasons, including:

  • I simply do not know all of Wendi's friends
  • I couldn't track some of them down  (for numerous reasons)
  • I tracked some of them down, but couldn't seem to get an email or message through (found old email addresses, etc.)
  • I tracked them down and sent them a page, but they didn't return it in time (which is perfectly understandable, as many people are crazy busy these days, etc.)
  • I made some kind of glaring error and inadvertently omitted someone. I hope that's not the case too often but, in a project of this size, wanted to acknowledge the possibility of those things. In fact, I'm sure I probably did this -- my apologies!
Finally, HUGE thanks are due to my sister, Jeanne, for collecting all of the pages as they filtered in from around the globe! It was fun to get near-daily status reports from her as they trickled in.

And, with that, on behalf of more than 40 individuals from around the world, I can now officially present Wendi with a most sincere wish for a HAPPY, JOYOUS, LOVE-FILLED 25th BIRTHDAY!!!   

>>> Now Please Go View the Book!! >>>

Much love to all,

ps To make a comment, stop over at our blog at this post (where I announced this project).