Saturday, January 31, 2009

First Month of My List is Nearly Complete...

With a month nearly  behind me, I'm still very excited and inspired by my list.  I feel that overall I've been doing pretty well.  There's always room for improvement, of course, but let's count the good things first, huh?  

I've crossed off 3 items on my list- numbers 85, 96, & 97.  Victories!  

Altogether, I'm currently working on 23 other items... wow, that's a lot all at once!  I really do enjoy having goals.  And this experience, while it's only been about 30 days, has really opened me up to learning about and attempting new things.  I'm enjoying stepping out of my comfort zone, and I'm trying to just relax about everything in general.  Life's funny like that, you know? 

 I must admit, working at the library is just spectacular!  I'm really reading again for the first time in years.  I'm reading things that I've never read before, which is pretty awesome as well (I tend to re-read and re-read...).  I've read 21 books this month (since Jan. 5th), and I'm well into 3 others.  That's actually something I could scale back on... haha.  Goals are easy, limits are hard.  

My husband and I have both enjoyed trying to get rid of our VHSs.  We really enjoy our movie collection, but let's face it- tapes are practically obsolete.  It will be a while before we get them all replaced.  There's one in particular- The 60s, a mini-series that was on NBC about 10 years ago.  Finding it on DVD is doable, the price tag is not.  Apparently, it's really rare.  Ah, challenges!!

Item # 99- This was fantastic!  I was working at B & N in the cafe the other night, and my friend Lauren and I were talking about poetry.  I was describing my favorite poem (The Cremation of Sam McGee, Robert Service) when a customer came up.  I told her I would finish telling her about it after he left because it's an epic and very interesting poem.  However, this customer-guy starts reciting the poem!!!  It was such a beautiful moment, I swear my mouth dropped open and my eyes welled up.  Anyhow, that's one out of five.  And also, read Robert Service- it's wonderful.

It's all the big things and the little things, and the people who are interested and willing to help me out.  My husband is great at making sure we use only cloth napkins, and the wonderful women at Curves are really supportive, not just in exercise, but with everything I've been doing on the list.  

Speaking of Curves, it's one of the things I really need to start going full force on.  I've been worn out the past two weeks because of a sinus infection and working two jobs, but I don't want to make excuses, I just want to tap into that part of me that goes all out on everything.  Same with yoga- it really does energize you for the day.

Anyhow, wrapping up this post and this month, here are a few of the highlights:

Attempting to donate blood- it was an experience that probably would keep most people from doing it again, but it just makes me laugh.

High-fiving a stranger... so much fun!

Donating rice- almost 120,000 grains this month. 

Sticking to saving money from our checks specifically to put towards bigger credit card payments.

Trying eggplant- turns out, it tastes like tomatoes, I thought.

And finally- reading, reading, reading!!!!

Keep the hope alive,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Good in the World...

Sheesh.  Another morning spent tearing up over wonderful people found on the internet... there are worse things out there, I guess.  If you're reading this (and I hope you are), take a minute to check out the following websites.  I guarantee they will improve your mood, and maybe even get you to go out and help someone.

Never forget that this is a good world, and that there are good people out there.  There are also people who need our help.  If you can do it, do it.  If you can help, help.  Don't leave it up to the next person, because eventually, there is no next person.

First they came for the Jews and I 
did not speak out because I was
not a Jew.

Then they came for the 
Communists and I did not speak
out because I was not a 

Then they came for the trade
unionists and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade 

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to
speak out for me.

Pastor Niemoller

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free Rice!!!

Hello All! (Ha, all 3 of my followers...)  Things are going well, in life and in my list undertakings.  

First off, let's discuss list item # 18.  I have been answering trivia questions about English vocab, grammar, math problems, etc... on  For every question you get correct, the site sponsors donate grains of rice to people who have nothing to eat.  It's completely awesome and I love it, but I have a bone to pick with said sponsors... Where's the generosity, peeps?  When I began my rice endeavor,  you got 20 grains of rice for each correct answer.  This was just a couple of weeks ago, but now you only get 10 grains!  Come on!  Perhaps I was becoming overzealous in my quest, although it can't be blamed on myself totally... unlike the destruction of my German program in high school.  So far, I've donated 113,070 grains.  And I encourage everyone to try it out- it's fun, it's easy (until you hit level 51 in English vocabulary), and it helps people in need.

What else have I been up to?  Well, it's come to my attention that my list is in need of some tweaking.  That's the beauty of it though, as you make your way through the weeks and months, you realize what is and isn't working for you.  So, what needs tweaking?

Let's go in order and start with # 7: Do yoga at least 3 times a week.  This has been difficult for me.  I'm a person who craves time by myself to read or write or whatever.  Let's say I choose to get up 3 hours before work (which I do).  I like to use that time to brace myself for the day, and to talk to my little sissy in London, and check email and whatever.  Because of my damn personality and inability to be flexible, I feel like I have to get up a half hour early to fit anything else in. Ugh.  So, I'm really trying, but this is one that actually takes me out of my comfort zone, even though it's not taxing.  I think the revised version will be once a week.  

Moving right along- # 54: Journal at least one hour each week. I would love to actually do this, but that's not how my writing works.  I'm either in the mood to write, or I'm not.  So, it becomes journal at least once a week.  Much more realistic.

Alright, now we move onto a practically an entire section that needs updating: Music, Movies, & Books.   Numbers 70, 71, & 78 - Turns out, I really have no interest in reading either the Lord of the Rings books or the Chronicles of Narnia.  And I've also got no inclination to read banned or challenged books.  Actually, I do, but I tend to read them anyhow in the course of my life.  However, I don't know what I'm going to replace them with.  And as I have to go to work soon (last time I left late, I accidentally ran into my garage door) I'm going to end this entry.  

Have a wonderful day everyone!  

P.S. A special message to those out there who say "Oh Hot Dayum"... you sound like damn fools.  Give it a rest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Day, Another...

It's been 2 weeks since I officially started my 101 list.  You have no idea how much it inspires me in every day life.  I find myself being more open to new things, to forgetting about my ridiculous need to schedule each day completely.  I think of other things that I want to try or experience.  Making this list has woken me up to the possibility that happiness can exist so simply.  Even better, making this list, and following through on my goals has awoken my mind.  I'm thinking again!  Sure, it's not superior thoughts that will get my MacArthur Genius Grant, but it might be. I guess I would like to continue to encourage anyone who is reading this... Write your own list!  Make your own choices, wake up your mind and body and spirit.  Don't be discouraged.  Recognize the impossible!  And let everyone know what you're doing, for your own encouragement and to encourage others.  Back later to update some more! 


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Bra!

Today, I cross item # 95 off of my list- buy a new nude bra.  Not the most exciting piece of underwear, but ladies (and some guys) it is a VITAL part of your undergarment wardrobe.  If you wear a white bra under a white shirt, it'll show!  But if you wear a nude or flesh colored bra, it won't.  Good times.  

Other than that, I'm still plugging away at the other items on my list.  I've been having a lot of fun brushing Varmit (my beautiful cat) every week... I think she likes it too.  Ooo- a cat brushing tip: after she's all brushed off, moisten a hand towel and run it over her/him.  It removes any stray hairs and prevents the inevitable hair ball.  

Look at her- she's precious.  

Anyhoo.  I've been making a big effort to watch the movies we own that I haven't seen before.  So far, it's been great.  Finding Neverland, Back to the Future Parts II and III (actually just finishing up on III right now), Fletch,  and my favorite so far- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  I would strongly encourage anyone who hasn't seen it to rent it or Netflix it or whatever you choose.  It's beautiful and features Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer in wonderful and hysterical ways.  

I have been thinking about making a couple of changes to a couple of list items.  I think that's okay.  It's supposed to be about things I really want to do, so tweaking is only natural, right?  It'll probably be in a separate entry though... just for fun. :)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

So far, So good!

I started my list 9 days ago... and today, I cross something off of it!  It doesn't seem huge, but it is.  Today, I cross off #85- complete my hot air balloon puzzle!  

I have had this puzzle for at least 13 years that I know off.  Every time I've taken it out, all I've ever accomplished was putting together the hot air balloons because it's a SERIOUSLY hard puzzle!  But after dedicating most of my waking hours to assembling it in the last 11 days, I've finally done it.  And I never will again.   

So, I'm pretty proud of myself.  I know it hasn't been two weeks yet, but I've gotten a good start on the things on my list, and I'm still really excited about it.   

I made my first attempt at donating blood on Wednesday.  I say attempt because they were only able to take about a half pint from me.  They tried to take blood from my right arm because I had an owie on my left arm (my good one, apparently) and I have an unanchored vein.  I.E. it meant a lot of jamming the needle in and out of a lot of different places.  It meant two nurses attempting to move it around, one holding the bag and saying, "Ooo there!  It was gushing!" while the other tried to hold it into place.  It meant my husband, who came for support, nearly vomiting and having to leave my side very very quickly.  And finally, it means a horrible, very large bruise on my arm that does not photograph well.  But, I'm still enthusiastic about it, and am actually looking forward to March 4th, when I can donate again!  

Never give up!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Tired of the same old resolutions? Yep.

I suck at New Year's Resolutions... every year, since 2002, it's been LOSE WEIGHT, EAT BETTER, blah blah blah.  And every January 2nd when I inevitably overeat because of boredom or anxiety or sadness, I feel like a big fat failure.  So, what to do?   INCREASE THE ODDS OF SUCCESS!  Enter the 101 Things to do in 1001 Days list.  Officially, I started January 2nd, 2009.  However, I've spent most of those days just trying to make the list, which is harder than I thought.  But, I believe I've got it.  

First, a little about the list-

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable, or clearly defined.  Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of effort on your part).

Why 1001 Days? 
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Some common goal setting tips:
1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. 

2. Stay
Focused. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.

3. Welcome Failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.

4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.

5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

The Key:
Not Started
In Progress

Alrighty!  Here's my list.

Overall Health (Mental & Physical):
1. Lose 5lbs. (0/5) Trust me, I need to lose many, many more than 5lbs, but I'm focusing on reaching a goal, not the size of the goal.
2. Keep weight off for at least 12 months. (0/12) The more important part of the goal!
3. Stand on the dock at Grandma Findlay's house at sunset and yell for any or no reason.
4. Try acupuncture.
5. Use the elliptical at least 3 times a week. (0/429)
6. List 25 things I like about myself. (5/25) My hair; the beauty mark on my right collarbone; 90% of the time, my glass is more than 1/2 full; I never ever stop hoping; that Mamma Mia! makes me so happy I want to cry.
7. Do yoga at least once a week. (2/143)
8. Try the couch to 5k program- start in the spring. 
9. Get new glasses.
10. Take a dance class.
11. Ask for help if I need it.
12. Cut out red meat for two weeks. (doesn't have to be consecutive) (0/2) 
13. Cut out bread for three weeks. (again, doesn't have to be consecutive) (0/3)
14. Eat only when I'm hungry.
15. Find better birth control.
16. Take a self-defense class.
17. Make a list of 100 things that make me happy. Optional, doodle them onto the craft room walls. (0/100)

18. Donate 1,500,000 grains of rice. (150,000/1,500,000)
19. Help someone cross an item off of their 101 list. (within reason)
20. Donate blood at least three times. (2/3)
21. Be a Salvation Army bell ringer one season.
22. Tip the cost of the meal once.
23. Tip 50% of the meal twice. (0/2)
24. Donate  at least one scarf a year to Knit Your Bit. (0/3)
25. Donate two Christmas Shoeboxes a year. (0/4)

26. Complete two Bible/Spiritual book studies with a friend. (0/2)
27. Read The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick with Matt.
28. Read the Bible- EXPLORE it.
29. Make finding a church home a priority.
30. If we find a church, try joining the worship team.

31. Take two lifelong learning classes at WTC. (0/2)
32. Enroll in college and complete three semesters. (0/3)
33. Learn to drive a stick shift well... no more bumpy first gear!
34. Learn to shoot a handgun.
35. Learn archery... learn to arch?
36. Become CPR certified.
37. Learn to french braid.
38. Learn to make origami cranes.
39. Learn to knit.
40. Make a better effort to learn Russian.
41. Learn to juggle. Oi.

For the Environment:
42. Use only cloth napkins.
43. Buy ten reusable shopping bags. (10/10)
44. Stop buying bagged salads, learn to make my own. Working on it! I really suck at chopping things.
45. Find something better than plastic bottles to keep me hydrated.

46. Use all tax returns to pay off credit card debt. (1/3)
47. Save $10 from each of my paychecks, and $20 from each of Matt's. (min. $50/month) Every $100 goes to credit card debt.
48. Make a budget with Matt, and stick to it! (0/30+)
49. Pay back J & K. ($500/$500)
50. Have 501 No Spending Days! (6/501)

51. Write a letter to my future firstborn. Started 2/1/09
52. Write a poem.
53. Send a secret to Postsecret.
54. Send five letters/postcards/care packages for no reason each year. (0/15)
55. Journal at least once a week. (14/143)
56. Send Ella and Eli a letter once a month. (3/30+)
57. Write better descriptions for all my Etsy listings.
58. Keep a dream journal.

59. Visit Jeremy in D.C.
60. Take a picture of myself on the Brooklyn Bridge, holding a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
61. Take a road trip with no destination.
62. Ride a train somewhere.
63. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
64. Visit Betty Smith's grave with mom.
65. Go to Six Flags with a group of friends for my 26th birthday.
66. Visit five new states. (0/5)
67. Mule the Grand Canyon.
68. Chase a storm.
69. Visit Anna in London, and go to at least two other countries while there.  Part done, part still working on it!

Music, Movies, & Books:
70. Clean up my Ipod- remove every song I don't like! Started 1/26/09... potentially never finished! :) Restarted 2/15/09- My hard drive died. 4/13/08 I'm up to the Is!
71. Get rid of all VHSs, replace with DVDs. 26/46
72. Get new trivia books for both bathrooms. (0/2)
73. Watch every episode of  Freaks & Geeks. (18/18)
74. See The Weepies in concert.
75. Find a hardcover copy of Joy in the Morning in an antique store.
76. Convince someone of the awesomeness that is Abba.
77. Find five new songs/musicians/groups each year that affect me (i.e. make me so happy or so sad or so etc... perhaps something I can listen to over and over again.)  (4/15) The Call, Regina Spektor; Baba O'Riley, The Who; Dust in the Wind, Kansas, Defy Gravity; Kerry Ellis.
78. Read at least two new-to-me books a week from the library.  (59/286)  
79. Read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
80. See the musical Wicked.
81. Read the Twilight series.
82. Make and keep a movie and book inventory for insurance purposes. Started 1/23/09 Restarted 2/15/09 Again with the hard drive. Updated 4/12/09
83. Watch all the movies we have that I haven't seen yet. (0/38) Started the count over!  Too hard to keep track...

84. Complete (with no outside help) fifteen crossword puzzles.  Can be any level, but one must be hard. (4/15) 3 Easy, 1 Medium
85. Complete (finally!!!) my hot air balloon puzzle.
86. Organize childhood photographs with mom.
87. Finish refurbishing dollhouse- including furniture.
88. Brush Varmit once a week. (14/143)
89. Make someone's day.  (they have to say something like "you really made my day" in connection with this item, and no fishin' around for them to say it...) This one was great!  Thank you Cindi!
90. Limit computer time to two hours a day, four out of seven days a week. (10/572)
91. Complete Keri Smith's 100 ideas. (0/100)
92. Buy big happy rain boots and go puddle jumping.
93. Dye my hair red.
94. Wear false eyelashes on a regular day... extra points if they're sparkly.
95. Scrapbook at least five hours a month. (0/175)
96. Try eggplant.
97. Buy a new nude bra.
98. Submit a photo to
99. High-five five strangers in non-athletic venues. (1/5) 1/28/09 High-fived a guy at the counter at the Barnes & Noble Cafe... he was quoting my favorite poem!
100. Reconnect with my Kolosovsky family.
101. Find the best tattoo artist in the state (or tri-state area) and have them do my little red dragon.

There you have it.   Some goals for the next year... some lofty, some strange... all mine.  I encourage anyone else out there to give this a try!  Even thinking about the 101 things inspires you.  Thanks for reading!