Tuesday, October 11

Update: 101 in 1001

First, it must be said: I'm not making remarkable progress on this list.

But three months after first creating it I still think I'm moving along nicely, and because this is my blog ("our" blog, but Kyle will no doubt agree with me), I'm giving myself one of those coveted gold stars for my efforts thus far.

Let's face it: trying new things and stretching and growing and improving and helping and experiencing... these are important elements that enrich our lives, but almost always sometimes the couch and the sweatpants and the wine and the books just sound so much more appealing.

This list is primarily to keep me from being overly comfortable, because - prepare yourselves, I know this is shocking - I am perfectly comfortable being comfortable. Did you get that? I am, by nature, just a very comfy person (see: humfy). I don't yearn for life-changing experiences because I love my life the way it is now, thank you (of course, winning the lottery would be okay I suppose).

There are exceptions, as with any generalization. I really wanted to study abroad in college, for instance. Really, really wanted to. I did research and made spreadsheets and attended meetings and everything. Now, knowing myself, I'm sure going to study in a foreign country would have caused: heavy bouts of crying, complete irritability over lack of sleep, unavoidable short-term poverty, and possibly food poisoning. But I'm also certain that I would look back on the experience as one of the best of my life, and I'm completely jealous of my younger brother that he has done it. I will always regret not actually making it happen.

So this list is to ensure that I stretch myself in uncomfortable ways sometimes - for instance, getting up off the couch. Just kidding. Sort of. I am accountable to myself, and anyone who reads this too, for what I say I intend to do. 1001 days is about 2.75 years. I can accomplish all of these things in that timeframe.

Okay, the personal pep talk is officially over. Goals completed are in green, goals in progress are in pink. The things I want to focus on most over the coming months are in a bigger font and noted at the end.

1. Make Bailey a Canine Good Citizen and take her to a nursing home and/or hospital
2. Volunteer at the Pittsburgh Food Bank and the Jubilee Soup Kitchen
3. Read 100 new books (16/100)
4. Go to Europe
5. Make my mom's sour cream apple pie from scratch
6. Put x dollars into savings
7. Pay off my credit card
8. Go to a national park out west
9. Maintain my blog
10. Reread all of the Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables books (4/15)
11. Lose 20 lbs
12. Ride in a hot air balloon
13. Write more letters, postcards, birthday cards and all thank you notes for anything... Several cards have been sent, and I plan to keep up the trend -- it's an inexpensive, thoughful act that feels good both for me and (hopefully) the person receiving the card
14. Make cheesecake
15. Write a book... This is, how you say, "touch and go." I'm through 20 pages, but once again I've lost steam. More on that another time.
16. Buy classic, well-cut dresses in the following colors: black, light gray, cream, navy, light pink, dark pink, dark purple, dark green, light blue, yellow, dark red (don't judge me - as I said before, all I wear are dresses)
17. Buy classic, comfortable pumps in the following colors: black, dark brown, tan, gray, navy
18. Visit 5 museums
19. Join a community pool
20. Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
21. Join a book club... The Help and Bossypants were our first two books, now we're onto Cleopatra: A Life... I looooooove book club
22. Create our wedding album
23. Get another dog
24. Donate x dollars to the Red Cross, the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund, the Humane Society, and the ASPCA
25. Go to Cook's Forest every year on the weekend before Christmas
26. Host a dinner party
27. Roast a chicken
28. Make 10 loaves of homemade bread... I guess I was shooting low here, considering I've already made 5. Still, this is in progress.
29. Make a gift for someone
30. Follow the change jar method of budgeting (this is a definite work in progress)
31. Get some kind of haircut
32. Learn a great poem by heart
33. Make homemade soup once a week from October-March
34. Watch all AFI Top 100 movies
35. Send out Christmas cards
36. Go camping
37. Get better at returning phone calls (again, ambiguous... but noble! I am terrible at this right now)
38. Stop swearing
39. See "Wicked" ... Amazing
40. Go to a Steelers game
41. Legally change my last name
42. Refill someone's parking meter
43. Pay for the person behind me at the drive through
44. Clean out my closet and donate clothes to Good Will at least once a year
45. Take a graduate class, just for fun - probably in Children's Literature
46. Attend a concert (Elton John, Paul McCartney, U2, Lady Gaga are all contenders)
47. Cut down our own Christmas tree, and decorate it beautifully (alas, this will have to wait another year)
48. Bake shortbread for Christmas, and give it to friends and family
49. Write a will, and make Kyle write one too
50. Attend Mass at least once a month
51. Pray more regularly
52. Stay off of Facebook for an entire week
53. Ride a horse
54. Get a massage
55. Get a facial
56. Trim Bailey's nails and brush her teeth at least once a month
57. Do the dishes every day (most days this is accomplished, some days this is "in progress")
58. Go on a picnic
59. Complete the Couch to 5K program
60. Go to a taping of the Colbert Report
61. See Louis CK or Chris Rock in standup
62. Have a psychic reading at the creepy shop in Hilton Head
63. Finish wedding thank you notes ...glory, glory, halleluiah!
64. Buy patio furniture
65. Use my French and Spanish audio CDs to gain back some kind of competence in foreign languages
66. Surprise Kyle with x, y, and z (again, there are things here - but they wouldn't be surprises then!)
67. Try one new kind of wine each month
68. Purchase a real newspaper subscription
69. Attend the Harp and Fiddle's Ceili dancing night
70. Go to a dog show each summer
71. Go to the Irish Festival each summer (1/3)
72. Have dinner at Morton's, Ruth's Chris, and the Capital Grille
73. Try a new cheese every other month (don't just buy Dubliner each time, though it's the best cheese on earth)
74. Resize my wedding band, and have Kyle do the same
75. Find a PCP we like, and actually go once a year for a physical
76. Keep up with dentist appointments
77. Go to Maine
78. Have fresh flowers in the house, ideally once a week
79. Pull weeds, ideally once a week
80. Improve my manners (esp. regarding accepting compliments without being super awkward, and not talking too much to strangers, those who were talking, or those who are busy)
81. Fix our front porch flooring - replacing a few boards, restain it, and seal it
82. Clean out our creepy basement
83. Learn to play the guitar
84. Send anonymous flowers
85. Tour a scotch distillery
86. Walk to work
87. Go to bed before 10 pm for a week
88. Wake up before 6 am for a week (probably the same week as the 10 pm bedtime)
89. Take an art class for fun
90. Buy a new pair of glasses, and wear them for an entire day
91. Visit a lighthouse (maybe on the trip to Maine?)
92. Buy a king size bed, and a Tempur Pedic mattress
93. Face the uncomfortable: saying "no," unavoidable confrontation
94. Wear my mink wrap to fancy events in the winter
95. Go hiking
96. Go to the Crawford County fair

Now, for more about the ones I am going to pay special attention to between now and the New Year...

2. Volunteer at the Pittsburgh Food Bank and the Jubilee Soup Kitchen

I want to do both within these 1001 day, but I am shooting for one or the other at some point during this particular holiday season. I'm leaning toward going to the Jubilee Soup Kitchen to help out. That thought shouldn't make me laugh, it should make me somberly reflect on issues of poverty and hunger (which I do, I promise) but I can't help it... volunteering at a soup kitchen makes me think of this hilarious movie:

I can't find the screenshot of Celeste Talbert (Sally Field) working a soup kitchen and saying "Come in, get out of the sun," while a homeless person (Celeste's niece/daughter Laurie) secretly wields an enormous knife, but if you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to go rent Soapdish right now.

9. Maintain my blog

This translates to "post more often." I tend to go in spurts... I'd like to start posting consistently about four to five times per week.

26. Host a dinner party.

Okay, this is really more of a cocktail party, but I'm considering a holiday bash this year at the Stevenson household. And by "considering" I mean I have already: ordered real stationary on which to create lovely, homemade invitations; planned out a potential menu of cocktails (I found a slow cooker wassail recipe, hahaha) and finger foods; and drafted a tiny guest list that we can accomodate in our tiny house with a tiny budget. Don't be offended if you don't get a wonky handcrafted invitation - you probably don't want to be present for my first trial run as a real hostess, it could get ugly. On the other hand, you're missing out on wassail...

29. Make a gift for someone

Who gets the lucky present? My husband and brothers are scattering in fear while visions of electronics dance in their heads... It's too bad the days are gone when my handprint in a hunk of clay would be a treasured gift. My crafting abilities are not good, by and large, but I love the sentimental appeal of a homemade gift.

35. Send out Christmas cards.

I have a set of 10 or 20 that I purchased last year and then never took out of the packaging. I intend to take full advantage of our mostly updated address book from the wedding thank-yous, though, and send out cards galore!

44. Clean out my closet and donate clothes to Goodwill.

I have cleaned through soooo many clothes I don't wear anymore, but I haven't sorted and bagged them for donation. And that's not okay. It's getting cold, and I'm not going to magically be a size zero again anytime soon (this tells you I've held on to clothes from high school, which means they are between 6 and 10 years old - yikes). So why am I hanging onto them, these poor clothes that sit alone and neglected on our third floor just begging for a skinny 17-year-old owner who doesn't mind styles from 2003? Laziness, pure and simple. NOT OKAY.

48. Bake shortbread for Christmas and give it to friends and family.

Because if I can't be a size zero, none of you will be either. Now eat!

50. Attend Mass at least once a month.

This is a post for another day, but the Catholic Church is making some big changes to the Mass I've grown up with, and I don't really care what the idealogy is behind the shift - I don't like it. I may have to go the extremely conservative Catholic route (hi, Latin Mass with elderly ladies wearing veils!) or set foot in a Protestant church and hear my great-grandmother weeping in the Heavens. Fascinating, right? Stay tuned.

51. Pray more regularly.

Because be they Catholic or heretic prayers (I kid, I kid), we could all use a little more positive wishes in the world. Also, because Kyle's Grandma Nancy shames me by her devout prayers for everyone experiencing any hardship EVER, and there is nothing more effective than a little dose of Catholic guilt to make you think of the many ways you are failing God, and while you're at it you might as well at least say an Our Father, you sinful scum.

On that note, happy Tuesday!

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