Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thing 100: Create my own book journal

I don't even know how long I've been keeping track of the books I read.  Probably since I was 14?  I have a collection of book journals that I've used over the years, all filled with the hundreds and hundreds of books I've read.  But none of them have ever been the perfect journal to record exactly what I want them to.  I did attempt making one of my own once when I was desperate for something.  But I rushed through it and I wasn't really that happy with it.  I'm pretty keen on the one I have now (it's a Moleskin) but it's set up like an address book where you are supposed to enter your books by letter, not by date.  Needless to say, I ignore the letter dividers and have just been filling it in from front to back.  Anyway.  I want to make the perfect book journal for myself.  With a huge section to record what I've read but also a place to keep websites or make notes, etc.  And I want to create it all on my own.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have one printed, bound journal to record the books I've read, exactly as I want them to be.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 99: Try goat milk ice cream

Think of an animal with a winsome personality that also makes delicious, delicious cheese.  Did you think of a goat?  Yeah, me too.  Isn't goat cheese the best?  And the goat gives us more than just cheese.  Apparently, she also gives us ice cream.  I cannot possible rest until I try it.

How will I know I'm done?
Just a taste is all I need.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 98: Bake sourdough bread

There's nothing more wonderful than the smell of bread baking in your house.  And I love making bread.  I'm on my second bread maker - I burned the motor out in my first one.  I've never ventured into the world of sourdough, though.  You need starter and it can be a bit of a pain to keep going.  But sourdough is the best bread ever.  And because of that, I'm going to take it on.

How will I know I'm done?
One loaf of sourdough, made by hand.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 96: Go to a drive-in

Okay, before you start exclaiming "you've never been to a drive-in!" let me say right now that I've been to a drive-in.  I can't really remember much but I know I've been.  But drive-ins are cool.  And I want to go again.  Of course, it helps that there is one in Guelph.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have passed an afternoon or an evening at an old-fashioned drive-in movie theatre.

How am I doing?
Completed May 20, 2012, read about it here

Thing 95: Vote in every election

Voting is important.  You can't complain about the government if you don't vote.  You can't complain if you voted for the people in power either, so the key is to vote for the guy least likely to get elected.  That's why I vote Liberal.  Just kidding.  Or am I?

I've voted in every federal election there's been since I turned 18.  There have been 23, in case anyone is wondering.  I'm pretty sure I've voted in all of the provincial ones.  I've never voted in a municipal election.  But for the entirety of my 1001 days, if there's an election, I'll be voting.

How will I know I'm done?
Well, you're just going to have to take my word for it but I'll be keeping track.

How am I doing?
So far, I'm on track.

Thing 94: Get a proper will

Just so none of you start trying to adopt/marry me and then off me, I have a will.  It's just one of those fill-in-the-blank ones you download off the internet.  Besides, all my assets have a beneficiary.  And trust me, it isn't you.  Unless you're my dad.  In which case, trust me, it is you.  But back to my point.  I have a will, which has suited me up to this point.  But life is starting to get more complex and if Penelope & Gilligan suddenly find themselves orphaned, I don't want there to be any confusion about what happens to them*.

How will I know I'm done?
There will be a will tucked in the safe, along with all of my expensive jewels, priceless art and pirate's gold.  What?  Not only do I not have expensive jewels, priceless art, and pirate's gold but I don't even have a safe? Fine, I'll put it in the filing cabinet or something like that.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.


*EDP gets Penny, the car loan people get Gilligan.

Thing 93: Relax in a hot spring

This is one of those things that made the list because I've always wanted to do it.  It just sounds enjoyable.  There are hot springs near-ish here so I don't think this one will be hard to accomplish, though it would be nice to go to an exotic hot spring.  We'll see how it goes.

How will I know I'm done?
Well, it'll be easy to figure out when I'm in a hot spring.  And is it possible to do anything other than relax in one?  I guess a certain amount of time will need to be spent in it - cause 30 seconds isn't relaxing.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 92: Get rid of 101 things

Remember that time EDP and I moved in together and he moved all of his stuff with a cube van and I hired a team of 3 movers with a 24 foot truck?  Yeah, you get the point of this Thing now.

How will I know I'm done?
At least 101 things of some kind of substance (i.e. a kleenex doesn't count) will be out of the house.  I don't plan on sharing what every thing is so I'll keep a tally on a post-it.

How am I doing?
Completed February 26, 2012, read about it here.

Thing 91: Preserve 3 things

I don't know why people don't make more preserves...  Or, I guess I should say that I don't know why people don't can more stuff.  Yeah, it's a fair amount of work while you're doing it but then you're done!  No more work for a while and a pantry FULL of tasty treats.  And really, the possibilities are endless because I'm making up my own definition of "preserve" which might mean jam or pasta sauce or relish or basically anything that goes in a jar.  If anyone wants to go halvsies on anything, you let me know!!

Note: The jam I'm making in Thing 73 doesn't count towards these three.

This was originally 6 things but I've changed it to 3.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have 3 different types of homemade canned foods in the pantry.

How am I doing?
Completed Summer 2012, read about it here.

Thing 90: Sit my RCM Grade 8 piano exam

As previously noted, I'm a musical person.  For many, many years, my sister & I both took piano lessons and I did a brief stint with fiddle lessons in high school and now I'm moving on to rocking out on the drums.  I'm pretty good at playing the piano.  Especially waltzes.  They're my favourite.  But while I was taught using the Royal Conservatory of Music system, I only sat one exam - Grade 2.  Which, I passed, FYI.  But I kinda wish I had sat one of my higher level exams.  So now it's time.  At the very least, I'll do Grade 8 but I may be really bold and do Grade 9 or 10.  I don't think I'll be able to tackle this on my own, so I'll have to get a coach (I don't need lessons, I need someone who can help me prepare for the exam.)  If you know anyone, let me know.  But yes, they have to be certified by the RCM.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll walk out of the examination hall having made a really good effort at passing.

How am I doing?
In December, 2011, I officially removed this from my list.

Thing 89: Research the history of my house

I am an avid listener of both Stuff You Missed in History Class and Stuff You Should Know, fantastic podcasts from How Stuff Works.  If you recall, Sarah, from Stuff You Missed in History Class recommended one of my books for Thing 1.  Now, my latest inspiration is from the gentlemen over at Stuff You Should Know.

Josh and Chuck did a podcast in October 2009 on how to research the history of your house.  It's kinda like researching your family tree but on a house, instead.  Since EDP and I want to buy a century home, I think this would be a really interesting undertaking.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have a list of the owners of the home (as complete as possible) and done some research on the names I find.

How am I doing?
In November, 2012, I officially removed this from my list.

Thing 88: Go to the zoo



How will I know I'm done?
I'll have gone to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

How am I doing?
Completed October 1, 2011, read about it here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thing 87: Try acupuncture (getting it not doing it)

Oh, why did I put this on the list?!  I'm terrified of needles!  Ahhhhh!!!  But word on the street is that acupuncture may or may not provide benefits that western medicine can't.  I've seen research for both sides of the argument and it looks like while it might not work for everyone, there are some people it helps.  Maybe I could be one of those people?  

How will I know I'm done?
One session, that's it.  The point of this is only to try it.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 86: Stick to it for a month

This goes hand-in-hand with creating a realistic exercise schedule.  Once I get that schedule made, I'll follow it for a full month.

How will I know I'm done?
1 calendar month of following what I've laid out for myself.

How am I doing?
I think the longest I've stuck to the schedule is about 3 days.

Thing 85: Create a completely realistic exercise schedule

Now, it's not like I don't get any exercise.  I get a fair bit - especially with walking Penny.  But there's no regularity or making sure it's somewhat balanced.  And as I was told in my consult when I joined the gym, I need to balance cardio, flexibility and strength in what I'm doing.  So, I'm going to sit down and work something out that will incorporate all three things.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have a list or a chart or something that lays out how I'll balance everything

How am I doing?
Completed January 5, 2011, read about it here

Thing 84: Have a proper guest room

After becoming a home owner, I'm going to want to decorate the crap out of that house.  And while I'd love to have a properly decorated house on my list of Things, that's way too expensive and large an undertaking for this list.  So I've picked one room that I want done by the end of the 1001 days.  I don't know why I decided on the guest room.  But that's what has gone on the list.  And, it will be nice to usher guests into a lovely guest room.  And by "guests" I mean "myself."

BTW, the first night in the guest room will be awarded to the highest bidder.  I accept PayPal.

How will I know I'm done?
A proper bed, freshly-painted walls, curtains, bedding,

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 83: Start automatically backing up all the stuff on my computer

So you know how I mentioned that I'm not good with computers, in the sense that we're in a bitter rivalry to see who can outlast who in some kind of electronic game of chicken?  Well, I am ashamed to admit that I don't back up my hard drive.  If I win the game of chicken tomorrow, I really actually lose because all my music, etc. will be gone.  I do keep my most important documents on a USB key but I have lots and lots of music that'll be wiped out.  I know.  Bad.  But, with my shiny new Mac, I'm going to start regularly backing everything up because I'll have Time Machine.  Amazing.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll set up Time Machine on my shiny new Mac.

How am I doing?
Completed March 3, 2012, read about it here.

Thing 82: Get a Mac and learn how to use it

Since the dawn of time (i.e. since I started university), I've been in an epic battle with PCs.  Somehow, PCs just don't last around me.  Once, when a laptop didn't even last 24 hours, after suggesting that perhaps I had an electron imbalance, the guy at Future Shop drove me home, set the laptop up and checked the outlets in the house to make sure they were wired properly (turns out, they weren't so there was power surge after power surge hitting the laptop and frying it.)  And right now, the 3-year old desktop I have takes about 10 minutes to start up, 20 minutes to sync my iPhone, not all of the USB ports are working and when I shut it down the other night, it was still shutting down when I got up the next morning.  Point is, after 4 laptops and 2 desktops in 10 years, it's time to admit that PCs have proven their dominance over me.  So, I'm jumping ship and trying my hand with a Mac.

But, I don't really know how to use them so the second part of this Thing will be to figure out how to use the darn thing.  I can do the basic stuff, but Macs are expensive so I want to really get the most of out of it.  I'm thinking "Macs for Dummies" or a course of some kind.

How will I know I'm done?
A Mac on the desk and I'll have finished reading the book or taking the course to learn how to use it.

How am I doing?
Completed December 2, 2012, read about it here and here.

Thing 81: Go to a lecture at the Perimeter Institute

The Perimeter Institute is a research centre for physics in Waterloo.  Stephen Hawking spent a short time there not too long ago.  There's a lot going on there, including public lectures.  I've seen a few in the past that look interesting but I've never really considered going to one.  Time to change that.  I'm going to make a point to attend a lecture.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have attended one lecture from beginning to end and paid attention for the whole thing.

How am I doing?
Well, I've signed up for the mailing list.

Thing 80: Get really good at making soft pretzels

Soft pretzels are delicious.  If it's on the menu, it's on my plate.  I love them so much, it's time to learn to make them.  This isn't about making one good batch of soft pretzels.  This is about being able to consistently make good soft pretzels, the same way I can whip up cinnamon buns or a bowl of cereal.  You know, not really having to think about what I'm doing.

How will I know I'm done?
Let's say three consistently good batches of pretzels.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thing 79: Participate in a 24-hour read-a-thon

I've seen this on a few lists and I think it's a pretty cool idea.  It will certainly help with getting my TBR pile down.  There appear to be two varieties - one is reading as much as you can in 24 hours and the other is reading for at least 24 hours over a certain period of time.  I'm going to aim for the former, though, I know it's unlikely I'll be able to stay awake for that amount of time.  I'm going need some really good books.

How will I know I'm done?
I will reach the end of the 24-hour period, having followed all the rules set out by the read-a-thon.

How am I doing?
Completed October 23, 2011, read about it here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.  Or, read the summary here.

Thing 78: Actually tell a random stranger I like their shoes instead of just thinking it

Shoes are so pretty.  So, so pretty.  And lots of people have pretty shoes.  I often admire them.  I see a cute pair of shoes and in my head I say "what a cute pair of shoes."  If I know the person, I usually tell them because people love hearing their shoes are fantastic.  But if I don't know them, I don't say anything at all, I just think about how lovely the shoes are.  But I would love it if a stranger told me how great my shoes were.  So my new mission is to tell someone their shoes are fabulous.

How will I know I'm done?
The phrase "Excuse me, but I have to tell you - your shoes are fantastic" will be uttered out loud, by me and directed at a particular individual.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.  Though, I have thought about telling a few strangers I liked their shoes.

Mind your own beeswax!

Thing 75: Investigate new treatments for keratoconus

In 2007, my distance vision had been steady for 2 years.  2 years of no changes is the requirement for laser surgery.  So I booked a consult and off I went.  To determine if you are a candidate, the laser surgery people take all sorts of fancy photos of your eyes.  When my photos were done, they found that I have keratoconus, leaving me stuck with glasses.  But, there's lots of research being done in the field so I may not be stuck with them forever.  

How will I know I'm done?
Just because there is research being done into treatments, it doesn't mean I qualify for them.  But it certainly doesn't hurt to do some research.  For this Thing to be done, I'll have identified two or three different studies or trials underway that are applicable to the type of keratoconus I have.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 73: Make jam with fruit I pick

I have previously picked fruit.  I have never made jam.  Seems like a good idea to make jam.  Seems like an even better idea to pick the fruit for it myself.  And really, jam is tasty so why wouldn't I want to do it?

How will I know I'm done?
One trip to the orchard/field/patch followed by one batch of jam in my pantry.

How am I doing?
Completed July 29, 2012, read about it here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thing 72: Go golfing with my dad

My dad took up golfing a few years ago and rather enjoys it.  It's a sport that suits him - he gets to walk a lot and snacks are encouraged.  A sport with snacks is a sport I can get on board with even if I can only hit a ball about 50 yards and never in the direction I'm trying to hit it.  I'm sure it'll thrill my dad when I announce that I'm heading out with him when he plays one day.  I suspect he'll wear dark sunglasses and a large floppy hat and suggest we go somewhere really far away.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have played 18 holes (at the same time) with my dad.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 71: Go "camping" in the backyard with my dog

I think this may have been EDP's idea.  But I think his suggestion was to actually go camping.  Which isn't my style.  But I will set the tent up in the backyard one night and head on out there with my puppy for a sleepover.  I'll roast some marshmallows for me and a couple of baby carrots for Penny on the BBQ.  Maybe go for a late night walk or whatever it is people do when they go camping.  In the morning, we'll eat our breakfast in the tent and then pack everything up and head back inside.

How will I know I'm done?
One whole night in the tent with the dog.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 70: Visit with my Gran at least once every 2 months

I don't see my Gran nearly as often as I should.  I live fairly close (even closer now that I'm in Guelph) and she's a lovely lady so there's no reason not to.  I'll be visiting with her at least once every 2 months, starting now.  It certainly won't be hard.  I can tag along with my parents when they go see her or take my dog up to visit her or invite her down here for an afternoon...  Lots of options and opportunities.  Time to start taking advantage of them.

How will I know I'm done?
This one will go right to the end of my 1001 days.  If I stay on track with seeing my Gran at least every 2 months, I'll be done.

How am I doing?
So far, I'm on track

Thing 69: Spend a day in the garden with my mom

Full disclosure - this was my mom's idea.  I'm not really a "gardener."  Every year, I plant a nice little pot of pretty flowers for the front step.  Every year, they are dead within a few weeks.  My mom, on the other hand, is.  She loves mucking about in the backyard with her pruning sheers and gardening gloves, slathered in sunscreen and wearing a hat (she'd better be slathered in sunscreen and wearing a hat - she burns like a caramel sauce that you didn't keep stirring.)  Anyway.  The point is - she likes gardening and she suggested a day in the garden with her so onto the list it went.  I suspect she means working in the garden but I'll keep hoping that we'll just be hanging out with mint juleps and cucumber sandwiches.

How will I know I'm done?
One entire day.  Outside.  Doing garden-y things.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 68: Teach my mom to text & tweet

I'm pretty sure my mom knows what texting and tweeting is but she doesn't do either.  It's not really her style to figure out what this kind of stuff is or how to do it.  But it would be easier if she did.  It's my new mission to teach her.

How will I know I'm done?
I can't really force my mom to embrace either of these things, though, there's a good chance she will.  But to mark this thing as done, she'll:
  • Have a Twitter account
  • Be able to find people to follow
  • Be able to use @, # and RT
  • Send, read and reply to text messages
How am I doing?
So far, no progress.  But, my mom is reading my tweets, even if she isn't tweeting herself.  A good first step.

Things 65, 66 & 67: Find a good Greek/Chinese/Thai restaurant in Guelph

Just so we're clear, I'm not looking for a restaurant that has all three of those styles of cuisine in one.  These are three separate Things.

When I moved to Waterloo, I spent nearly 3 years finding a good Chinese food place.  And after all that searching, it turns out, there was one RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM ME that had fantastic Chinese food but I always thought it was a sit-down Vietnamese place so I never gave it a second thought.  Happily, the Thai and Greek were not nearly as trying.  When EDP lived in Kitchener, there was a fantastic Greek place that we found pretty quickly and there's a really good one near-ish to where I work that I frequent on occasion.  And there are a couple of really good Thai places that I know of.

But now I live in Guelph and it's back to square one.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have an automatic, go-to place for whenever I'm craving Greek, Thai or Chinese.  And I'll know it's the go-to place after getting food a few times and saying "Yeah, I'm happy with this place, I don't need to keep looking."

How am I doing?
We've been to the King's Buffet in Guelph (it is not nearly as good as the one in Kitchener) and ordered from Wok's Taste, which had good but horrible-looking food, though a second order has struck them from the short list.  I tried a third Chinese place on my own but it was far too salty for my taste.  A four place has been tried and it was really good value for the money and the food was good.  Not quite willing to declare it the winner yet, though.

The Greek & Thai restaurants have been taken care of in August and July, 2012, read about it here.

Fifth Thing done

And another one is off the list...  I almost finished this one by accident two weeks ago and then decided to give it a chance to complete it last week.

I'm not sure why but two Tuesdays ago, I woke up before my alarm went off and I felt awake.  So I got out of bed and took Penny on a longer walk than normal.  Then it happened again on Wednesday.  And Thursday.  AND FRIDAY!  I was toying with the idea of making sure I got out of bed on time on Monday and calling Thing 63 done but then decided I'd try to go the entire week.  And I did.  Friday was hard - it was the only day that I was still fast asleep when the alarm went off.  I really wanted to hit snooze or listen to the news for a bit.  But it was the last day and so I threw the covers off and go up.  And with that, I crossed another one off the list.

Time for another $25...

Thing 63: Get up when the alarm goes off every day for a week

Like most people in the world, when the alarm goes off in the morning, I curse it and try not to acknowledge that it's time to get up.  Eventually, I decide I cannot live in denial anymore and haul my butt out of bed to take the dog for a walk.  For the most part, I only linger for 10 or 15 minutes - long enough to hear the weather and the top stories and to determine that it is, in fact, morning and not just a cruel joke the alarm is playing on me.

How will I know I'm done?
5 consecutive days of getting up before or within a minute or two of the alarm going off.

How am I doing?
Completed May 20, read about it here.

Thing 62: Make a really good, authentic alfredo from scratch

Fettuccine alfredo is delicious.  No one can dispute that.  But alfredo sauce is hard to make from scratch.  I guess it isn't actually that hard to make the sauce but it certainly is hard to do it well.  I've tried before - it was only okay.  By no means was it delicious.  You can get recipes for alfredo-like sauces that are easy.  They use cream cheese or cream or flour to help you out.  But my understanding is that alfredo is really just parmesan and butter.  So I'm taking it on.  I am going to make a really good, authentic alfredo from scratch.

How will I know I'm done?
I think this will require an outside opinion.  Someone, with a penchant for Italian food, will try an alfredo I've made and say "this is really good."  I will also accept delicious, divine, heavenly, fantastic, superb, amazing, and wonderful.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thing 61: Take a self-defense class

Back off, get your own sandwich!

Yeah, I can talk the talk but I can't walk the walk.  My best shot at defending myself is hoping I have heels on and can inflict some damage by stomping on a foot.  If I'm lucky enough to have Penny with me, I've got $5 that says she joins the other guy's side.  But you know me - I just love wandering around on the wrong side of the tracks at night.  Time to learn to defend myself, even if it's just a little.

How will I know I'm done?
I can kick your ass in a dark alley.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thing 60: Bake a pie that isn't apple, peach or lemon meringue

Mmmmm....  Pie.  Delicious apple, peach or lemon meringue pie.  I do love pie.  And I really like making pie, too.  But I am pretty boring in the types I make - apple, peach or lemon meringue.  I have wonderful recipes for each of these kinds of pie and so I stick to them.  But it's time to branch out.  Time to learn a pie that is outside of my comfort zone.  I'm thinking maybe a coconut cream or a key lime or scotch.

How will I know I'm done?
There will be a new kind of pie in my kitchen.

How am I doing?
Completed September 2, 2011, read about it here.  

Thing 59: Take a bookbinding course

So honestly, this one isn't too high up on the list of Things I'm most excited about.  But, it's right up Amy's alley and it will help me with creating my own book journal, which is a Thing I am looking forward to doing.  I think taking the course will be interesting enough but I'm really not likely to jump on the bookbinding band wagon.  Do the bookbinders even have a wagon?

How will I know I'm done?
Pretty simple - I'll have signed up for, paid for and completed a course in bookbinding.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 58: Drink a beer

Ever seen me do this before?  No?  Well, that's why it's on the list.  I claim that I do not like beer.  But it turns out that maybe I don't not like it.  Pardon, you say?  Well, a few weeks ago, EDP & I toured a brewery with his parents and at the end, we got some samples and I didn't hate them.  So I'm going to attempt to drink an entire bottle of beer on my own.

How will I know I'm done?
There will be an empty bottle in front of me.

How am I doing?
Completed September 25, 2011, read about it here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thing 57: See the Northern Lights

This one was EDP's idea.  I put it on the list before I researched whether or not I'd have to go to a more northerly location to see them.  I have read the wiki article and it doesn't seem like it'll be too troublesome to see them.

How will I know I'm done?
A passing glance won't cut it.  Seeing the Northern Lights means watching them dance.  I'll have to go out of my way to see them and maybe take a little video or something.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 56: Grow sunflowers

Aren't sunflowers just some of the prettiest flowers ever?  They look so lovely in a big giant field, all bright and happy looking.  Unfortunately, I'm horribly allergic to them.  I often don't bother acknowledging this allergy exists, preferring instead to be all sneezy and stuffed up inside, as well as outside.  But, if I had them growing outside in a spot where I could see them while I eat my breakfast, I wouldn't need to buy any and put them in a vase.  Then, the natural order of life would be restored, where I am only sneezy and stuffed up outside.

How will I know I'm done?
I will have at least half a dozen beautiful, sunny flowers smiling at me.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 55: Get an academic letter of reference

This goes in part with writing my GRE as gearing up to apply for my library sciences.  I'll definitely need letters of recommendation and I know I'll need one that is academic in nature.  Since my first degree is professional and not research-based, I'll need one from a class I take towards my BAH.  But, the tricky part is that my classes have pretty much all been online so I haven't had a proper professor, just tapes created in the 80s and a TA to do the marking.  The few classes I have taken in person haven't been in a setting where a reference letter would be any more than "Yeah, she wrote the tests.  I assume she came to class because she did pretty well but there are too many students for me to know for sure."  Now, I'll need to take a seminar or two to finish my degree so the goal is to have a letter at the end of one of those.

How will I know I'm done?
I'm not sure I'll need the actual letter before the end of my 1001 days so having the letter won't be the mark of this Thing finished but rather, I'll have confirmed with a prof that they will write a letter for me and what they'll need to give me a good reference.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thing 52: Volunteer for 25 hours

I do a lot with my time but I don't volunteer very much.  And I really should.  So 25 hours of volunteering is on the list.  I'm not sure how I'll spend the hours - I think I'd like to do them all with one organization.  But the goal is 25 hours.

How will I know I'm done?
Pretty easy - once I get to 25 hours of volunteering, this Thing is done.

How am I doing?
So far, I've spent 15 hours volunteering with the LPGA golf tournament.

Thing 49: Read the Old Testament & Thing 50: Read the New Testament

I've taken reading the Bible and split it into two Things because I think it's going to be a pretty daunting task.  But certainly worth doing.  Anyway, this is pretty straightforward - read the Old Testament and read the New Testament.  Not sure there's much more to say.

How will I know I'm done?
I'm going to use a reading program for each of these so I'll be done when I reach the end of the programs.

How am I doing?
In December, 2012, I started a 1 year reading plan and am on track.  

Thing 47: Live 3 Tragically Hip Lyrics

I adore the Hip.  They are, hands down, my favourite band.  And it's just so lovely that they are Canadian.  And they have the greatest songs.  With some pretty great lyrics.  So I want to live 3 of them.  So, for example, there's a lyric that goes "You held my hand and we walked home the long way."  I can totally do that!  Or "And that's when the hornet stung me" which I'd prefer to not do.  Anyway, you get the idea - 3 real life experiences that match up to 3 real life Hip lyrics.

And no, Amy - I will not be living that lyric where I'm wrongly accused of murdering someone and spending 20 years in prison.  But thanks for the suggestion.

How will I know I'm done?
I'll be able to describe (or give you the link to) 3 descriptions of when a lyric from a Hip song was exactly what happened.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 45: Join a community garden

This is one of my favourite Things on my list but sadly, probably one that will end up being pulled off.  First, why I put it on the list...  Community gardens are really gaining in popularity with the whole local movement that's big right now.  A community garden is pretty much exactly what it sounds like - a garden that lots of people are a part of.  They can be in public spaces or on private property and the details vary depending on the garden.  Sometimes, you get a little plot and can grow whatever you like and in other situations, you work on a big plot with the other gardeners.  It's great for people who don't have the space to have their own garden.  I love the idea of joining a community garden because I would love to be able to grow my own fruits and veggies but I've never had the right living situation to do it at my own house.

Now on to why this might be pulled off - first of all, Guelph doesn't seem to have a lot of community gardens.  Which I found VERY surprising.  So, finding one might be a challenge.  And secondly, when we get into a house, we really want to be able to plant a vegetable garden.  And it will be in the backyard, not in a community garden.  Because of those two reasons, you may see this Thing substituted for something else.

How will I know I'm done?
The fee will be paid to participate in a community garden for at least one summer.

How am I doing?
Competed April 24, 2012, read about it here.

Thing 44: Take a picture of something that makes me happy every day for a month

This one definitely came off someone else's list but I thought it was a really good idea.  For one month, I'll be taking a photo of something that has made me happy that day.  It's a really simple idea and I bet at the end of the month, I look through my pictures and end up being really surprised at what has made me happy.

And no, I can't just take 30 pictures of Penny and call it a day...  Er, month.  Each picture will need to be of a different thing.

How will I know I'm done?
A month's worth of pictures that make me smile.

How am I doing?
Completed April 29, 2012, read about it here.

Thing 43: Listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs

In 2004, Rolling Stone released a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.  I took a quick peak at it a few weeks ago and there were a lot of songs on it that I had never heard and a number of songs that I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs.  It looks like a really good list and I figure I won't ever really be a world class drummer unless I've listened to them all.  They updated the list in 2010 and I'd like to listen to all of the new additions, too, so there will be a bit more than 500 songs by the end.

How will I know I'm done?
All 500 songs, listened to in their entirety.  No skipping songs and no ending them early.

How am I doing?
So far, I've listened to 386 songs from the original list.

Thing 42: Assemble an emergency kit for the house

Aside from keeping a case of water on hand and a pantry stocked with cereal that was on sale, we're very unprepared for making it through even a couple of days in an emergency situation.  So it's time to assemble the things that are recommended to have on hand.  This Thing will be in two parts - the first will be finding the appropriate list of kit contents.  There are a lot of different websites out there with lists of contents for an emergency kit so I need to figure out what one makes the most sense for our kit.  The second part of the Thing will be assembling everything together.

How will I know I'm done?
Everything on the list I pick will be purchased and packed into a container.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress

Thing 41: Ride a bicycle built for two

You know, in theory, this sounds like a delightful little whimsy.  But I'm guessing it's not nearly as easy as the Becel commercial makes it look (was there a Becel commercial that had a couple wearing a bicycle built for two or am I just imagining things?)  I'll need a partner for this one but before you volunteer, just know that I will be the one in control of the steering.  Ideally, this one will happen in the summer because I don't think it's something I want to take on in the snow.  

How will I know I'm done?
A few feet won't cut it - this one is at least 15 minutes on the bicycle.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Time for an update

So where were we?  Ah yes, April has come and gone and now it's on to May.

A fair amount has happened this last two weeks.  I'm going to start with the most exciting first.  Ready?  Here it goes.  I started drum lessons.  And, if I do say so myself, I'm a drumming superstar.  I have excellent meter, according to my teacher. I've had two lessons so far and I can already play a couple of rock beats.  If you'd like your own personal concert, find me on Skype.  I did fit a drum kit in Gilligan.  I'm renting one for now - but I've been really enjoying my lessons so I think there will be a permanent set in the music room soon.

Also, I tried a couple of new recipes - mostly in the form of cupcakes when I made lemon meringue cupcakes and a chocolate-filled cupcake that was meant to mimic Hostess cupcakes.  They were my birthday treats at work and they went over pretty well.  I've also been working on my 1001 Wiki articles, gotten another book knocked off Mount TBR (which was Book 19 in my 50 Book Pledge), and started logging my KMs with Penny (12.76 so far.)

I've given up on the iPhone bible app for now.  Turns out, the bible that the Catholics use in Canada is still under copyright so it's rather expensive to purchase it for a reading program on the phone.  I'm going to look online for a reading program that doesn't include the actual text and then go from there once I find that.

Oh, and my first trade for my TFSA FINALLY went through.  What a flippin' headache.  I submitted all of my paperwork in April to Questrade along with the form to transfer my shares.  Well, the transfer was initiated and posted and then sat for almost an entire month before Questrade picked it up.  I called repeatedly, I emailed them constantly, I requested a copy of their formal complaint process (which I never received) and finally had to contact their Omsbudman.  Questrade may be cheap but if I was planning on being an active trader, I wouldn't be staying with them.  Anyway, the trade's been picked up and it's in my account now so I'm well on my way to $10,000 in there.

And one last note - Thing 64 is now officially finished.  Both Katy and Amy have started lists that they've already made great progress on so this Thing is now off my list.  Time to transfer another $25.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thing 39: Finish a crossword puzzle with no help

Doing crossword puzzles is supposed to be very good for your mind.  I wouldn't know because I typically find them boring and tedious. But I'm going to give it a try.  I'll pick a middle-of-the-road puzzle - not the NY Times but not the one in the back of People either.  And I'll do the entire thing on my own.  No help from anyone or anything, including dictionaries, encyclopedias or the interwebs.

How will I know I'm done?
All the boxes will be filled with letters that make words.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thing 38: Take a patisserie course from Le Cordon Bleu

Le Cordon Bleu is a pretty famous culinary arts institute.  And while it would be super amazing awesome to do their entire pastry program, that won't happen.  It's a touch expensive for something that I'd only want to do for fun (think over $20,000)  Luckily, there is a Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and they offer shorter courses that are only a couple of days and not nearly as pricey.  And they all look very tasty/interesting.

How will I know I'm done?
Hopefully, they give me some kind of certificate of completion.

How am I doing?
I'm signed up to attend the 4-day Passport to Pastry class in September 2013.

Thing 37: Teach my dog a cute trick

Penny and I have done a couple of rounds of training - by now, she's pretty good at sitting and laying down.  On occasion, she will stay or come around to my side.  These actions are more rare.  Some would say she isn't a very smart dog, but I disagree.  I have managed to teach her to shake a paw.  I think this is because she is highly motivated by food and she's realized that batting at a person often gets her a treat.  This gives me hope that I can teach her something else cute.

This was originally teaching Penny to roll over but I'm not sure she has the attention span to learn that so I've modified it to be just something cute.

How will I know I'm done?
According to our trainer, a dog has to do something 40 times in a row on command to consider the command learned.  Neither Penny nor I have that kind of attention span to count that high so I'll take two or three successful responses to the trick's command.  And maybe one or two when someone else asks her to do it.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thing 36: Don't eat out for a month

It's not like I eat out a lot.  I'm pretty good about taking my lunch to work (even better now that EDP has started making it for me in the mornings) and EDP & I grocery shop on a regular schedule with a plan of meals in mind.  Normally, meals out are time spent with friends - we don't go out on our own very often and it's only occasionally because we don't feel like cooking.  However, I'm sure it's not good for me.  So for one month, there will be no eating out - this includes buying lunch/breakfast/coffee/snacks at work (but not those that appear at meetings or because it's someone's birthday) and all meals that can be consumed in restaurants or restaurant-like settings (I speak primarily of breakfast, lunch and dinner but also brunch) Don't worry friends - we can go for a picnic assuming I don't pick a winter month or maybe you could come over for dinner.

Oh, this also includes trips to Dairy Queen, Marble Slab, Baskin Robbins, Laura Secord, Cold Stone Creamery, the cute little store in Arkell that sells Kawartha Lakes ice cream, and Starbucks.

How will I know I'm done?
30 days.  No food unless it came from the grocery store.

How am I doing?
Completed March 25, 2012, read about it here.

Thing 34: Snorkel

I'm not sure what possessed me to put this one on the list.  I can barely swim, despite my parents' splurging on private swimming lessons from the time I was 7 until I turned 25 (okay, not quite that long but still, for the length of time I took lessons, I should be a good swimmer.)  Mostly I just flail around, which is pretty fun for the people watching.  Or I cling to my safety flotation device.  But EDP & I are planning a trip to Chile, which will include a jaunt out to Easter Island and apparently, the snorkeling is good there.  So despite my lack of swimming skills, I'm determined to snorkel with the fishies.  I'm not sure what is involved with this but I think there are a pair of very large flippers and perhaps some kind of goggles?  I assume I'll have to go in the water.  Beyond that, I have nothing.  Wait, can you snorkel with glasses on?

How will I know I'm done?
In order to really have done this Thing, I'm going to say that I'll go on some kind of snorkel excursion (as opposed to just cutting a length out of my parents' garden hose and wading into Cadzow.) and make a good effort to participate in said excursion.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 33: Go to 5 concerts

As many of you know, I live my life for live music.  Yeah, okay so maybe not so much.  I can probably count on one hand the number of concerts I've been to.  But they are just so loud!  And they end so late at night.  Regardless, the shows I've seen have been pretty good.  Anyone else remember that time I had front row tickets for the Hip on my birthday and I came home with a set list, a guitar pick and half of Gord Downie's mic stand?  Those were good times.  And while it is doubtful that I will repeat that golden night from my youth, I can at least try to relive my glory days by taking in a few more live shows.  Also, I feel I'm better prepared now - I have a Zippo lighter app on my phone.  Note:  Neither a musical in Toronto nor the Toronto Symphony Orchestra are concerts.

How will I know I'm done?
5 late nights, 10 ringing ears, 5 tickets with 20% "convenience fees"....  Maybe I'll make EDP buy me a t-shirt from each one so I can show off 5 t-shirts (don't look at me like that - this 101 Things venture is already costing me a small fortune.)

How am I doing?
In July, 2011, I saw Weezer & the Hip, in August 2011, I saw Maroon 5 and Train and in June 2012, I saw the Hip again with Death Cab for Cutie.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thing 32: Take a last minute vacation

I'm a planner.  I'm sure you're aware of this.  When EDP and I went to Italy, I booked my vacation time MONTHS in advance.  I'm not sure EDP ever even booked his off.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that I've never taken a last minute vacation.  And frankly, the idea of it scares me a little.  But that makes it a pretty good Thing for the list. I'm not sure what the official definition of last minute it but I'm going to say that it can't be booked any further in advance than the length of the vacation.  So if it's going to be a week vacation, I can book it a week in advance.  If it's 3 days, can't book more than 3 days in advance.

How will I know I'm done?
One vacation taken without planning it out for months in advance.  And really, I'm going to need the vacation to deal with the stress of not planning the vacation.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.  Which really, if it's a last minute vacation, I shouldn't be getting anything done in advance.

Thing 31: Learn to use EDP's DSLR

Maybe a year or so ago, EDP bought a pretty nice DSLR.  For the first while, he had no clue how to use it properly.  Then he took a course.  If you saw the pictures he was taking before and the pictures he's been taking after, you would not believe they were taken by the same person.  The DSLR is definitely going to be going with us on vacations, etc. so I would like to be able to use it.

How will I know I'm done?
I think taking a beginner's course will be enough for this.  I'm not looking to becoming a professional, just take a good photo.

How am I doing?
Completed September 14, 2011, read about it here and here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thing 30: Get an orchid and keep it alive for 6 months

I inherited my mother's keen ability to kill indoor plants.  I do have an African violet that has been alive for a few years but I can't remember the last time it flowered.  I also have a ficus that, if you've seen, you'll agree has seen better days.  I also kill outdoor plants but I didn't get that from my mom.  So I'm going to try to keep an orchid alive for six months.  Should be interesting. 

How will I know I'm done?
I'll buy an orchid and keep the receipt.  If it still has some semblance of life six months later, this Thing is done.

How am I doing?
Completed middle of December, 2011, read about it here.

Thing 29: Climb a volcano

I won't lie - this isn't nearly as exotic as it seems for the list since EDP and I are planning on doing this in the near-ish future when we go to Chile.  I wanted to be able to accomplish a couple of things on our trip and this is something we're planning on doing but if we don't, I can probably still figure out a way to get it done in 1001 days.

How will I know I'm done?
Well, I don't really know how close to the top of a volcano they let you go (can you peer into it?) but this Thing will be done when I walk/hike as far as I can go up a volcano.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 28: Have a Harry Potter DVD Marathon

I challenge you to find a movie franchise with films based on 7 books that is awesomer than Harry Potter.  You can't, can you?  Which is exactly why I picked the Harry Potter films.  Also because there have been no other movies in this world I've been so excited for. With 8 movies, I figure I'll need two days because I don't think I can watch all eight without a few naps and Penny will still need her walks.

How will I know I'm done?
All 8 Harry Potter movies, one sofa, two days, lots of snacks.

How am I doing?
Completed November 20, 2011, read about it here

Thing 27: Wear my pj's for three days straight

Surely, staying in one's pj's is what they mean by "living the dream."  I love pajamas.  I wish I could wear them every day, including to work.  They are just so comfy.  But realistically, they are not socially acceptable to wear outside your house unless you are in university.  However, I'm going to spend three glorious days in my pj's.  I probably won't spend all three days in the same pajamas but pajamas will make up my entire wardrobe for three days.  Poor Penny, she won't be going out in the daylight much on those days (actually, walking Penny will be the one exception to this - it's not fair to make her give up her walks so that I can be ├╝ber-comfy.)

How will I know I'm done?
72 hours.  No clothes that aren't made of flannel and decorated with some sort of animal or food.

How am I doing?
Completed February 27, 2012, read about it here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thing 26: Write my GRE

This is one that has got a fair bit of interest because no one seems to know what a GRE is.   It's the Graduate Record Examination and it's one of those aptitude tests that grad schools use.  One day, I plan to go back to school to get my library sciences and I'll need to have written the GRE as part of the admission requirements.

How will I know I'm done?
Well, I want to at least sit the exam before the end of my 1001 days but I probably won't write it until close to the end since I'll need study time and will want to be at least close to ready to apply for grad school.  So to be done, I'll just have to write the formal exam - not just a practice exam but no need to worry about having the score I need for applying

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Thing 25: Throw a housewarming party

This one goes in part with Thing 24.  Once that dream house is found, I'm going to branch out and do something I never do - have a housewarming party.  Usually, it's months and months after I move before I get around to having people over and it's always in fits & spurts.  I've never done the housewarming party thing.  So after the house is bought, there will be a party.  You're invited.

How will I know I'm done?
Well, I suspect I'll have a house full of empty glasses and crumpled napkins.  And maybe a red wine stain on the new carpet?  This certainly will be an easy one to figure out when I'm finished.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 2011 Recap

I'm going to try to post a recap most at the end of each month - summarizing what I've finished and got on the go along with what's coming up in the next month.

So what did April bring?  Well, most importantly, it brought the beginning of my 101 Things.  I decided to take on the project, started this blog and wrote my list of 101 Things.  I started writing little explanations of each Thing and made some decent progress on getting those done.  Within a few days of getting my blog up, I had four people saying they'd be doing their own list so it looked like inspiring someone to set up their own list wasn't anything to worry about having on my list.

I got off to a running start - I got to work on setting up my TFSA accounts (one with a brokerage firm and one for my $25 for each thing finished) along with asking a couple of people for book recommendations.  I signed up on Freerice.com and started answering questions.  I'm up to 7510 grains so far, so a good start.  I also signed up for Kiva and made my first microloan.  And I heard about MapMyWalk and started using that to track how far I've walked with Penny (3.76 km so far - but remember, this is outside of our normal walks.) I also did a trial run on turning my handwriting into a font and will be ready to finish that one off soon. EDP and I also joined a gym so we can get back into playing squash.  BTW, we played the other day and I LEGITIMATELY WON A GAME.  No points carried over from a previous game, no points awarded for effort, and I only needed do-overs on a couple of serves.

I got started on some of the other Things that will be ongoing for most of my 1001 days, if not all - I read a few Wikipedia articles, wrote 2 handwritten letters, I went with my parents to visit my Gran and put a few things aside to get rid of.

Most excitingly, I finished three Things - not long after starting, I went grocery shopping with EDP and didn't talk about any sales.  And, over Easter weekend, I saw a Broadway play in New York and had breakfast at Tiffany's.  I'm pretty happy with finishing three Things, it's a good start.

With all this focus on my Things, I haven't gotten much reading done so my 50 Book Pledge and getting the stack of TBRs down hasn't gone too well but I've got lots of time.  I'm at 18 books read for the pledge and 53 books on TBR.  You may notice that 53 is higher than 49, which is the number I started with but I got a few books for my birthday and received a couple of books in the mail from a fellow BookCrosser.

What's next?  Tomorrow, I start drum lessons (would anyone like to place bets on whether or not I can fit a drum set in Gilligan?) I'll try to get a start on my 101 new recipes and I'll probably also start on reading the Old Testament - I found an iPhone app that will actually read the Bible to me so I'm thinking about listening to it rather than reading it.  Or maybe a combination of both.  There's a good chance that a Mac will be purchased soon - there's rumours of a refresh happening soon!  And hopefully, by the end of the month, I'll have my little summaries of each Thing done, too.