Sunday, December 2, 2012

So learn-ed

I finally, finally, finally finished the book on learning how to use my Mac today.  It only took a bazillion years.  It took so long that there's another operating system out.  And I'm probably going to upgrade to it tomorrow.  And then I'll have to figure out how to use that one.

FYI - my Mac rocks.  I don't think I could ever go back to a pc.  EDP thinks that it's the most expensive twitter and pinterest machine ever made but he uses it for photos and I also use it for email.  So there.


August, September, October AND November 2012 Recaps

Ack, so I've been horribly neglectful in my monthly recaps but it's just been such a busy few months.

What have I accomplished in the last few months?  Well, I finished all of my recommended books.  I cooked a turkey.  I took a class on basic home repairs.  I preserved a couple of things.  I started exploring my square mile.

I've also removed "Research the history of my house" from my list.  The house we bought is only 5 years old.  It was a model home for the first two years and then the last three years, there was a family living here.  The dad operated his own business.  It seems silly to research a house this young so off the list it comes.  I'm replacing it with figuring out some way to display magnets from our travels.

How are the ongoing things?

  • My TBR is sitting at 36 books, which seems excellent!  I'm really making an effort to focus on the books that are on this list and not new stuff that has come out so I'm hopeful this number will keep shrinking and be down to 25 soon, in nearly 2 years, I've only decreased the pile by 13 books so that might be a pipe dream.  
  • I'm up to 63 new recipes tried - it may be more but I haven't been great about keeping track the last few months and that's all I can remember...  Hosting Thanksgiving helped quite a bit with the number and so has having a bigger kitchen.  
  • I'm continuing to make progress on scanning my old notes.  It's fallen off since we've moved but I'm about a third of the way there.  
  • Penny and I have walked 151.57 km.  I feel like our walking progress has slowed a lot since moving because our regular walks are getting longer now that we have all these awesome trails around us.  Now that it's winter-y, that may change since it's dark when we walk.  
  • I've done a bit of my Wreck My Journal but it does seem like more of a summer activity so I expect progress to be slow for a while.  
  • I made a second transfer to my TFSA from my GSOP to bring my total transfer up to $6,800 and my Things TFSA has $950 worth of contributions to it, meaning I only need to contribute another $2259 to my TFSA to reach $10,000 in contributions.
  • We have tickets to see the Hip in February.  Yay!  That will bring me up to 4 concerts seen, 3 of which will have been the Hip.
  • I've listened to 337 of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs
  • We ordered Chinese food from a new place last night.  It was really good value and the food was tasty.  I think it'll end up being the go-to spot but I'm not quite willing to declare that yet.    
What are a few of the things I've fallen behind in?
  • Well, the plan of reading 1 Wiki article a day and donating 1000 grains of rice a day are no where on track.  It would have to be June 2011 to be on target but I've been saving a tonne of Wiki articles to my Instapaper (so many I got an email saying they suspect I've automated saving things) and I'm trying to remember to work on donating rice when I'm watching TV or listening to a podcast or something.  Right now, I'm sitting at 66,000 grains of rice donated and 77 Wiki articles read.
  • I haven't seen my gran in a shamefully long time.  I know things have been busy with the house but that's not a good enough reason so it's time to step up on that.
  • A couple of months have went by without my handwritten letters.  I have a bunch of people I want to send them to but I keep finding a reason to not sit down and do it.
  • I haven't even attempted an angel food cake lately.  I made a couple of attempts early on that I wasn't thrilled with and that has just been sitting in progress since then.  
  • I'm still slogging through the book on learning to use my Mac but I'm definitely behind because there's a new operating system and I want it but I want to figure out the current one first.  I've picked up my socks in the last month or so and only have 10 chapters left.  I'm motivated to get through it quickly now because the last few chapters have had more tips & tricks and I've got a couple of pages flagged to it's easy to find the tricks.  
  • I've started and falling off sticking to my exercise schedule for a month.  My jaw has definitely finished healing and I'm trying to get on track with this but I never make it for more than a couple of days.  
Wow.  That's a lot of updates.  What's up next?

Well, I need to get started on a couple of longer term things so that I can finish them off in time.  
  • EDP and I have to start playing squash more regularly (we've actually increased the amount we play now that we can book a court online.)  
  • I should start studying for my GRE if I'm going to write it in 2013.  My job has changed in the last few months, though, and there might be some stuff I want to take for it instead so we'll have to see.  
  • I need to find a spot to take a photo of for a year.  Pretty sure I'll do something at our house but unsure what exactly I want to photograph.
  • Should probably get started on reading the Bible.  They have programs that get you through the Bible in a year so I'd need to start that ASAP.  I've looked at this a little bit and would really like to read the Canadian Catholic bible in chronological order but I don't think that's happening.  The idea of chronological really appeals to me, though.  Maybe it's time to look for an app again.
  • Meeting 10 new bookcrossers might be an issue.  I've tried to look for meet-ups around here and it's not going so well.  I haven't been very active on BC so I'm also not as excited about this as when I put it on my list.  
Anything else?  Well, yes, yes there is.  I signed up for a Passport to Pastry class at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa next September.  I'm stupid excited for it.  Also, I have a WagJag for acupuncture that expires this month so I really need to use that, though the guy hasn't replied to my emails.  

Wow.  That's REALLY a lot of updates.  


Preserve This!

It's unclear to me if I'm trying to prepare for doomsday or just return to a simpler time when grocery stores and modern food preservation did not exist but I'm really into the idea of a pantry full of mason jars.

To this end, I preserved a record number of things this year.  To be clear, my previous record was 1.  I've done Antipasto with my mom & sister.  Red Pepper Jelly with my mom.  Spaghetti sauce with EDP.  But I think I've only ever done one of those things a year.  Anyway...  With the community garden participation this year, we had lots of delicious, tasty vegetables so I made:

Zucchini Relish - my mom's recipe.  Hers is delicious.  On a fabulous homemade burger, I'd rather have no relish than store bought stuff.  So I made some and it's not as good as Mom's but it's decent.  Also, it's a completely different colour.  Beginning to suspect she gave me a bogus recipe, claiming it's hers but really is trying to sabotage my efforts.  I wouldn't put it past her, she's crafty like that.

Butternut Squash Soup - this only made two jars and I suspect one of them didn't seal properly but one day this winter, we'll have some delicious soup made with squash we grew.  Totally bad ass, I know.

Salsa - the recipe of one of the ladies I work with.  She also joined a community garden this year and also is into preserving stuff.  She turned me on to an awesome book on preserves that turned into three books now sitting on the end table, waiting for me to go through and flag everything I want to try.  But back to the salsa - it was really easy to do, I will probably never buy jarred salsa again.  My salsa is definitely not spicy but I think it would be really easy to split the batch and make some that is more EDP's style and some that's more my style all in one go.

I did also make delicious peach jam for one of my other Things so in total, I did 400% more canning than I usually do.  And now that I'm in my gorgeous, big kitchen, I think I'll have a couple of canning days next year.  I definitely want to do a couple of different jams and I wouldn't mind doing some peaches or pears.  I'm sure a lot of people think canning stuff is old fashioned and why would you do it when you can buy that shit in a store but there's something really appealing to me about knowing what's in the jar and that I can pronounce everything in the recipe.

Moral of the story - I'm gonna can a bunch more stuff next year.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Learning to DIY

Owning a house means I no longer have a landlord to call to fix stuff.  EDP and I aren't the most useless people in the world when it comes to basic repairs but there's a lot we can't do.  So I signed up for a class on basic home repairs for women at Conestoga College.

What a freaking waste of money.  I couldn't even bring myself to finish the course up.  Let's go through a few of the items that made this a complete waste of time:
  • After one of the women cut herself on a handsaw (a minor, minor cut - barely more than a scratch), we were no longer allowed to use jigsaws
  • Not only were we not allowed to use the mitre saws but he wouldn't even explain how to use one
  • The "wall" we drywalled was about 2 square feet
  • Everything was in groups - which is so handy because when I do a basic home repair at home, of course I'll have three other women with me
  • The instructor either over-explained things or didn't explain things at all
There's more, I know there is but I'm getting annoyed just thinking about these few things.  I'm not sure I really learned anything at all.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sign up for every workshop Home Depot offers.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Meet Vera...

This is Vera, the turkey I cooked for Thanksgiving.  I named her after Vera on Downtown Abbey.  

Vera turned out pretty well for a first attempt.  It defrosted in the fridge for a reasonable amount of time.  I remembered to take out the stuff that comes inside the turkey.  And, the bonus of cooking the turkey yourself is that you can lord it over people and threaten them with not getting any of it if they don't behave.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Thing 89: Magnet Display

Whenever I travel, I like to buy magnets.  Usually from popular tourist sites.  And since we travel a fair bit, I'm really starting to accumulate quite the collection.  Currently, all the magnets live on the fridge.  But the fridge is starting to get a bit cluttered.  So it's time to figure out some other place to accumulate the magnets.  I would like to have them on display somewhere and I've got a couple of ideas in my head so hopefully, they'll have a new home soon.

How will I know I'm done?
The magnets I've accumulated from various travels will no longer be living on the fridge.

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.  

Hip to be Square

Come on, you know you know the lyrics...



Those guys have some really good moves, eh?  I bet they are have just come from exploring the square mile around the stage.  Maybe you should explore your square mile, too.  Cause I am..

Now that we've moved, I've started exploring our new neighbourhood, mostly in the form of walking the dog.  One of the best parts about our house is all the trails that are in the neighbourhood.  Penny loves them and I've been enjoying figuring them all out, too.  It's all part of exploring our square mile.

What's a square mile?  It's the mile radius around your house.  Basically, you find your house on a map, and calculate a mile in each direction from it.  Then you connect the points to make a square.  Most of our square mile is residential.  It also ends just before the nearest LCBO and local library, which is too bad because it would be nice to have a reason to hang out at those places more often.  Anyway, there isn't too much in the way of business in our square mile so most of the exploring will be on the trails and neighbourhood streets.

PS - I highly recommend that you go watch all of Huey Lewis & the News' singles on YouTube.  And then go watch Back to the Future.  You don't have plans for the day, right?

Thing 1's Book 9: the Shadow of the Wind

This book was recommended by Jenn, one of the super awesome people that EDP works with.  If you aren't familiar with this book, you need to run out and get it ASAP.  It was so good, I could hardly put it down.  It just had this magical quality about it.  It was one of those books that you close it at the end and look around you and are totally surprised that you are in your own house and not in the place that the book is set in.  

I love that this was the last book in Thing 1.  It was the perfect note to end on and is exactly why I added Thing 1 to my list to begin with.  While Jenn is awesome, her major flaws in life are that she has an English degree and she is a writer/editor for a living.  So I was worried that her pick would be like one of the books EDP buys me for my birthday or Christmas - something that is meant to "expand my horizons." So I really postponed picking this up because I was worried it would bore me to tears.  But it didn't.  It was just flat out fantastic and I never would have picked it up if it hadn't been recommended to me.

Anyway, when I finished it on October 14, 2012, I finished Thing 1 so I'm striking it off the list.

Warning, warning...

After major neglect, expect a slew of posts starting soon.  Very, very soon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gradumacated

Oh, look what I just discovered....

July 2012 Recap

Well, July wasn't a half-bad month!  I finished three Things - finding a go-to Thai place, making really good, authentic Alfredo from scratch and making jam from fruit I picked.  Oh. I've just noticed those are all food related.....

As for my ongoing Things...

  • I'm at 44 books on my TBR, so up one from last month but we picked more book club books this month
  • I've made some good progress on scanning my old school notes - I'm entirely done my PM certificate and my BA and am also done my arts classes from my BComm.  I'd say I'm about 1/3 of the way done.  Yes, the majority of my notes are from my BComm
  • Penny and I have walked 136.85 km
  • I've tried 43 new recipes
  • I've listened to 325 of the greatest songs ever
  • I finally read a couple of more chapters on how to use my Mac
  • I made zucchini relish, preserving the first of my three things
August probably won't be a good month - we're moving in two weeks so there is a lot of focus on packing now. Then there will be a lot of focus on painting. Then there will be a lot of focus on unpacking. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Go directly to jail. I mean Olive Tree Bistro

A couple of months ago, we got a flyer for a mediterranean place called Olive Tree Bistro that opened up around the corner from us (and within walking distance of our new house!) The flyer has been on the fridge, waiting for the urge for Greek food to strike but that didn't happen until yesterday. With packing for the move looming, I thought it would be best to procrastinate by going out for dinner so off we went. Turns out, the Olive Tree Bistro isn't really a sit-down place, it's more of a take-out or delivery place. So, we placed an order and waited until it was ready - I got the chicken souvlaki dinner and EDP got chicken shawarma.  

The souvlaki was excellent. The rice was delicious. The potatoes were awesome. The greek salad was fan-friggin-tastic. The food was better than the other mediterranean place around the other corner from us and it was so much cheaper. Hello, go-to Greek restaurant! There is one other Greek restaurant in Guelph that I wanted to try but it's pretty far away from us and this Olive Tree joint hit the nail right on the head so maybe we'll try it one day. But if I get a craving for Greek (and it's not the Greek food festival weekend - which has the best moussaka I've ever had), I'll be putting in an order at the Olive Tree.

And, now that I'm posting this, it's dawned on me that I decided on my go-to Thai place recently, too! We had tried a couple of places and each time, the first has still been my favourite. There was a place EDP wanted to try so I've refrained from declaring Sombat the Thai Guy the winner. But we made it to the other place and the pad thai there wasn't as good as at Sombat's. So Sombat the Thai Guy is now my go-to place for Thai. 

Now all that's left is a go-to Chinese food place!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Alfredo-ed

Remember that time I made delicious alfredo from scratch?  Oh, that's right - you weren't there.

A few weeks ago, I made my first attempt at a butter & cheese-only alfredo sauce. It was good - EDP loved it. But I wanted to try again. Tonight, I did. And it was great.

It's not the most nutritous meal in the world so I don't think it'll be a staple but I'll make it once in a while - maybe as a side dish? If you're interested in the proportions I used, I got them from this blog that claims to have the original recipe from Alfredo himself.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Totally jammed

Yup, I made jam. Peach jam. And I picked the peaches. "Pics or it didn't happen" you say? Totally happened.




Monday, July 2, 2012

June 2012 Recap

Another slow month...  Though, I'm marking 4 things as complete this month so maybe it wasn't as slow as I thought?

The biggest, most exciting thing is that EDP & I bought a house. It's a great house, we're really excited for August 17 to get here so that we can move in. And by move in, I mean clean the carpets and paint from top to bottom before moving in on August 25th.  The house is only about 5 years old, so it doesn't make sense to research the history of it so I'm now thinking about something to sub in for that. Not entirely sure what it will be.  Oh, and if you are thinking that because it's only 5 years old, there isn't a lot to do to it, you're nuts. I've got several lists started of all the things I want to do it. So I started another blog for that.

The other things I crossed off where a new Thing 9 - tripling my net worth - and Things 76 & 77, which were Private and Personal.

I don't think I made very good progress on my other in-progress things so I'm going to skip recapping them again this month and instead mention some of the tweaks I made that I mentioned I was planning in my May recap.

First, I scaled back on a couple of my Things - I changed some of my reading goals to be slightly lower because I felt I was focussing on them too much. And, I took a look at how some of my Things were in conflict - savings, debt repayment and travelling. Those are all require a lot of financial support and there are only so many dollars to go around. Because I don't want to be broke at the end of this, I've made things far more realistic. I'm pretty comfortable with my overall list now and in the end, I made adjustments to 7 things - one was a complete change and the rest were all minor tweaks.

So what's up for July? Well, going through my list has helped me remember some of the Things that are on my list that I completely forgot about! I'm going to try to knock a couple completely off the list and make some good progress on some of the Things that I had expected to spend all of my 1001 days working on.  Maybe I'll try to get caught up on my Wikipedia reading or rice donating (Ha! Yeah right...)

Volunteering

Last weekend, there was an LPGA golf tournament in the city I work in. This event had somewhere around 1200 volunteers to help it run smoothly. And I was one of them. I spent about 15 hours over the course of the lead-up and event on the Volunteer Services committee - I spent a couple of hours giving out volunteer packages and then I spent a full day in the volunteer headquarters checking people in and answering questions on the Pro-Am day that raised money for a local hospital. And then I ended things with a couple of hours on the volunteer appreciation day (but missed all the action because I wasn't scheduled to be in until well after all the fun stuff happened.) In all, it was an interesting experience. I'd volunteer again next year but I'd want to be out on the golf course because it was pretty isolated in headquarters. Oh, and I got a pretty snappy shirt out of the deal and was able to use my Community Spirit Day at work! All in all, a good experience.

New Thing 9: Triple my net worth

Paying down debt and saving and doing awesome stuff* are three goals that are in conflict. Don't even try to dispute it - if I'm paying down my debt, I can't be saving. If I'm saving, I can't be doing awesome stuff. And if I'm doing awesome stuff, I can't be paying down my debt. But, I can do a little bit of everything and in the end, my net worth should be higher than when I started. So, let's see if I can't triple my net worth from Day 1 to Day 1001. Doable? Should be!

How will I know I'm done? 
Well, my net worth will have tripled.  Lucky I have software to help me figure this out.

How am I doing?
So it turns out, while thinking about this, I should have actually checked what my net worth was when I started my 1001 days. Because I've already hit it sometime in April 2012 - turns out, the amount that comes off my paycheque into automatic savings makes a bigger difference than I thought so I have more than tripled my net worth already! 

*Awesome stuff is defined as travelling to exotic places.

Catching up on Thing 1's books - Book 7 and Book 8

So I've finished off a couple more books for Thing 1. But I've neglected to mention them! Book 7 was Danyal's recommendation of the Hunger Games and Book 8 was Savvy Reader's recommendation of the Family Fang.

Let's start with the Hunger Games. It was good, I liked it. But I'm not going to be rushing out to read the other two. I listened to an audio of this one and I find that the narrator can really make or break a book. This one, I went back and forth on - some of the voices she had for characters were really annoying but for the most part, she was pretty good. As far as the story goes - holy bizarre Batman! I'm somewhat concerned that this is such a huge hit when it's about pitting children against each other in a twisted battle to the death. But, in the end, it was a good book and it ended pretty much as I expected.

Now onto the Family Fang - also an audio and the narrator on this one was excellent. This was definitely one of the better books I've read this year - and I heard it's being turned into a movie so I'm looking forward to that. I can't really put my finger on what I liked so much because I wanted to punch the parents in the face for the majority of the book. But I like it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The diamond ring I bought for my 30th birthday is no longer my most expensive purchase this year

How can that possibly be, you ask? How is it humanly possible that I've made another massive purchase that cost more than the diamond ring I now purposely fiddle with to blind people?

Well, EDP & I bought a house.

I did say that this thing would be done when my name was on title for a house somewhere.  But, our offer is firm, our mortgage has been approved, and our lawyer is moving ahead with whatever lawyerly tasks he needs to do. And since I'm going to be broke-ass-broke on August 17th when we close, I'm marking this as done NOW so that I can afford to move $25 into my TFSA.

For those that are interested, our house is friggin' awesome. There's a window seat in the master bedroom, under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen, a built-in gas fire pit in the backyard, and a balcony off the super awesome finished attic.  And, despite the fact that it is, indeed, move-in ready, I've started a blog to document all of the adventures EDP and I have as first-time home owners. We did a walkthrough today and EDP took lots of photos so I'll be posting some of them over there sometime this week, if you want to see pics.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 2012 Recap

Another month come and gone...  I got 2 1/2 Things done this month but not much progress on my Things-in-progress.  I fully crossed off buying a diamond ring from Tiffany's for my 30th birthday and went to a drive in.  The half Thing I finished was graduating.  I handed in my intention to graduate form so my part in graduating is completely done, I just have to wait for everything to be processed.

As far as what's in progress, I didn't do a lot this month so I'm going to skip my regular bullet list of progress this time around.

I did spend a bit of time thinking about some of the things on my list and I think I'll be making some revisions soon.  I originally gave myself  5 "outs" to sub out a Thing at any time for something new but with more than a year behind me, I'm realizing that some of my Things are really in competition with each other - mostly cost-wise.  I have a couple of really expensive items on my list (getting out of debt, buying a house, $10,000 in a TFSA, and seeing all the provinces all pop into my mind.). I've already taken one Thing off my list, leaving me with only 4 more sub outs but I'm also going to give myself this one-time opportunity to overhaul my list. I know a lot of people don't finish their 101 Things but if I don't finish, I don't want it to be because I made my Things too hard to achieve. And when I made my list, I did try to make it completely achievable, which I thought I had done but with 575 days left, I think it's time to realize that putting a deadline on some of my Things wasn't the best idea.  So yeah, giving myself a one-time shot to revamp things a bit.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Went to a drive-in

I'm not really a big movie fan but there's something fun about a drive-in.  And yesterday, EDP decided he wanted to see a movie so I countered with the drive-in (which was showing the movie he wanted to see) and we hopped in the car with the dog and took off to the Mustang Drive-in.  We made it pretty much just in time and the place was packed!  We didn't get a great spot but that wasn't a big surprise given how late we showed up.  Penny settled down fairly quickly for a nap and EDP & I watched our movie.  The movie was okay but I'm not really sure I entirely followed it.  And for some reason, the car behind us kept turning it's lights on, which was pretty annoying.  

Anyway, in summary, I've prepared this pros & cons list about going to a drive-in. You'll see there are more pros than cons so maybe I'll go again.

Pros:
Pets are welcome
You can talk and no one gets mad
You control the volume
It's okay to take a blanket
No one steals your armrest
There are snacks involved

Cons: 
There's never an afternoon show
There are other people there

Monday, May 14, 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle Diamond Ring

So my fellow April babies will likely agree - having diamonds as your birthstone often sucks. A - they are expensive. B - most birthstone rings look like engagement rings. C - they are expensive. But also, they are lovely. I've wanted a ring with my birthstone for a long time. But given their tendency to look like engagement rings or wedding bands, I couldn't really expect anyone to get one for me. So a long time ago, I decided that I would buy myself a diamond ring. And just to make it extra spectacular, it would be from Tiffany & Co. A few years ago, I decided it would be my 30th birthday present to myself. And I just turned 30. And now, I have a diamond ring from Tiffany's. And it's fabulous. It's sparkly and shiny and perfect. And of course, since it's from Tiffany's, the only C I had to compromise on to stay in my budget was carat.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 2012 Recap

Yay for April!  This month, I got two Things done - I finished taking a picture of something that made me happy every day for a month and I joined a community garden.  I also made really good progress on graduating - I could probably cross it off the list now but I'm waiting for the official "recommended to graduate" note to appear on my transcript.

Other things I made progress on:



So what's up for May?  The most exciting thing will be going to Tiffany's to buy my ring for my 30th birthday.  This is definitely going to be one of the high points of my 101 Things so I'm pretty excited.  Beyond that, I'm going to probably go through my list and make sure everything still makes sense because I'm now over a year into this project.  I need to also get back on track with making progress on some of my ongoing things.  We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 days, 30 photos

Back in early March, I started my 30 happy photos Thing and I finished up a few weeks ago.  I tweeted the photos as I took them and now, I have 30 photos of awesome stuff like cupcakes and my rubber boots and my open sunroof and taking a walk with EDP & Penny.  I've posted all the photos, if you want to see them.  

I did find that it was easy to find something that made me happy every day.  But a lot of the time, it was something that I couldn't take a photo of - like the smell of the house after someone's been in the kitchen all day or how the first warm day of spring feels.  But, at the end of the month, I did have all my photos so this Thing is done.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thing 1's Book 2: Survivor

This book was awful.  Sorry Steve.

Community chest? Nope - community garden!

Yay!  I joined a community garden!  Yay!

I was really excited to put this on my list but worried it would have to come off.  I had started thinking about joining a community garden when I lived in Waterloo and found a website that had dozens and dozens listed.  Then we moved to Guelph and I thought it would be easy to find one here because Guelph is big on agriculture.  But that was not the case.  The city did start a pilot in 2010 but it doesn't seem like it's really taken off.  There are only about 6 in the city right now and only one is even remotely close to us. 

But I found out a couple of weeks ago that there was a plot for me there!  My plot is A3 and it's 4 feet wide by 16 feet long.  Last weekend, I paid my fee and helped to get the garden ready for the spring.  I still have to do some work on my plot but hopefully, I'll get out soon to do that.  And in a few weeks, I can start planting.  Yay!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So long read-a-thon

The read-a-thon is now done.  I didn't even come close to being up for the full 24 hours but I hadn't planned on that so I'm not overly disappointed.

In the end, I ended up reading for 9 hours and 25 minutes and listening for just under 3.  I finished two books (A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle and Days of Reading by Marcel Proust.)  I made great progress on my current non-fiction read (Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter) getting from page 20 to page 87.  I also read half of a murder mystery called Shot Through Velvet by Ellen Byerrum.  Oh, and my audio is Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.

And now, before I head back to the sofa to read (what?  I'm sick and I'm enjoying the murder mystery!)  here is the end of event meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
None, really - I didn't push myself to stay awake.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
No, because this is such a personal interest thing.  Though, I'm rather enjoying Shot Through Velvet - good for anyone who likes a light mystery.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Honestly, I wasn't that tuned in this time around.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Again, I wasn't that tuned in.

5. How many books did you read?
See above.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
See above.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
The one I'm still working on - Shot Through Velvet by Ellen Byerrum

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.  If it wasn't a book for my 1001 Things in 101 Days project, I'd scrap it.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
N/A

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Yeah, I'm likely to participate again.  If I had the whole day, I'd read.  I think next time, I'd like to be a cheerleader, too.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Read-a-thon check-in

Well, it's been almost 8 hours and I haven't checked in yet so I figure now is a good time.  I've had a very relaxing morning/afternoon on the sofa.  I started my day by finishing A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle and then read a bit of Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter before switching over to an audio of Chuck Palahniuk's Survivor and then started a printed version of Marcel Proust's Days of Reading.  So far, I've spent a total of just under 3 1/2 hours reading and 2 hours of listening.  I've also had a fantastic nap.

I figure it's also time to do a mini-challenge so I'm doing the book staging challenge from Midnight Book Girl.  Happily, my book title seems pretty easy to stage - my current read is Days of Reading so I've propped it up with my book lover's calendar and a couple of books.

And I'm off...

The hour is upon us. And it's time for introductory questions!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I haven't made a stack.  I'm free-styling all day.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
With being sick and on a soft food diet (due to jaw surgery two months ago), I have no snacks planned.  Man, I'm really doing this by the seat of my pants...

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
By day, I'm work at an insurance company on the investments side of things.  By night, I'm a dog-owner, a drums-learner and a book-reader.  Oh, and I just completed my second degree!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
The last readathon was my first and I stayed up all 24 hours.  This time, I'm really just using this 24 hour period to read as much as possible.  I won't be checking the blog or mini-challenges every hour but rather when I feel like it and I'll be napping/sleeping, as well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Read-a-thon Part Deux

Remember last October when I did that 24 hour read-a-thon and actually stayed up for the full 24 hours and annoyed you with my horribly un-entertaining hourly posts?  Yeah, I'm doing that again tomorrow.

I've re-read my round-up post from October and it's right in line with what I plan on doing this time.  I'm not going to push myself to stay up for the whole 24 hours - especially since I'm sick.  And I'm going to focus more on my reading and less on what's going on around me.  I'll keep my eye things but mostly what I'll be trying to accomplish is to have a 24-hour period focused on reading.  I'm not planning out what I'm going to read like I did last time (which is what most people do) but rather, I'm going to just pick up whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it.  Again, since I'm sick, I think this is a good approach.

 So I'm heading off to a restful, rejuvenating & relaxing sleep.  See you at 8 for check-in.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 2012 Recap

In like a lion and out like a lamb REALLY describes how my March was.  This month has been a busy one but it's now died down and I'm sooooo happy for that.  The biggest thing keeping me busy was school work on top of regular work.  It's a busy time of year for me at work and the last month of the term is always nutty.  I had an assignment, a test, a paper and a mini-lecture - which doesn't sound like a lot but that's only two classes.  But, Thursday was my last day of classes and I handed in my paper on Friday and now I'm just waiting for my exam and then I'm DONE.

Despite all this busyness, I finished off two things - I started backing everything up on my Mac and I went  restaurant-free for 30 days.  Backing everything up on the Mac was super easy and Time Machine is the absolute coolest thing ever.   Not eating out was also fairly easy due to my soft food diet.

I did also make some decent progress on some of my other things:

  • I finished Smash & the Code of the Woosters from my list of 12 book recommendations.  
  • I got my handwritten letters off really early this month.
  • Drum lessons continue and are still super awesome.  I'm looking forward to having more practice time now that classes are done.
  • Debt is going down and in entirely NEW news, my TFSA is going up.  It's still not at the level it was when I transferred it out of my GSOP but at least it's going in the right direction.
  • I've been a rockstar with getting my notes scanned.  All of my notes from my Project Management certificate are done and I'm about halfway through my BA.  Of course, the notes from my BComm make up the vast majority of the notes but still, it's good progress.  
  • Penny and I have walked 126.5km so far.
  • My TBR is at 47 books which is two books less than I started with last April.
  • I've listened to 272 of the Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs.
  • I've been taking pictures of things that make me happy and tweeting them with the hashtag #amonthofhappy.
  • I've donated 58,000 grains of rice
  • I'm almost ready to strike graduating off my list but am going to hold off until my transcript says I've graduated.  

I'm at 21 Things finished now, which I'm pretty happy with but I'll need to pull up my socks for April but I'll have a lot more time, especially after April 14.

Monday, March 26, 2012

30 restaurant-free days

So my restaurant-free month is over.

In some respects, this was easier while in healing mode.  I don't know of any restaurants that specialize in food you don't need teeth for so if I wanted to eat, it had to be from the fridge at home.  But in others, it was harder.  On those days that I wasn't feeling any of the soft food in the fridge, I couldn't just grab a bowl of soup from the caf at work.  It also sucked for my school nights because I had to make sure I had enough snacks to carry me until I got home and I'm finding that soft food isn't as filling as chewy food.

I'm still not sure if I'm ready to jump into meals in restaurants but at least I can resume my daily routine of stopping at Dairy Queen on my way home.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thing 1's Book 1: The Code of the Woosters

By far and away the best of the books I've read so far for Thing 1.  Wodehouse has always been on the back of my radar as someone to try but I've never gotten around to it until Ellen recommended it.  And I loved it.  It was absolutely hilarious.  The rest of the books are going on my wish list, for sure. And, it turns out, they made a TV show out of it in the early 90's in Britain.  And I do enjoy British comedy so that's going on my to-watch list (which currently consists only of this show.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thing 1's Book 5 : Smashed

Zoren Zailckas' Smashed is the story of a young woman's relationship with alcohol.  She says very early on in the book that she's not an alcoholic but only that she abuses alcohol. For about the first half of the book, I was sympathetic of her issues - she was clearly drinking to fit in and make friends and I felt bad for her. However, her drinking started to move past fitting in to being horribly destructive and the complete focus of her existence. At one point, her mother visits her during the summer and she's not only so hungover that she can't go for a walk with her mother without being sick every couple of blocks but she had even called her mother before she left and warned her that she'd be hungover. I don't see how this wasn't a red flag for the mother. Or, how this girl was still so irresponsible in her early twenties that she'd go out and get completely hammered the night before her mother visits her.

All that aside, she's writing the book in her post-college years having given up drinking entirely. By the end, I completely lost all sympathy for her and thought she was a bit of a spoiled, self-centred, melodramatic brat. Part of the problem was probably that she had only recently quit drinking when she wrote the book so she was a bit holier-than-thou and preachy about everything. If she had waited a few more years before writing the book, I think it would have been completely different. She had no other life experiences to give her any perspective and it showed. And I don't want to dispute that she had a problem with alcohol, because I think she did, but she seems to have forgotten that drinking is a huge part of the college experience.  I think some of the escapades were supposed to shock the reader but really just sounded like the average college experience.

Anyway, I did like the writing and I would pick up another book by Zailckas but only if drinking had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A month of happy

Yesterday, I was at work and it was casual day and I had a red velvet cupcake in front of me and I had my iPod going and it dawned on me that in that moment, I was blissfully happy. Not that I'm normally unhappy at work - I don't want to claim my job is perfect because it's not but I'd be willing to bet a good chunk of money that I'm happier than the average person with their job.  However, throw a cupcake in there and I'm just off the charts. They could probably pay me in cupcakes and I'd give them top marks on our annual employee survey.

Anyway, it seemed as good a time as any to start my month of taking a photo every day of something that makes me happy. The photos won't be great quality because I'm going to be snapping them with my phone & tweeting them with the hashtag #amonthofhappy.  

Oh, and something else I'm underway with...  Not eating out for a month.  This has somewhat been forced on me with the jaw surgery since there is so little that I can actually eat right now but it still totally counts.  Surgery was on Feb 24 so I'm considering March 25 the last day of the restaurant-free month. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's not a hot tub

It's just a regular ol' Western Digital hard drive.  But it's my new Time Machine! Woo hoo!

I have gotten off my butt and got an external hard drive. Though, if we're being honest with each other, I ordered it online so I didn't get off my butt at all. Well, I guess I did for a short minute when I got into the car to go pick it up from Purolator. But look, that's really not the point. The point is - I have Time Machine set up and it's run once so I officially am now a backer-upper of my files. Yay!

FYI - to those I'm trying to convince to get a Mac (i.e. everyone who doesn't already have a Mac), it was just as easy to set up Time Machine as it was to set up the Mac. Plugged it in, it automatically opened and was all "You wanna make this your back up drive?" and I was all "You know it!" and it was all "Sweet, we're good. Go have some chocolate." And since I always follow instructions, I did.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 2012 Recap

Considering February is a short month, I did better this month than I have in a while!  To be fair, it was mostly because of my jaw surgery this past week but I'm not really going to complain.

I got three things crossed off the list this month.  I spent three days in my pyjamas, which was awesome. I finally finished getting rid of 101 things - and even got everything out of the house. And, I turned my handwriting into a font. Not bad progress for the month but I need to pick my socks up if I'm going to finish in time.

I did make some progress, as usual, on my ongoing things:

  • My handwritten letter is going in the mail today - along with my January ones, which I found STILL languishing in the house when I tidied yesterday.  Oh, the SHAME!
  • My drum lessons are going well, though, with school work, I haven't had as much time to practice as I'd like.
  • The debt is trending downwards and I think the TFSA might actually be up a little from last month. 
  • I started scanning my old school notes and have three classes done so far.   
  • Penny and I have walked 124.36 km together, outside of our regular walks.   
  • My TBR pile has 48 books on it.
  • I'm at 28 new recipes.
  • I've listened to 194 of the top 500 songs, according to Rolling Stone.
  • I've donated 47,400 grains of rice.
  • We tried a new Greek restaurant and a new Thai restaurant.  The Greek place is in the running but the Thai place is not. 
  • I saw my Gran just before going to the hospital for my jaw surgery.
  • I read a chapter in my book on how to use the Mac (and it was super informative, I need to get cracking on this book!)
  • The exercise schedule is temporarily on hold - I have to be pretty careful with my jaw for the next three months so the dog park is out for a while.
  • I have FIVE weeks of class plus one exam left until I can graduate.  
  • I got to move $75 into my 101 Things TFSA for my Thing of saving $25 for each Thing done.

March is probably going to be my month of not eating out. Chewing is a challenge right now so this one is going to pretty much finish itself.  It might also be when I tackle getting an academic letter of reference. I'm not sure what else - I think I need to sit down and make some really good progress on some of my things that are already underway, that list of stuff in progress is pretty long.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Are you sick of me yet?

Third post in two days... But I've knocked another Thing off my list and am starting to tackle another one so I had to check in, right?

What's finished, you ask? And why am I posting for the third time in 24 hours? These two things are related so let me just fill you in on what's been going on lately and it'll make sense.

For the last I don't even know how long, I've had a problem with my jaw. It started innocently enough - it would crack once in a while when I opened it. Then it started cracking every time I opened it. Then it started cracking so loud that other people were commenting on it. Including my dentist, who referred me to a surgeon for a consult. The surgeon explained that my bone was on the wrong side of some bow tie joint and the popping was it sliding back into place. He fit me for a splint and sent me on my way saying that something like 80% of this kind of thing is resolved with the splint. Well, the splint didn't work. So last Friday, I had an arthroscopy to put the bone back where it belongs. Now, I'm left with a very sore jaw, two tiny incisions, no stitches, and soft food for three months. And quite frankly, I'm STARVING - soup and applesauce and pudding and ice cream does not fill me up enough. Anyway. This whole surgery thing has been an excellent reason to stay in my pyjamas for the last three days. EDP was in charge of walking Penny from when we got home on Friday until last night so I didn't even have to get out of my pyjamas for two full days! And today has been my third day in pyjamas. Which makes Thing 27 done.


My BComm & My BA
My PM Certificate
Honestly, I was hoping for a far more lazy reason to enflanneled for three days. Not that I haven't been lazy the last few days but it was somewhat forced on me. Saturday and Sunday were super lazy days but then today, I decided it was time that I should start getting all my notes from school scanned if I want to have a hope of getting them done before my 1001 days is up.  So I spent some time emptying out the boxes in the closet and started a bit of scanning. I only got two classes done today - and as you can tell, I have a lot to still go. But it's awesome to know that the piles are going to be shrinking and out of the house soon!


My handwriting is a font. Is yours?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

There are tonnes of services online that allow you to turn your handwriting into a font.  The service I used offers packages ranging from $7.85 to $158.58.  I picked the $7.85 service.  For that low, low price, I got to upload a template I filled in with my printed letters of the alphabet and a signature which spit out a font in under a minute. As you go up in price, the quality goes up - you can have your cursive writing turned into a font but it's not nearly as cheap as getting your printing done and it's not an automated process. Anyway, I didn't see much of a point in getting any of the fancy services because I'm going to be the only person with this font so no one else is ever going to see it!

And given that fact, I spent way too long filling out the template. I did it a couple of times before I was sorta happy. Then I printed out another one and filled in just the letters I was still unhappy with and cut and paste them onto the template I was going to scan. And when I say cut and paste, I don't mean using keyboard shortcuts. I mean using scissors and glue.

Then it was a quick upload into the system, wait for a minute, approve my preview, pay my $7.85 and get my file. And now I can write letters to people in my very own handwriting, something I could never do before! Oh, technology, how you enhance my existence.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Goodbye clutter...

I think I started tossing my 101 things almost as soon as I put it on my list. Today, I tossed my 101st thing. I still have some stuff I want to go through and get rid of but I won't worry about keeping track of it. I wasn't even very good about keeping track of the stuff I have been tossing - I'd forget to mark my ticks down or I'd only mark 1 tick down when I tossed a couple of things. It didn't seem right to get rid of half a dozen pairs of socks and count that as six different things. So I'm definitely past 101 things.  But the ticks have finally reach 101 so now it's time to transfer the $25 into my account for finishing this one off.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January 2012 Recap

I'm sorry, January is OVER already?  I'm not really sure I even remember it starting.  Man, time flies when you are really busy...

Well, I only got one thing done this month - and it was one of my easier Things.  It was putting together a completely realistic exercise schedule.  I did that way back at the beginning of the month and I've done slightly better than I expected at sticking to it but I'm no where near my 30 days.

What hindered my progress this month? First off, I'm back in class again this term. I've been off the last two terms (due to the lack of courses that I hadn't taken) but I'm in TWO night classes this term.  TWO.  Wednesday nights is my Theories of Knowledge course which I'm finding absolutely FASCINATING.  Great prof, interesting material, intelligent and non-annoying classmates.  Thursday nights is Probability and Decision Making which I'm finding absolutely TEDIOUS.  The prof is funny and is keeping things interesting but it's game theory and I'm kind of sick to death of game theory. This has got to be the fourth or fifth time I've studied it.  Yawn. Add to that one SUPER annoying person that doesn't seem to think the basic rule of raising your hand to speak applies (WHO POPS BUBBLE WRAP IN CLASS WHILE THE PROF IS SPEAKING?!) and I'm not overly thrilled with the class.  But...  I can be completely, totally done at the end of this term, if I want to be - which would greatly help with that whole new graduating Thing I added to my list.

Aside from that, I've had some other stuff going on this month that has kept me fairly pre-occupied.  It pertains to one of my Things that I haven't divulged and I'm not quite ready to cross it off the list but it should come off in February.

I made a tiny bit of progress on some of my other Things, as well, which is nice...

  • My handwritten letters for January are still languishing in the house, not yet mailed.  I vow to get them in the mailbox by tomorrow morning because they should have gone out a little while ago.  
  • Drums lessons are still awesome and I'm coming close-ish to being able to play along with a song.  
  • I had tuition due this month so the debt didn't really go anywhere but my company's stock is slowly starting to climb back up so my TFSA may be on the road to recovery but is still no where near the $3,400 I transferred over last year. 
  • Penny and I are up to 115.36 km walked.
  • My TBR is at 47 books (and my 2012 50 Book Pledge is at 5 books already!)
  • The list of new recipes is at 22 (Bourbon Chocolate Mousse is delicious...)
  • We've engaged Tracey, our awesome realtor, to help us look for a house to buy.
  • I've listened to 189 of Rolling Stone's Top 500 Songs
  • I've donated 40,370 grains of rice
  • I've officially rid myself of 68 things and I'm determined to reach 100 this month.
  • My 101 Things savings account is on track!

I think that's pretty much it. I don't expect to get much finished in February - I do need to focus on those classes because if they go poorly, graduating gets put off for at least another term!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blog, blog, blog

Today, I was accused of not blogging enough by someone who hasn't blogged at all this year (*cough* Katy *cough*) So now I'm posting for no good reason at all, so I apologize to anyone else reading this (hi Mom!) because it's gonna be boring. To be fair, though, I don't have a tonne of time to blog I'm stupid busy with work and drum lessons and finishing up my last two courses and trying to be healthy.

EDP is currently away snowboarding in Austria with the same fellow we met up with in Vienna in the fall.  So far, it would appear that he is still in one piece. Which is good, because as I pointed out to EDP, he's worth way more alive to me than dead. And I don't mean that in a sentimental, lovey-dovey way. I mean in a purely monetary way. I'm not the beneficiary on ANYTHING at all and he pays the rent around here. I had hoped to use this as an opportunity to finish off getting rid of 101 things.  As of right now, I'm at 68 things. Earlier today, I was around 60, I think? I'm actually way past 101 already but I tend to forget to mark down my ticks or I count a whole bunch of stuff as only one or two things. I purged and organized our second floor a few weeks ago but I've lacked the energy/motivation to do the other floors. But, we could move RIGHT NOW and I'd pack and take every single thing on our second floor. Which is pretty good, if you ask me.

Speaking of moving, we've started a semi-serious search for a house. Yesterday, Tracey (our realtor) took me on a grand tour of a bunch of places that are currently on the market. And I definitely fell in love with one. It's a century home, which is what EDP and I both long for. Sadly, it got an offer late last week so it's probably not going to work out for us. Though, the offer is conditional on sale of property so it could still fall through. So that kept me pretty busy yesterday.

And then, today, I've been a cleaning MACHINE. I did the entire house, tossing a few more things here and there and blaring a bunch of Rolling Stone's Top 500 songs. I'm listening to Bohemian Rhapsody (#163) right now.

Oh, and for all you nosy Parkers (this post is currently the third most popular on my blog), I'm embarking on one of Things I haven't divulged this week.  I guess I technically started it last week but the real work starts this week. Though, if you're my Mom, Amy or EDP, you know what it is.

And now, it's off to Shoppers where they have toilet paper for half price. EDP can't stop me buying half a dozen packages when he's in Austria!!!

P.S. Bohemian Rhapsody is now over and I've moved on to Folsom Prison Blues but it appears to be some kind of dance remix.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

How goes sticking to that completely realistic exercise schedule, you ask?

Not good, let me tell you.

Now look - I knew that I wouldn't make the schedule and then follow it to the T for the next thirty days.  I knew it would take a while.  So stop giving me that judgy look.

I made it to approximately Day 3 before falling off the wagon.  A few days later, I got back on and promptly fell off again the very next day and I've remained off since then.  Let's recap, shall we?

I made my schedule on a Thursday.  Thursday, all I have to do is take Penny to the dog park (because I have class on Thursday nights so I'm not home for her evening walk.)  I managed that without a problem. Friday is my "crash and burn day" because Wednesdays and Thursdays are so long and busy for me so the only thing on Friday is a half hour walk with the dog.  I managed that no problem.  Saturday is TAC at the gym in the morning and then a half hour walk with Penny at night.  I managed both of those things. Sunday is where it fell apart.  I could barely move.  So while I did get Penny to the dog park and for her half hour walk in the evening, between EDP's knee (he hurt it a while ago and is undergoing some physio on it) and my complete and utter failure of basic muscle control, we didn't play squash.  I was going to give myself a free pass on that one if I made it to hot yoga on Monday but I didn't (though I think Penny got her half hour walk.)  Tuesday is another light day - just a half hour walk with Penny but I'm pretty sure that didn't happen - maybe EDP took her or maybe I didn't make it the whole half hour?  I can't remember.  Wednesday came around and the plan was a yoga class at 6:15 am at the gym but that didn't happen.  I can't remember about Penny's half hour walk, either.  But Thursday, I did get up and did the 6:15 yoga class that I plan to get to when I don't make it on Wednesday.  But I didn't get Penny to the dog park - it was miserable out.  I figured I could give myself a pass for that one too but then last night came and it was four hundreds kind of miserable so the walk was certainly not a half hour.  And today, I didn't go to TAC.  So I'm definitely back to Day 0 of sticking to my schedule.  In theory, tomorrow is the dog park and a squash game with EDP.  I'm optimistic both will happen.

HEY!  Don't laugh - it's rude and I can hear you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who's stupid idea was being healthy?

Earlier this week, I made a completely realistic exercise schedule.  Thursday, January 5 was my first official day of sticking to it.  Today is my third day and I don't think I'll need to worry about sticking to it for a month because I'm pretty sure it's going to kill me first.

There's this class at the gym called TAC Physique. The description on the website is "TAC Physique is a muscle conditioning based class that was created by 2 professional ballet dancers on how they train to stay in shape, it is a full body workout with emphasis on your butt (it will be burning)!" I don't like using free weights or the machines at the gym so this is what was suggested for my strength component. I added it to my schedule as a weekly thing and today was my first attempt.

Honestly, I thought I was going to collapse. Now that I'm home, I feel like jello. My knees keep buckling under me as I walk. I'm not sure I can get my arms over my head to take my t-shirt off. I've put some Baileys in my coffee in hopes it dulls the screaming in my muscles. I can't even remember all the stuff that we had to do but I remember weights and balancing on my toes a lot.

To stick with my exercise schedule for a month means four more of these classes. Scientifically speaking, there is a 75% chance of my knees literally collapsing under me, leaving me in a puddle on the ground sometime over the next four classes. Since I'm clearly a weak, weak little girl, if I collapse there is a 57% chance of me never getting up again. So, as you can see - I'm mostly likely to die before the end of my month. But we'll see how it goes.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm such a cliché...

It's the new year.  And what's the first thing I decide to do? Make my realistic exercise schedule. Just like 90% of the rest of the world...

However, tackling this now is actually a really good idea, though, there is a possibility it's the worst idea I've ever had. I'm back in class this term - two nights a week. This means I'm not home until 10:30 twice a week and I've got school work to do on top of my drum lessons/practice. Making a schedule (and following through with it) is likely the only way I'll ever get my ass to the gym in the next twelve weeks. But I'm stupidly busy for the next twelve weeks so is it realistic to think I've got time for this? I guess time will tell.

Anyway.  I've made a schedule. It's for a week. It's in an Excel doc. It includes more than just exercise - it also includes three and a half hours of drum practice, one hour for my drum lesson, six hours for class, seven hours of school work, and both mine and Penny's exercise.  Penny's exercise is in the form of a minimum of a half hour walk every day. The exception is Thursday when I'm going to try to get her to the dog park in lieu of the 30 minute walk in. She's also getting scheduled for a trip to the dog park at least once a weekend. I do worry about her getting overweight so based on some research I tried to do, this should keep her in line. For me, I've got four trips to the gym - one for hot yoga, one for regular yoga, one for something called TAC, and one for a game of squash. The yoga is for flexibility and a bit of strength building, the TAC is for strength and muscle conditioning and the squash is for cardio. Balancing these and making them a regular part of my routine was the goal for this Thing so I'm considering this done.

Now it's time to stick to it for a month.  Wish me luck.  Or harass me via Twitter.  Both are welcome.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Thing 90: Graduate

Before you get all concerned for my ability to succeed in life, don't worry.  I'm not talking about high school.  Or even university.  Well, wait, I am talking about university.  But for the second time, not the first.  I got my OSSD and my BCom (Hons) in the normal, traditional way.  You know - by skipping class to do other more interesting things and then pulling all nighters to finish projects and cram for exams.  But then I finished school.  And I missed it.  So I started another degree at University of Waterloo.  And that's the one I plan on finishing.

Originally, I had not planned on putting graduating on my list because I wasn't sure if it was feasible to finish by the end of 2013.  I started a BA in Liberal Studies a few years ago because I like learning.  Then I switched into Philosophy because I really enjoyed the PHIL courses I took.  And then, I realized that I really do want to get my masters in library sciences.  So I switched into the honours program so that I could earn an academic honours degree (and partly because when I saw my advisor, she asked why the heck I wasn't in the honours program yet and practically started writing my application for the UW Masters of Philosophy program.)  My BCom isn't considered academic - it's a professional degree - and the Canadian schools that offer library sciences don't believe I have the necessary research skills to be successfully in their programs.  So I settled in for a long haul to get my BAH.  While I did that, I got distracted and got a certificate in Project Management which has delayed my progress a bit.  However, I'm now at the point that I've taken all the online courses I can and I've pretty much met all the requirements except for the three 400 level courses and the overall number of PHIL courses I need.  I'm also very quickly running out of night classes.  And 400 level courses are only ever offered during the day.  Add all this together, and you get a flashing neon sign that says "You're going to need to go back for a full-time term!!"

Is that ever going to happen?  Unlikely.  So it was time to think creatively.  And now I have.  The United States of America.  South of the border, there are at least a dozen schools that offer a completely online masters program.  Several of them are very good schools.  And the best part - you don't need an honours degree.  You don't even need an academic degree.  You just need a degree.  Add all THIS together and you get a new neon sign that says "You might be a moron if you continue the honours degree.  Settle for a three- or four-year general and get the hell out of Dodge..."  And when I sit and check degree requirements, not only can I accomplish this by the end of my 1001 days but I *might* be a 2012 graduate.

How will I know I'm done?
Another framed degree on my wall.

How am I doing?
Degree conferred on October 20, 2012 but confirmation of it obtained August 6, 2012, read about it here.

December 31 2011 Recap

Oh, December... Where did you go?! I wasn't planning on getting a lot accomplished this month but I feel like I made pretty much ZERO progress on most of my things. I didn't do anything to actively finish my of my Things, but my orchid did make it to the six month mark so that got crossed of the list. As far as the things that I've got in progress...
  • My handwritten letter went in the form of Christmas cards. I think we sent about 30 so that's good enough for me.
  • Drum lessons kept going and I feel like I'm making some good progress. I got a music stand for Christmas so I'm no longer taping my exercises to the drums so I will obviously be able to make fantastic progress now.
  • I  apparently forgot to log any extra walks Penny & I took so our official number of kms walked remains unchanged from November.
  • I ended December (and 2011) with only 48 books on my TBR pile.  It's up slightly from November but I got a few books for Christmas so that's somewhat expected.
  • I made an easy chicken noodle soup yesterday, taking my new recipes total up to 18. 
  • I've listened to 100 of the Rolling Stone's Greatest 500 Songs.
  • I have no recollection of this but I donated a bit of rice this month, bringing my total up to 31,190 grains donated.  
  • We ordered Chinese food a few days ago from a place we had tried before that seemed promising.  We added lo mein to our order and it was awful so I'm officially striking that place from the short list.  
  • The best progress I made this month was on getting rid of 101 things.  The official count is now at 41 but I've been pretty bad at remembering to add a tick to the post-it when something gets tossed. 
And finally, I've decided to make my first substitution of one of my Things. I really wanted to sit my Grade 8 RCM piano exam by the end of my 1001 days but I've decided that I don't think I'll be able to make the time to do this properly. I'm really rusty on my theory and I don't think I could get up to the point I need to be without at least a year of intensive preparation. I don't have 2 hours a day now to devote to it and I don't see things drastically changing in the next two years so I'm officially taking this off the list. What will I replace it with? Graduating. This is something that initially been on my list but I took it off for some really good reasons. But as expected, things have changed and I'm confident I'll be able to get this done before the end of December 2013.  Wanna read more about this one?  Go for it.

Anyway. That's December. In January, I hope to knock a couple of things off the list. If all goes well, 101 things will have been purged from the house and I think it's time to really buckle down and get through that book on learning how to use the Mac. Aside from that, I don't have anything 

Thing 54: Play squash at least once a week for 6 months

A few years ago, EDP took me to play squash for the first time.  Surprisingly, I liked it.  We've played since, though we're really inconsistent about going.  It's a great workout, though, so I want to play more regularly. Like, maybe once a week?

How will I know I'm done?
I'll have an entry of "Squash" each week in my calendar for six months. The once a week thing won't be super strict - this is more about creating a habit to play regularly.  But I'll be able to look back at the previous six months and say "Hey, yeah, we played about once a week!"

How am I doing?
So far, no progress.