100 Things, 2017: March Update

19/100 – Thing 21 – laugh genuinely and hysterically, 3/7/17
Charlotte was being so funny, I could not stop laughing. Of course now I can’t remember what exactly it was about but at the time I did think, “ooh! I can cross this off my list!”

20/100 – Thing 79 – read the Lauren Oliver Delirium trilogy, finished 3/10/17
I believe I started in January, and finished March 10. I actually read all 5 accompanying short stories that Oliver wrote as well. I enjoyed these books, but not as much as the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. I was satisfied with the way the series ended, even though a lot of people don’t like how it’s left open in many ways. I think there’s enough conclusion there.

21/100 – Thing 87 – bake apple pie with Charlotte, 3/14/17
We baked an apple pie for Pi Day!

22/100 – Thing 32 – celebrate Pink and Black Day, 3/25/17
This is a holiday I created in college. It’s really easy to celebrate, you just have to wear pink and black. Silver has been an unofficial color of the day as well right from the start. I don’t usually remember Pink and Black Day until after it’s past, so I am proud of myself for remembering this year. I even made chocolate chop brownies to help celebrate!

23/100 – Thing 68 – create art with Charlotte, 3/26/17
We finger painted together. I made a butterfly, which she painted over a little. We also learned about making secondary colors by mixing primary colors together.

24/100 – Thing 10 – watch “Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders”, 3/27/17
I watched this video on the train in the morning. It was interesting because of course I want there to be more women leaders in the world, in business and in society, but I don’t want to be one of them. So maybe I’m exactly who she’s talking about, women who don’t have aspirations to be tops in the field. But regardless of what I want for myself, I want to teach my daughter that she can aim for the highest position in whatever she chooses to do with her life. So I’ll probably rewatch this one.

Other Things I’ve started: Writing a blog post every month (Thing 97). Do Morning Pages for 60 straight days (Thing 14) – I started March 7, so if I do sixty straight days then my last day will be May 5. I have a couple days where I started but didn’t finish, but I’m counting it as long as I didn’t completely skip the day, regardless of if it was written in the morning or later in the day. Read Jane Eyre (Thing 77) – I started listening to the free librivox recording read by Elizabeth Klett. Take Charlotte to a Renegades game (Thing 50) – I bought us tickets to the Princess Party game.

Things Done Each Month:
January – 8
February – 10
March – 6

If you click on the progress bar in the right side of the page, you can see the complete updated list, even before my monthly update posts at the end of the month.

untitled damsel/knight flash fiction

I’m reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (a-MA-zing book!) and the main character writes fanfic, and reading about writing inspires me to want to write more myself. So this is something I wrote longhand before bed the other night. I doubt I’ll turn it into anything, so I figured I might as well post it here. Unedited, so you’ve been warned.

Side note: I actually did have a professor in college named Dr. Mitchell, and he was a total sweetheart and completely open to creativity when it came to the assignments he gave (I submitted papers in the form of a poem, a short story, and a play, because as a Senior English major I was tired of writing straight papers). So I don’t know why his name came to mind when I was writing this, but I’m leaving it there anyway. Apologies, Charlie. You’re not a chauvinist, nor did you ever, I’m fairly certain, have a pet dinosaur.

They’re wrong, you know? The fairy tales, I mean. You know the ones I’m talking about, where the damsel in distress is rescued by the knight in shining armor. That’s a load of bullshit they tell you in kindergarten that leads girls to grow up believing that:

  1. they need to be rescued because they can’t get out of trouble themselves;
  2. they’re dumb or careless, which is why they’re in trouble to begin with; and
  3. when this alleged knight comes to rescue them, the knight’s armor will still be shiny, like defeating the dragon or witch or whoever didn’t even make him break a sweat. No mud on these tires, no matter how much dirt was between him and this stupid damsel.

And then, what’s so great about it? Why would the knight want to be with a damsel who let herself be carried off by a dragon to a tower with no hope of escape? Why does the dragon keep her locked up? If he’s got such a taste for damsel, why doesn’t he just eat her? Why does the damsel just fucking sit there, waiting to be rescued? What does she see in the knight, anyway? Isn’t she afraid that when the next pretty girl gets tied to the train tracks, he’ll be off to rescue her because his life is so monotonous now that he craves that sense of adventure that he’s lost since he settled down with the first damsel? Or is he just so conceited that he actually took the time to clean his armor after he defeated the dragon just to impress her, like that’s what she really cares about? Fucking asshole.

So you can see why I was less than enthused when my Lit professor announced the next assignment for class is to write a modern version of the classic damsel-in-distress archetype. With a different prof I’d be on cloud nine – finally a chance to inject some feminism into it. But not with Dr. Mitchell, who I swear is so old that after the dinosaurs died out, he still managed to find one to keep as a pet. Dr. Mitchell is in the dictionary illustrating the word patriarchy, or maybe chauvinist. He doesn’t want a modern take. He wants a classic take but with cars and computers and cell phones. Rapunzel in the tallest tower in the countryside can’t get a damn signal – good thing Prince “Let down your sweet hair” saw the glint of the sun reflecting off the screen as she took her millionth pouty-lip duckface selfie of the day! Can you see me now?

I would kill to get an assignment like this in Dr. Shoenbrun’s class – not only does she like when students interpret things differently than “everyone else,” provided there is sufficient textual support examples given, but she also gives bonus points for “creativity and thinking outside the page,” as she puts it. Dr. Shoenbrun would probably drool over my self-rescuing heroine telling off the knight for taking so long to get there. And when the dragon turns out to be friendly. I wonder if she would appreciate my damsel falling in love with the dragon, or if that’s going too far even for her.

100 Things, 2017: February Update

9/100 – Thing 44 – have a Girls’ Day with Z and Charlotte, 1/30/17
Yes, I did this in January but it didn’t make it into my update post. And yes, Mark came with us, but that’s okay. I decided it still counts because it’s my list and I make the rules. Z has family tickets to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT. We saw seals, and jellyfish, and frogs, and sharks, and lots fish and other sea creatures. We had a lot of fun. We had lunch there and went to the shop where I got Charlotte a shirt that says “I’m really a mermaid” and me a shirt that says “Mermaid at” and then a seashell in the shape of a heart. Charlotte got a seal and I got a sea otter — we saw sea otters! So cute! It was such a great day, and we all had lots of fun.

10/100 – Thing 6 – watch “Richard St. John – Success is a continuous journey”, 1/31/17
To be honest I know I watched this in January but I didn’t write down when it was, so I am just putting it here. I found this interesting and accurate. People work really hard, but if they stop working when they achieve success, they will stop being so successful. So it’s critical that to remain successful, you have to keep doing all the things you did to get there. Which makes sense, but also makes sense that people tend to forget that.

11/100 – Thing 90 – wish on a star, 2/1/17
I’m not sure when this was either, but I was holding Charlotte and walking to the apartment from the car, and we saw a bright star. I told her that we can make wishes on stars, and hope that our wishes come true. I said, “like if you want a cookie when you get inside, you can say, ‘I wish I had a cookie.’ And then maybe your wish will come true.” She was smiling and saying yes she wanted a cookie, but didn’t want to actually say the wish. But when we got inside, I gave her one anyway. And I did make my own wish, but I am not sharing my wish either.

12/100 – Thing 37 – take a solo train ride that is NOT for my work commute, 2/4/17
I am considering this done. I took my usual train home from work on Saturday February 4, but then continued past my stop to go to my parents’ house. Technically it was still my work commute, but I decided it counts since I went to a further stop and was on the train much longer. I read a lot of the 2017 Newbery winner (see below).

13/100 – Thing 17 – read the 2017 Newbery award winner, 2/6/17
I started this book in January after the awards were announced and finished on February 6. I am so happy the Newbery committee chose to honor _The_Girl_Who_Drank_The_Moon_ by Kelly Barnhill. I can hardly contain my love for it. Here’s the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads:
Unforgettable. Magical. Several different perspectives in the story that cleverly dovetail into perfection by the end of the book. I was utterly entranced and could not put this book down. This book won the very well-deserved Newbery Award this year, and I am glad it did because it put the book on my radar. I would love to see this as a movie, and I’m not surprised that movie rights have been optioned already.

14/100 – Thing 19 – do a jigsaw puzzle, 2/12/17
Charlotte and I did a few different easy jigsaw puzzles together. I still want to do some bigger ones this year that she is too little to help with, but I can still check this one off the list.

15/100 – Thing 86 – bake cookies, 2/12/17
For some reason they didn’t turn out right, exactly, so I call them “cakies” when they taste more like cake. Too much flour? Not the right amount of salt or baking powder? But whatever, Charlotte helped and we made the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I will definitely make more cookies this year.

16/100 – Thing 41 – go on a date with Mark for Valentine’s Day; hire a baby-sitter, 2/17/17
We didn’t “hire” a baby-sitter, but we did have Mark’s mom baby-sit so we could go out to dinner at a nice restaurant. We haven’t been able to go out much, and in September we decided to aim for one child-less date every month, and that lasted… two months. Haha. So we need to keep trying, and by making a reservation a couple weeks before, we had this to look forward to. Then we got sick, so we had to postpone it a few days but still went in the same week as Valentine’s Day so it counts. ❤

17/100 – Thing 46 – go on the swings with Charlotte, 2/25/17
It was actually pretty nice weather, and we did go on the swings. She only stayed about two minutes before she wanted to get out, but that’s okay. There will be other swings this year.

18/100 – Thing 92 – toss a coin into a fountain and make a wish, 2/27/17
Mark and I took Charlotte to a mall and there was a fountain. We didn’t have coins, but Mark saw two quarters on the floor not far away so he picked them up so Charlotte and I could make wishes. She didn’t want to tell me her wish, lol.


Other Things I’ve started: Writing a blog post every month (Thing 97) – if I can keep up with this monthly round-up of my progress toward achieving everything on my list, that will accomplish this by the end of the year. I did finish this post in March and backdate it to February, but most was written in February. Read the Lauren Oliver Delirium trilogy (Thing 79) – I started Delirium in January and finished reading in February, and then read Pandemonium and started Requiem. Since there are three books for this Thing, I wanted to get it done early in the year. After I finish this trilogy I will read the Eve Marie Mont Unbound trilogy (Thing 78), and then the rest of the books on my list are all stand-alone books. And I guess you could say I’ve started “end year with no credit card debt” (Thing 11) because I’m reading Get Rich, Lucky Bitch and I’m working on getting on top of my finances.

Things Done Each Month:
January – 8
February – 10

100 Things, 2017: January Update

One of my 100 Things to Do in 2017 is to write a blog post every month, and last year I wrote two updates on how I’m doing but didn’t continue. So my intention for this year is to post on the last day of each month to say what I did from my list, and any notes I want to add about it. To do all 100 this year, I need to average 8.3 Things each month.


1/100 – Thing 1 – watch “Hans Rosling – The magic washing machine”, 1/1/17
I watched this before going to bed after watching the ball drop at midnight, because I thought if I could start off the year with one thing crossed off already in the first hour of the year, that might give me some good karma to get a lot more things done this year than in 2016. So I’m glad I got this video over with first, so there’s a lot less build up about its potential for greatness than there could have been. This video was kind of funny, but not enlightening. Just kind of meh.

2/100 – Thing 2 – watch “Elizabeth Gilbert – Your elusive creative genius”, 1/5/17
This is a video I’ve watched before and will definitely watch again and again. It gives a hint of what was to come when she later wrote Big Magic, which I read last year and absolutely loved (and will probably read again and again too). Basically, Liz advises going back to the ancient Greeks, where people said “you have a genius” and not “you are a genius” – then if you’re creatively blocked, you don’t have to get depressed and think that you suck, you can just blame your muse for not showing up to work.

3/100 – Thing 3 – watch “Amanda Palmer – The art of asking”, 1/5/17
I love Amanda’s delivery – she tells us a little about her experience as a performer, and we get to see some of that in the way she speaks. This was a great little video that advocates crowd-funding by likening it to a street performer putting out a hat or guitar case. You’re not “making” someone pay you, you’re asking them. And when they do, you both feel it’s a positive exchange of energy. And it’s not just about money – Amanda has asked for things or services and people have offered them to her. For people who have trouble asking for or receiving money or help in their lives, it’s a must-watch.

4/100 – Thing 4 – watch “Diana Nyad – Never, ever give up”, 1/7/17
What an inspiring story! I had never heard of Diana, so I looked her up online and actually watched the video showing her finishing her historic swim before I watched her TED video. Wow. I am not a strong swimmer, and I don’t like swimming, so to me the idea of swimming for over 50 hours, a distance of over 100 miles, is utterly unfathomable. The fact that she tried and failed a few times, and then kept going for it and finally achieved her goal? Incredible. You really can do almost anything you set your mind to, if you are determined and persistent.

5/100 – Thing 35 – bake a cake from scratch, 1/7/17
6/100 – Thing 45 – try a new recipe, 1/7/17
Mark was watching a few episodes of Two Broke Girls, which put me in the mood to bake. I was going to make a cake but decided to make cupcakes instead. It still counts as baking a cake from scratch as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if I had ever tried the Devil’s Food Cake recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (my favorite cookbook) before, but the cream cheese frosting recipe I found on the Internet was new to me. I put lemon extract in the frosting instead of vanilla, so that was a fun twist. I brought some of the cupcakes to work with me after a few days so I wouldn’t eat them all myself, because Mark’s not big on chocolate. Oh, and Charlotte helped because she loves to help with cooking and baking (and anything else you’re doing).

7/100 – Thing 5 – watch “Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability”, 1/8/17
I’m finding it hard to write a response to this one. I listened to it almost two weeks ago (as I sit here on January 21, starting my blog post that won’t be published for another week and a half), and I just read a transcript of it, and it’s just not hitting me. Maybe because I already know that vulnerability does not equal weakness? She says feeling vulnerable and feeling shame are related, and I can’t help but remember how my least favorite question a person can ask is, “What’s the most” (or most recent) “embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?” Because I can never come up with an answer. Life is what it is. So… I don’t know. This is another video that I just didn’t get anything out of it, and that’s okay.

8/100 – Thing 28 – do a Tarot/Oracle card reading for someone other than myself, 1/13/17
I had my new cards with me, the I Am Power Deck from Love, Light and Legacy, at work with me. I am absolutely in love with this deck. Each card has an “I am ____” phrase on it, which can be used in meditation or as a mantra or as a journaling prompt… They are very open to interpretation which is so lovely. Before I left work for the day, I pulled a card for each of the three college students that were working that day. I also brought the cards to a meeting on January 17 where I knew I would see a certain friend of mine, and I pulled a card for her as well.
[Interesting side note – my 8th Thing of 2016 was also done on January 13.]


In addition to doing the above I’ve also started reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver, the first book in the trilogy (which is Thing 79). I had Mark call and make a reservation for us to go to dinner for Valentine’s Day on the Sunday before (Thing 41). And I got a white scarf with pink and black hearts on it that I can wear for Valentine’s Day at work, but I can also wear on Pink and Black Day (Thing 32), a holiday I created when I was in college that falls on March 25.

52 Lists, 2016

This year I took on the 52 Lists project. For more than 8 months I wrote my lists almost every week, although occasionally I missed one and did it the following week. By the end of the year I had missed a LOT and had to play catch up. Here are my lists. They are not complete. I could probably add to them forever. But here’s my snapshot in time for 2016 in list form.

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