Done and done and undone

So I’m done. The goals didn’t all get done, but I am done with this set of goals. And can I just say I am so relieved? It has been really fun, but I have felt a little tied down to these tasks, without the freedom to come up with new ones.

So where am I on the undone 15? Learn Spanish: screw Spanish. I want to learn Italian again. Go back to school: start in the fall. Go back to Italy: I’ve planted the money. Here’s hoping it grows. 330 hours of service: I got about 170 done–pathetic. Standard works: Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Perla di Gran Prezza, done; just the big one left. Learn to play a song: obviously not yet a priority. Tennis: Got the racquet. Article: … . Loan: such a good dream. Elder Holland: mom met with Elder Eyring and gave him a letter I wrote. That’s pretty cool. Pigeon pose: So, so close. I can hold my foot, but it is not yet graceful. No picture=not done. War and Peace: no desire. Juggling: I have destroyed at least 5 oranges in the last month and have yet to make any real progress. I didn’t play team sports…

I have loved the experience. I have learned a lot about myself, interestingly enough. Most of what I’ve learned I have liked. The things I don’t… enh. Whatever.

I haven’t fixed the goal(s) for 31. Should I write a cookbook? Make pies and give them away raffle style? Review 31 restaurants? Read 31 books? Take art lessons? Learn to sail? Or simply take the year a day at a time and let myself make goals as they come to me?

Let me know your thoughts. I’ll let you all know if I decide something grandiose and it garners another blog. 🙂

Posted in Done and Done., plans | 4 Comments

Commencing sugar coma… now.

15 down.

Players: Me, Russell, Erin, Jane, Eric, Mala and Nat.

They had everything maple you can imagine: maple syrup, bourbon maple syrup, maple bbq sauce, maple candy, maple cotton candy, maple cream (wow!), maple popcorn, maple tours, maple tapping (tap, tap) and a pancake breakfast with bacon, which of course we dipped in maple. Perfect day out of the city. And to finish it off, white manna from heaven.

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Ó, guð vors lands! Ó, lands vors guð!

Four more down!

Players: Me, Jane, Erin, Sharon, Judy, Dustin, Eric and Justin

I cannot say enough good things about Iceland. I will publish pictures when I get them from Eric. They are beautiful.
Quick run down, since a recap would take as long as living it did, and probably longer as you would have to listen to my commentary on it all.

Day 1: Clear blue skies
Deep sea fishing (19×30). I caught one. Perfect fishing career so far. Most everyone caught fish. The crewman, and Judy, filleted them for us and let us take them home.
Blue Lagoon (18×30). Better than the pictures make it look. How often can you say that??
Northern Lights (17×30). Thank you, Dustin, for letting me help you cross this off your bucket list also (16×30). There are not words to describe them.
1.30 AM hotdog run.
I couldn’t stop smiling all day.

Day 2: Overcast, but no rain.
Woke up late (thank the Lord for that).
Self-guided Golden Circle Tour. Included Þingvellir, Geysir (after which all other geysers are named), and Gullfoss, an absolutely breathtaking waterfall.
Traditional Icelandic Dinner. That means I ate hakarl (rotted shark–Anthony Bourdin said it was the single most terrible thing he had ever put in his mouth and Gordan Ramsey actually threw it up when he tried it), puffin, whale, reindeer, foal, and goose. The only one I would eat again is goose.
Belgian waffle cart on the way home. I love Erin for stopping us because we never saw the cart before or after.
Laughed until 4AM.

Day 3: Partly sunny
Diverging line of the North American and European plates. Black sand dunes. So awesome.
Beach. Love the North Atlantic.
Cod dinner. Cooked by yours truly.
Northern Lights hunting. Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

Day 4: Cloudy, rained once we got to the airport.
Shopping. Puppet show included at no charge.
Closing the house.
Flying home.

Wonderful. Amazing. Beautiful. Hilarious. Unreal. Magical. Nothing quite catches it.

Posted in Done and Done. | 1 Comment

“At first I was afraid; I was petrified.”

Ten down. Really ten point five with the school thing…

Players: Me, by its nature it had to be so

I sang. In front of people. By myself for about 10 seconds. I sang Karaoke. Now, you may not count that, but this isn’t your blog. And I count it. Remember two summers ago when I was overcoming fears? I rode rollercoasters and horses. And I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And I have been dreading it ever since. I hate being in front of a group of people doing something I am terrible at doing. So my other fears got put on hold while I waited to hurdle this one. And it is finally behind me. I’ll go karaoke-ing anytime anyone wants to. And I can finally get back to overcoming fears. Cliff jumping here I come. Oh no, that still makes me nervous… 20×30.

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a lost art

Don’t you hate getting bills in the mail? I do. What I hate worse is getting credit card offers. And that is pretty much all that ever comes my way through the postal service. Saturday I got a book I’d ordered off Amazon and it made my day. Why do I discuss the contents of my mailbox? Because I think it is tragic that letter writing has become a lost art. Why buy a stamp and send something off that won’t get there for at least one day when you can write an email and it will get across the world in 8 seconds and be free? Why?! Well, for one, the paper. I love writing on paper. Particularly good paper with a fountain pen that has a bit of a sharp nib so it really grabs the fibers of the sheet. Oh, there is nothing quite like that. In lieu of all that ado, however, a cute piece of stationary and a ball point bic will suffice.

Well, today, I have finished two of my 30. First, I have written my letters to the thirty most influential people in my life. I didn’t tell them that was why I was writing, but they have gotten letters. Or rather, the letters are in the mail. Not like “the check is in the mail” but like actually stamped and winging their way all over the country. It was an interesting experience. Some of these people I haven’t talked to in years, but their influence still lingers in my life. So it was fun to imagine them receiving my cards. And on a side note, I got my Christmas thank you cards done as well. Pat on the back for me. 22×30.

The second task I am knocking off is my family history project. It isn’t completed, but hopefully won’t be for years. So I am counting it as done since it is started, and that is most often the hardest part. I have struck up a penpalship with Grammy Lemon. She is the coolest grandma-aged lady I ever have known. At 85+, she kicked my pants in Ping Pong and gave Russell a run for his money. She has tried her whole life to get us not to wear sunscreen. She is a no-nonsense, hard working, farm-living woman who plays bridge, served a mission, makes unbelievable jam and scalloped potatoes and plays “The Entertainer” like you’ve never heard it played. She is awesome. And I know nothing about her life before I came into it. Which was pretty late. So we are going to write letters. Save the fading art of correspondence. And hopefully, I will learn about her, her childhood, her parents, her marriage, motherhood through her eyes, her secret to a good pot roast, and what how to balance it all and laugh everyday. This is actually one of the 30 I am most excited about. 21×30

Posted in Done and Done. | 1 Comment

Focusing my efforts

Ok. So I haven’t crossed anything off since November. I know, I am slacker. Let’s be honest, the holidays are a time of slacking on everything but cookie eating. But here we are three weeks into the new year, and still the blog has been silent.

I don’t know why, but I feel a sense of responsibility to my phantom readership. So here is my set of explanations. I am getting closer on the Standard works. I am really enjoying the Doctrine and Covenants, as I always do. Modern scripture. Enough said. I have written almost half of my thirty letters to influential people. And as for the rest, things aren’t as grim as they may seem. I plan to accomplish at least three things in Iceland next month. Yay. Carolina for the birthday celebration. I just don’t have Italy in the budget this spring. So that is a no go. And War and Peace is torture. So I am done trying there. There are too many book I enjoy reading. Maybe I’ll come back to W&P when I am more familiar with Russian history (read never). I won’t be making it back to school officially, so that one I can also give up for dead. I got accepted, so that’s half way done. I just needed to get a few things out of the way before I started paying tuition. I am however working on math. This week I did about 6 hours of math while I was at work. Thank the Lord for a job replete with free time. So what does that leave me with? Juggling, tennis, piano, service, general authority encounter, family history, pigeon pose, article to a magazine. This one is also some percentage done, but will probably not be completed. Oh well.

The good thing is that I will still finish at least 20. Which is huge. So I’ll be happy with it. And I’ll learn Spanish next year.

Posted in help me!!, plans, simply musing | 2 Comments

maple and a trim

What am I on? Seven? I think this makes seven down.

Players: Jane Madsen and me

Locale: Burlingon, Vermont

This is Jane. Not on our trip, but from FB. This is vermont. Also not from our trip, but from Google images. Why not from our trip? Well, I had in fact packed the camera, but it didn’t really make it out of my bag. It may have been that neither of us had a smart phone or an atlas or even a map. So a six hour drive became an eight-point-five hour drive. Or maybe it was the 15-foot tank that put it out of our minds. Perhaps the to-die-for flat bread or the manager of the car rental store that saved our bacon despite a few minor metaphorical wrestling matches between us. Oh what would have become of us if the New York in me had been funny unleashed. I shudder to consider the possibilities. I think the most likely reason of all was the fact that the maple syrup jug was dusted in hair as I picked it off the barber shop floor and had Gary ring it up. That can’t be sanitary. 23×30.

Posted in Done and Done. | 1 Comment

jen vs. o-chem: let the battle begin

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a mighty woman with a torch

Six down.

Players: me and the Mother of Exiles

Lady Liberty is gorgeous and worth all 315 steps. And I must say, after reading about how she came to our sea-washed, sunset gates, I feel that what we are missing in modern diplomacy is the gifting of colossal monuments. Where is Bartholdi when we need him?? I think that if we were to donate a huge statue of, say, Mohammed to the people of Tehran, we would get a lot further with them then we did with 40,000 troops. But that is just one interpretation of the situation. And would it really be lasting? Do we rely on or trust the French now? Perhaps Iran’s statue would also become little more than a tourist trap or a goal on a birthday bucket list. But I digress, this is a story blog, not one on which to ruminate on ridiculous solutions to the diplomacy failings of our current government.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been in NYC on a weekend that the subways were a disaster on Saturday. After 15 minutes waiting for the 1-train to shut its doors and get going, I ended up taking a cab to 57th, running two avenues (thank you, Chuck Taylor), catching the R-train to south ferry, running to the fort, and then waiting in line for an hour to catch the ferry. On which I watched not one, but three people film at least 5 minutes of footage of the south manhattan skyline. That will make for awesome home video viewing later. “Here’s the Verizon building, arguably the ugliest building in New York. Here it is still. And still. Now it’s smaller…”

Arrived at Liberty Island, and could not have asked for a better day to be there. The weather was beautiful. A perfect New York fall day. The kind we dream about January to August. Orange trees shedding their foliage. Slight breeze. Brilliant blue sky. Crunchy leaves you have to kick as you walk through them. Perfect. As per a very good suggestion, I checked right with the parks service and headed straight to the crown. Note: if you are going to bring a bag, also bring a dollar bill to put it in a locker. Only cameras are allowed in the statue and there is only one ATM on Liberty Island.

The climb to the pedestal is short, about 150 steps in an open space. After that, the climb to the crown is about 165 steps up a narrow double helix spiral staircase. It is neither tall nor wide, so claustrophobics beware. But it is great to be at the top. Well, almost the top. The torch is higher, but the only person who goes up there is the guy who changes the light bulbs, and from what the rangers say, he doesn’t love his job. Can you believe that? He is a part of making “world-wide welcome” a reality and he doesn’t love his job. Well, he does work in a 24-story walk-up. 24×30.

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much ado about a fountain

Five down.

Player: Me
Photographer: Russell

I had envisioned this moment very Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing. You remember the scene. He is kicking up his heels and making a glorious show of dancing in a fountain just after he has just been duped into believing that Beatrice loves him. And the music swells and water is going everywhere. Beautiful movie magic.

There are two main difference between Benedict’s fountain scene and mine. First: it is hard to kick up your feet when your boots have become buckets of water. The Bethesda Fountain is apparently 16 inches deep. My Wellingtons are 15 inches high… You do the math. In the end, there may have been less frolicking in and more sloshing through the fountain. Secondly: it is illegal to dance in the Bethesda Fountain.

So when the police showed up, we really thought it best to saunter away as if the night had consisted of nothing more than a relaxing stroll through the Terrace and a view of the rowing pond. But I have seen the Bethesda Fountain from the inside looking out. And it was glorious. My heart frolicked, even if my lead boots remained earth bound. And thank you, Russell, for sacrificing your own Bethesda moment to document mine. 25×30.

Posted in Done and Done. | 2 Comments