Tuesday, October 17, 2017

100 Wants

100 Wants 

Back in April, I wrote a post about the book "168 Hours" 
which included a clear step-by-step guide to making the most of your time. 

To recap, the steps were:

1. Log your time 
and then categorize your time to see where you spend it every week 
(which I did in my time studies here, here, and here)

2. Make a list of 100 things you want to do with your time/life 

3. Identify what you are good at (and enjoy) and what you hate/bad at 

4. Start with a blank slate. 

5. Start by filling your time back up with your 100 dreams 

6. Ignore, minimize, or outsource that you hate or are bad at 

7. Fill bits of time (10-30 min increments) with bits of joy,
or stepping stones to your 100 dreams.

8. Tune up as necessary

***

I started a list of my 100 wants/dreams. 
Except I only got to 35.  
But still, I thought 35 was a good number! 

I'm sharing them here both to document somewhere other than my phone, 
but also track how my list changes over time. 
I wrote them down as they came to me, 
no particular order or priority. 


LIST OF 100 35 DREAMS: 

Run a marathon. 
 Be a size 4. 
Learn to bartend. 
Read to my children every day.*
Make Sunday night Board Game night.
Find a great shrimp recipe.*
Find a great scallops recipe. 
Monthly Girls (Moms) Night Out. 
Read every day. 
Visit Upstate NY once a year.*
Read Harry Potter to my kids. 
Read a chapter book every night to kids. 
Take a wine class series. 
Go to culinary school. 
Take children to Disney World. 
Go to Italy with Adam. 
Hike the Grand Canyon. 
Attend the Kentucky Derby. 
Renovate Kitchen & Master Bath. 
Learn photography with a fancy camera. 
Attend church regularly. 
Make kids lunch every day.*
Make Adam's lunch every day.*
Write a letter to grandparents once a month.*
Cook healthy dinners at least 5 nights a week.*
Eat salad for lunch 5 times a week.*
Yearly getaway with Adam.*
Take golf lessons. 
Take a walk after dinner every night. 
Fill the house with music. 
Take a horseback riding class. 
Star Wars marathon with kids 
Yearly Friends Vacation at the beach*
Annual girls getaway
Take flying lessons


The * are the ones I have either accomplished or been doing regularly. 
Some of these are lifestyle things I want to incorporate, 
like walking after dinner or attending church. 

If I could categorize the 35, I'd put them as such: 

***

Accomplish
Run a marathon. 
Find a great shrimp recipe.
Find a great scallops recipe. 
Renovate Kitchen & Master Bat 

This category I can work towards now, 
but I don't see the first happening until I'm done having kids. 
We continue to save for the renovations but they are far off. 

***

Learn
(Note: none of these are to pursue a career, 
just simply for the fun of learning) 

Take a wine class series. 
Go to culinary school.
Learn to bartend.
Learn photography with a fancy camera. 
Take golf lessons. 
Take horseback riding lessons. 
Take flying lessons.

Most of these are not feasible with Adam's job, 
nor small children at home. 
Someday when Adam is no longer at Big Law Firm, 
I'll start pursuing night or weekend classes. 
The flying lessons will be the most tricky since they are a massive time 
and money investment, 
but I think learning to fly would help overcome my irrational fear of flying, 
because I would understand / have control. 

***

Lifestyle:
 Be a size 4. 
Make Sunday night Board Game night.
Monthly Girls (Moms) Night Out (at this point I'm bi-monthly at best)
Read every day. 
Read to my children every day.
Read Harry Potter to my kids. 
Read a chapter book every night to kids (one chapter per night). 
Attend church regularly. 
Write a letter to grandparents once a month.
Take a walk after dinner every night.
Make kids lunch every day.
Make Adam's lunch every day.
Cook healthy dinners at least 5 nights a week.
Eat salad for lunch 5 times a week.
Fill the house with music. 
Star Wars marathon with kids. 

While some of these (Harry Potter, chapter books, board game night) 
are for when the kids are older, 
most of these can be done now.  
It's just a matter of incorporating them AND sticking to them!

***

Travel
Visit Upstate NY [great-grandparents] once a year.
Yearly getaway with Adam. 
Yearly friends vacation at the beach. 
Annual girls getaway
Take children to Disney World. 
Go to Italy with Adam. 
Hike the Grand Canyon. 
Attend the Kentucky Derby. 


The first three are in the works. 
We had our yearly NY trip last month,
and then our Penn State getaway last weekend. 
The yearly friends vacation was going great until this year 
when we couldn't coordinate our vacation schedules (boo!), 
but I'd like to resume for next year. 
The remaining 5 require both $$$$-saving 
and/or older children who can be left with grandparents for days on end. 

10 years ago in Venice.  I met Adam 2 months later. 

***

So anyway, that's my list. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spiders

I hate spiders.  


I'm fine with snakes.
I'm fine with mice. 
I'm fine with clowns. 
I'm fine with bees. 
I'm fine with normal house bugs*

*they startle me and I scream but only because I think it's a spider

I don't do spiders.

The photo is 6 years old, but the message is still current. 

Texas is on my "banned" list of places to move to 
(sorry, Amanda and Allena) 
solely because I will not live in a state that also contains tarantulas in the wild. 
#nope 


See this guy here? 
He might as well be a tarantula by my standards. 
There were one or two of these that lived outside our house. 
I didn't like it, 
but I could manage. 


Oh but then things changed. 


We have had an unseasonably warm, muggy October. 
The humidity feels like early August 
and it's absolutely stifling. 
Apparently these spiders like this weather, 
because they are growing bigger and bigger
 and appearing more and more. 
Adam killed 7 of those spiders outside on the patio, 
last weekend while I was in DC. 
He was sending me photos (like the one above) 
and I was responding with: 
"So I'm never coming home?" 
Hahaha cute.  
Except.


In the last 2 days, 
I have had FIVE of these spiders in my house. 
This is the smallest one, by far. 



Remember when I posted our house tour
Well if you're looking to buy it, 
I'm about to put our house on the market. 
And move to Alaska. 
Or better yet, 
I'll just burn it down to the ground, 
and THEN move to Alaska. 


I've never been one to wish for snow, 
but I am begging for the coldest winter ever. 
I want multiple days of negative degrees, 
to really kill every last remnant of these spiders. 
Otherwise, Alaska, here I come! 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

3 Races

One of my New Year Resolutions was to run 3 races this year. 
And as of last weekend, I can check-mark that goal!

Working backward...


Army Ten Miler 
Location: DC, starts and ends at the Pentagon 
Distance: 10 miles 
When: October, usually Sunday before Columbus Day

10 miles winding its way through the coolest parts of DC. 
It was an awesome race. 
Blackhawks were circling over our heads most of the race. 
And all of the water volunteers were soldiers, 
who, given the humidity of the day, 
were more than happy to douse runners in pitchers of water. 

It was a great time 
and I hope to do it again next year, 
perhaps not in 95% humidity though. 



Broad Street Run 
Location: Philadelphia, starting in North Philly
 And ending in the Naval Yards
Distance: 10 miles 
When: 1st Sunday in May

This was my 6th year running Broad Street, 
and I will never tire of the race. 
it is truly a fun fun fun race
The whole city comes out to cheer for it, 
and as a runner you'll see everything from 
church choirs, 
to highschool/college marching band, 
to live band performances, 
to DJs mixing on the sidewalk. 

Plus you get a really cool tour of Philly from the "not-so-nice" North Philly, 
through Temple's campus, 
then the business district, 
down to South Philly (nice but boring), 
and finally the stadiums. 

It's also the 6th largest race (regardless of distance) in the US, 
with about 35,000 runners annually. 



Hot Chocolate 5K/15K 
Location: Philadelphia, starts and ends at the Art Museum 
Distance: 15K, approx 9.3 miles 
When: 1st Saturday in April

The best parts about this race are the 
GEAR and the FOOD.

Rather than just a standard race t-shirt, 
ever runner gets a sweatshirt, 
which is the comfiest, coziest ever. 
Meghan has run it for years 
and I've always ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over her sweatshirts.

The food afterwards is AWESOME: 
Super thick hot chocolate for sipping, 
a little vat of melted chocolate for dipping, 
and an assortment of items to dip. 
And it's GOOD chocolate. 

All that said...

The worst part of this race is the route
With the exception of Broad Street Run, 
all Philly races start at the Art Museum 
and go up/back on the Schuylkill River 
which is the most boring route ever
It is mind-numbing boring. 
I made the mistake of running this as a 15K, 
and was bored out of my mind for 9.3 miles. 

Next year I'll run it as a 5K, 
just to get the gear, 
and then minimize my boredom. 

And yes, that's a trash bag I'm wearing. 
Meghan wore the sweatshirt they gave, 
but for me it would be too hot for the whole course. 
My go-to for chilly races is to wear a trashbag to the start, 
and then throw it away once we start running. 
I also keep a folded up one in my pocket in case it's still cold afterwards. 
Plastic is both lightweight and an amazing insulator. 
And I get a lot of "oh that's a great idea" comments from other runners. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Tale of Two Facebook Comments

Warning: this is a long post 
and you will want to bail on it halfway through 
(it's ok if you do, no hard feelings) 
... except I'll be a little sad

***

You know when you see a post that starts with 
"I don't normally post on facebook BUT..." 
or 
"I don't like to be political on facebook BUT..." 
... and your eyes just start rolling 
like "oh boy, here we go again"?

That's how this tale starts. 
I absolutely recognize the futility of facebook comments. 
No one's mind is ever changed 
and usually it just ends poorly. 

... Except ... 
...there's always that ONE THING that gets reallllly under your skin, 
and you. 
just. 
can't. 
itch. 
it. 
out. 

***

The Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin spoke about the Vegas shooting. 
(I'm not linking the video but I'm sure Google can help with that.)
The gist is that we can't regulate evil. 
That "we already have laws against murder
and "the idea that one more law would preclude the person 
from doing this is an asinine comment.

And I just lost my mind. 
...But before you bail out! 
Believe it or not,
 this post is not about the facts or fiction of the governor's comments. 
This post is about how two very different people handle different views. 

***

Two people in my feed shared this video. 
Three things those two people have in common: 
1) both are white 
2) both originate from [hicksville] Central NY where I grew up 
3) both I haven't spoken to since highschool, 
but stumbled into a facebook friendship years ago

We'll call the first Elizabeth (my favorite girl name). 
Elizabeth and I went to church and youth group together. 
Her parents were very active in the church
and she was a social, pretty, popular blonde. 
She now lives with her husband and 3 kids in Upstate NY, 
and the kids enjoy offroading competitions as a sport 
(which, for the record, I feel is about 50% redneck and 50% total badass). 
The one odd thing here is that Elizabeth and her husband share a facebook account. 
I know a handful of people who do this and it always baffles me. 
For one, it screams control and/or trust issues. 
For another, it's just a communication mix-up; 
as in, who do you know you are speaking to? 

If I were to sum up Elizabeth, 
she would be social Christian suburban mom. 


The second was a guy we'll call Judah (my favorite boy name). 
Judah I knew from public highschool 
and appropriately fit the label "bad boy." 
He graduated and went into the military, 
with a few deployments overseas. 
He left the military years ago and moved to Wisconsin. 
He has since fathered two children with two different girlfriends, 
and doesn't appear to be with either mom at this time. 
He likes to spout off on facebook about various things, 
usually military-related, 
and definitely gives off some racist vibes. 

If I were to sum up Judah, 
it would be a crass, asshole redneck. 


*** 

Both of the individuals above shared the Kentucky Governor's speech via video. 

I commented (on both): 
"You can't regulate evil but you CAN regulate evil's access to things that allow them to execute their evil plans.  Americans are not any more evil than say, Australians, but Australia haven't had a mass shooting in 20 years because they don't allow the access that we do.  Same for Britain, France, etc.  We are the only developed nation who allows this to continue and, unfortunately, it will time and time again." 

I also included a link to this list of charts here
which is really a great visual comparison of countries. 

*** 

A few hours later, I realized my comment on Elizabeth's post had been deleted. 
Along with another individual's comment along the same lines as mine. 
The only comments left were praising the speech. 

I then left another comment about the importance of listening to opposing opinions, 
and the irony that the governor said we must be united, 
but then here they were only allowing one-sided comments. 

Again, my comment was deleted. 
And then, all of a sudden, I had a friend request from Elizabeth again, 
which means they had actually unfriended me 
and then decided to friend me again. 
So I can only imagine there was a little husband-wife discord over their joint facebook account. 

***

Now let's move to Judah. 
Judah responded a few hours later with a counter scenario, 
and we discussed in a respectful, interesting manner 
for the rest of the evening. 
And when it ended, we still disagreed about most of it, 
but we mutually agreed that there are major issues to be solved. 
I considered the conversation to be a rousing success, 
educational on both sides. 

***

The irony of the situation didn't hit me until later. 

You assume if anyone is going to be an ass on facebook, 
it would be the redneck asshole, right? 
Not so. 

Sometimes the redneck asshole is the one 
who isn't afraid to listen, learn, and consider another opinion. 

And its the white Christian suburban mom who is so close-minded 
that she won't even acknowledge a different point of view. 




Friday, September 29, 2017

The most random of random

I saw this as a “get to know you” questionaire 
and stole it for blog material
Because that's what I do. 


1. What is the strangest thing about where you grew up? 

I grew up in a tiny "city" (barely) called Cortland, 
which is exactly in the middle of New York State. 
It was a sad, redneck little town. 
Probably the most interesting thing is that there's a plaque in the middle of a sad strip mall parking lot that reads "this is the exact center of NY State." 
The funniest was that my school mascot was the Trojans, 
and our football field was contributed by A.J. Butts... 
so we were the Homer Trojans who played on Butts field. 
... 
hehehe. 


2. Are you a starter or a finisher? 

Absolutely a finisher.  
I struggle with starting a project, 
but once I do I will give it my all until I finish it. 
Same with books. 
I generally procrastinate on reading a new book, 
but then I dive in and finish it very quickly. 
So when I say I read 5 books over 2 months, 
that means I spent 5-10 nights reading, 
and all of the remaining nights not


3. Are you useful in a crisis? 

Yes. 
I am extremely level-headed under pressure 
and always was from a young age. 
Here are two examples my mom always tells: 

1. When I was around age 8, we were traveling as a family 
and going up an escalator. 
My mom had my [middle] little sister (toddler age) 
and I had the luggage/bags. 
(Memory doesn't tell where dad was.) 
All of a sudden my little sister turned around 
and tried to go down the escalator, 
ending up upside down with her feet in the air. 
My mom just starts SCREAMING. 
Me with all the bags rushed up, 
scooped her up, 
and never dropped a bag

2. Somewhere around age 13, 
I was helping my mom give my littlest sister a bath (she was around 1). 
We tried putting bubble bath in the tub but didn't realize it wasn't tear-free. 
My sister starts SCREAMING because hey, stinging eyes! 
My mom starts screaming trying to rub it out of her eyes. 
Me? 
I turned on the facet, 
got a cup of fresh water, 
dumped it over her head while holding her hands, 
and then dumped another cup over her bubbly hands. 

Moral of this story is really that you never want my mom in a crisis. 
Ever. 


4. Can you tell when someone is lying? 

Not really. 
I am exceptionally terrible at reading people. 
I assume people are honest, 
which is sadly not always true. 
I should never be in charge of hiring interviews, 
and it is really a miracle that I've ever hired anyone competent.


5. Do you have a morning ritual? 

I don't have a particular "wake up" ritual, 
besides the normal "check the clock, sigh, check my phone." 


6. Do you have any irrational fears? 

Absolutely. 
I am panic-level terrified of flying. 
Going NEAR an airport gives me heart palpitations. 
Waiting, boarding, waiting... 
I'm usually near tears before the engines have even started. 



7. Do you think you're currently operating at 100% capacity? 

Thanks to good ol' mom brain, 
I'd so no, 
but I'm a solid 75%. 


8. Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety? 

Yes. 
The first memory that comes to mind is when I lived in Philly, 
I was meeting people at a bar I'd never been to. 
I looked up the bar 
and realized it was somewhat close to a subway stop, 
so being the penny-pincher I was back then, 
I decided to forgo the cab fair
 and instead took the subway there. 
What I hadn't factored in was that the subway dropped me off in a VERY BAD part of Philly. 
There were no street lights, 
the streets were empty, 
and everything was too quiet
Also, it wasn't the little 5 minute walk I envisioned, 
but more like a 20 minute walk. 
I. Was. Terrified. 
At one point I crossed paths with a young black couple who was talking and laughing, 
and I walked as close behind them as I could without seeming like 
the lost-and-scared-shitless-white-girl that I was. 
(I'm gonna go ahead and guess they laughed about me later.) 
Spoiler alert: I made it to the bar unscathed and drank away my fears. 


9. If you could master any instrument on earth, what would it be? 
A tie between violin and piano. 
I think both are beautiful. 
The violin would win because it doesn't take up much space in the house. 
The piano would win because I love the drama of saying to someone: 
"Oh you have a piano! Could I play a little?" 
And then whip out this amazing melody that raptures everyone. 


10. If you could sit down with your 15-year-old self, 
what would you tell yourself? 

You will never be this thin again. 


11. What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money? 

Free time. 
Obviously it isn't money because if I chose money, 
I wouldn't be a SAHM right now. 
And yes, I love recognition, 
but clearly being a SAHM means I'm not getting a lot on a daily basis. 
So I think that "free time" is my obvious answer. 


12. What was the most agonizing hour of your life? 

You'd think childbirth but NO! 
In college, I interned at a Big 4 Audit Firm. 
A week before the internship ended, 
my car was vandalized and my work computer was stolen.
To tell you how bad this was, 
I filled 1 report with the police
 and no less than 10 reports with various departments of the Firm 
trying to identify what was on my computer, 
specifically client sensitive information. 

The last day of our internship came 
and they gathered all us interns in a room to hang out, 
while they called us in one-by-one to have our "internship exit interview," 
which was where we would either get a job offer or a "sorry buddy." 

I remember sitting in that room AGONIZING over whether my stolen laptop would deem me not acceptable for a future job with the company. 
I was so stressed and freaking out. 
I mean, if I didn't get that job offer, 
then I'd go back to my senior year of college without a job and 
WHAT A LOSER THAT WOULD MAKE ME (snort). 
Spoiler alert: I got a job offer. 
And then we all went out and got rip-roaring drunk. 


13. What's one dream that you've tucked away for the moment? 
How come? 

Running a marathon. 
A friend of mine is running the Philadelphia marathon in November. 
A few months ago I started training too. 
But around mile 11 I realized "I just can't do this right now." 
My postpartum body can't train like it used to. 
I used to be able to add a mile each week but I can't do that anymore. 

So when we are done with kids, 
I'm going to dedicate a solid 6 months to training, 
and finally go for it! 

14. What's something you've tried, then you'll never, ever try again? 

Cow stomach. 
Tried it in Hong Kong and nope, it is not for me. 
On the other hand, frog legs and chicken feet were delicious. 


15. What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment? 

Oliver's long nap that enabled me to write this post.