Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hat Trick

I finished a hat, visited with friends AND tried a new recipe last night. I feel this qualifies as a hat trick, which coincidentally is the only hockey term I know. A hat trick occurs when the same player scores 3 goals in one game. Please correct me if I'm wrong, you sports fans out there.

I love my hat, it has a cabled rolled brim and at first I was a bit concerned that it was going to look like a sailor hat. Luckily my girls assured me it would not, and I finished it up. Pic to follow. The pattern is here. I already knit a hat like this for my sister for X-mas, but I didn't quite follow the pattern as written, and hers lacks the rolled brim. This time I stayed true to the pattern, and it should be noted, that unless you have a really tiny head (and I most certainly do not) you should definitely add a few inches to the body of the hat before decreasing, or just be like me, cross your fingers and try it on while it's still on the needles and pray that you don't drop stitches. Still seeking a pattern for my next project which will be knit with some fab. super bulky I got for my b-day.

I think I said this before but new recipes means new recipes I make up. Last night I did a variation on the ever popular phyllo triangle and stuffed them with olive tapenade and ricotta. They were a hit! If you don't already have phyllo triangles in your bag of tricks, add them - they are cheap and people go nuts over them. I have a ton of leftover phyllo so expect another phyllo based recipe coming up. Tonight I will also be making up a recipe because I'm cooking up some turkey meatloaf and I never make it the same 2x. The new and improved Kate will be writing this recipe down though! Imagine it! Last night I also had the opportunity to try some absolutely delicious naturally raised pork and let me tell you, pork that is raised with care and eats good stuff tastes absolutely nothing like the cardboard you buy in the store. I can't wait until my freezer is filled with piggy goodness. Do I have qualms about ingesting an animal I actually visited with Maggie last summer? No way! I know that Mr. Piggie had a great life which I'm sure added to his deliciousness. I also intend to buy 1/4 of a cow this year too. My family is going to be a carnivorous trio.

The weather is beautiful today and I plan on taking a huge walk this AM, so that will get my exercise in for the day. We are having that kind of springy weather that happens in the middle of a Maine winter that gets you all hopeful and reminds you of spring - it lasts a couple of days until mother nature puts the old smack down on your hopes of flowers and doing anything outside without getting frostbite. No really, I like Maine winters.....It also looks like I will be finishing up the Yiddish Policeman's Union today which I highly recommend already.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm glad I added Meh...

Watched Wedding Crashers last night. It rates a big old Meh. Had some great sort of ad libbed dialog, but the whole story line was very predictable. It was kind of weird though because in one scene Owen Wilson is all depressed and turns into a drunk and is reading a book about not killing yourself, and then you know like 6 months ago he did just that very thing. Why are you watching all these dumb comedies you ask? I dunno, I'm in a comedy sort of mood. All I want to watch are comedies and documentaries. Maybe it's something in the air. Who knows. In fact, next up - 40 year old virgin. I'm going to predict right now it get's a Meh.....too. But I do love Steve Carrell so I could be wrong. Although can I just give out a woot woot because Lost is back on the air this week! Yes it's only 8 episodes, yes they had to cut the season short because of the writers strike, but oh Lost how I love thee.....

Should finish another knitting project as well as my book in the next couple days. I'm out!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Competitive OCD

I have this little Google tracker thing in the HTML of this blog, so that I can see how many hits I get, where traffic is coming from etc. One of the cool features is that I can see if people are reaching my site via search engine and what they typed in to get here. Generally it's pretty mundane, things like "knitting mittens" or "bulk food" but yesterday, oh glory, someone got here by searching for "competitive OCD". What?! First of all - Hello, awesome! Who is this person looking for competitive OCD? Are you still reading my blog? Do you want to have a competition? Because I am neurotic and I am competitive and it's totally on! Of course Mike and I immediately began speculating as to what an actual OCD competition would look like, as well as pondering such questions as "who would win in an OCD off? Rain Main or Detective Monk?" I vote Rain Man, cause he is crazy for reals, and a tad violent. Oh, and if you think the irony of me blogging about someone reading my blog is lost on me, especially when it's about competitive OCD, I can assure you dear reader, it is not.

I have reached the 30% goal mark for one of my goals, and well it's blogging. So um again, irony not lost. Second runner up is bird identification. New bird of the week - Wild Turkey. It should be noted that although I did not *see* the Turkeys in question - Mike saw them twice this week around the house while Mags and I were napping (I do believe him even though once he swears he saw an emu in our yard, but that's another story...) I see wild turkeys all the time and am putting them on my list. Besides, I love wild turkeys in fact, the ring tone on my phone is yup, wild turkeys gobbling. Not joking - some of you reading this have heard the turkeys. Am I a dork? Yes, yes indeed.

Also noticing the trend in bar movement is obviously things I like doing- as you can see reading books, watching movies, buying local food, driving less (which means rationlizing not leaving the house under the guise of saving gas) , visiting friends, these are all coming along quite nicely, where as all the stuff I *should* be doing like exercising and random acts of kindness, are still holding steady at 0. Ah well, I'm not even a month in. Besides, this is no revelation - Hey I have discovered that it's easy for me to do the stuff I like doing! Wow!

Saturday night I went and saw some friends perform in a local production of the Crucible. I would tell you to go see it except it's only running for one more weekend and it's sold out. Sorry you missed it suckas! However if you have the chance to go see the Crucible I recommend you do so. The meh. movie version of it starring Winona Ryder is acceptable. It's about the Salem witch trials, and I will try to keep my feelings and notes brief, as I could probably write about 10 pages on all the different things I thought of after seeing the play. One major thing I came up with is, I think that it's human nature to persecute other human beings. It seems like every generation has some "other" to point their fingers at Christains (romans) then Jews (christians), then witches, then communists, now terrorists. That's a pretty dumbed down version of it, and I apologize for any persecuted groups I left out. Those were the major ones that came to mind. I mean of course there is racial persecution but I think that may fall into a different level of intolerance all together. Maybe not. Maybe I'm being racially insensitive. Anyhow, go see the Crucible in one form or another.

One of the new items of clothing obtained - blazer - didn't fit so I gave it away! Yes! That one counts as a double whammy. I feel like there is more to add, but I'm done writing for the evening.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Another movie down. Last night I watched The Devil's Playground which sounds like one of those Rob Zombie post apocalyptic gross outs, but actually it was about Amish people. The premise is this: We (the Amish call us non-Amish the English) live in what is commonly called The Devil's Playground, and they - The Amish - obviously don't really agree or participate with our lifestyle except when a child turns 16 they are allowed to do whatever they want, i.e. freak out and smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex, watch TV, drive cars, wear English clothes etc. The Amish allow their kids to do this because they believe that people should choose to be Baptized and are not Baptized as children as in other religions, so if the kids go off and experience all this crazy stuff and then come back to join the church the theory is that they will be much happier because the choice is theirs and they know what they are missing. Oh, and there's no time limit - so you can leave when you are 16 and then come back whenever, most people do by their early 20's. Predictably the movie followed three kids, one who went back, one who didn't and one who was undecided. I was kind of excited to watch this movie but in the end wound up inventing yet another rating for movies -Meh....this is accompanied by a half-hearted shoulder shrug. It was mildly interesting yet mildly boring, and the production was terrible. I felt like I was watching a thesis project for film school. I had hoped it would be as interesting as the documentary about the professional scrabble players - Word Wars - which I loved even before I started my scrabble obsession. One interesting thing was that the Amish are now experiencing the highest retention rate of church members in the history of the Amish church - it's like 90%. That's huge, that means that 90% of the kids take off go out in "our world" and then say - this sucks, I want to be Amish. It might have something to do with the fact that Amish are not allowed to continue schooling past 8th grade so probably options are limited for employment out here in the Devil's Playground. Anyhow,The Devil's Playground gets a big Meh... not a complete waste of time, but it had such potential!

I paid a visit to my grandmother yesterday which is always fun because Maggie absolutely LOVES her (of course) and it's so cute to see them interacting. My GM is in the early stages of Alzheimer's which is totally bizarre because she seems all normal and then, like yesterday, needed me to explain to her how the library works. "Soooo you get all these books for free?" She asked. 'uh yeah, but I have to take them back." I replied. "Hmmmm" was the response. It should be noted we have this conversation every time I go to her house after I go to the library which is often since it's located across the street from her apartment. It's hard not to get thrown off guard and get confused myself when she busts out these nuggets of incomprehension because she seems fine about 80% of the time, and hopefully will stay that way.

While at the library I picked up The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. Weird choice huh? I grabbed it because it was recommended by Uncle Stevie. Ok, not to me personally, but on his shortlist for Boarders which is here. I plan on reading all of them provided the library has them. Uncle Stevie also has a couple of lists he made for Entertainment Weekly in his semi-regular column "The King Of Pop". Now you may know of my love for Mr. King, as illustrated by my inane use of the name Uncle Stevie (which a lot of fans call him, it's not just me that's crazy.) I will read, watch, listen to pretty much anything he recommends, but maybe not for the reasons you think. As a writer, one of the most important things you can do is read, and consume other forms of intellectually stimulating materials -it's exercise for your brain helps it to come up with good new stuff. Anyhow if you find a writer you really like, not just for the stories but for the construction of them, the development of characters, style, the nuts and bolts and not just the obvious is a good story teller (lots of good storytellers are horrible writers.) you should not only read the materials they write, but the materials they read. How wonderful is it that in this modern age we are able to have a connection with writers, and find out what stimulates them! How cool would it be if I had a list of Hemminway's favorite books, or Shakespeare's top 10 list of must see plays! No I don't plan on writing horror novels or even suspenseful ones - though I won't rule it out - it's the style I love, the word smithing if you will.

That leads me to my next thought, one of the goals of this list is for me to experience new things, not just in the "new things" category, but also new movies, new books, new music etc. I would love it if you out there blogland would send me your favorite movies, books, musicians that you want me to check out. Either a comment or e-mail is cool. Oh, be forewarned, if I don't like it I will not hesitate to give it a poopsandwich. Nothing personal, I'm just honest, but please don't let that deter you, I just think you should be warned.

One more thing, I forgot to mention I obtained some "new" clothing. I use quotes because actually they are some jeans and a blazer I got at the thrift store during my giant sweater haul. That's it I'm out.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another book, another ditched knitting project

One of the things I am learning about myself from the list, is my inability to complete tasks I am not that thrilled to do. Case in point - knitting projects. I will often start two or three projects and rip them out before I find one I really like and complete it. The mittens I had been working on, and by working on I mean started and then stuck in my knitting bag because I hated them, have been ripped out. Instead I am working on a super cool hat for myself with some absolutely beautiful yarn my friend Julia gave me for my birthday. I made the same hat for my sister for X-Mas and loved it. I hardly ever knit things for myself, and was whining yesterday about how I don't have a cool hat. Um duh. Knit one out of your super fab new yarn numbnuts. Yeah that's right, I called myself numbnuts. Pipe down or I will give you a knucklesandwich. Gee Whiz! Anyhow, on the needles - one fab hat.

Another thing I've discovered is that while scrabble is entertaining, it's not a great place to learn new words. Ok let me rephrase that it's not a good place to learn useful words, words I'm going to incorporate into my everyday life. Words like radome. What's a radome you ask? well, it's a dome like shell used to house radio equipment. Yeah, I will use that probably as much as I use Vang - which I had hoped had something to do with Vampires, a subject that comes up quite often in my interaction with friends and family, for real. But alas no. Vang is some sort of rope on a sailboat. Boring. I'm not even going to count them. SO there boring words! Take that!

You may have noticed that I have given away 3 things. Technically it's a lot more than 3, but again, I'm a bad ass so I used restraint. I gave away a huge pile of magazines. But wait you say, a huge pile of magazines, isn't that garbage? Uh, no. Magazines are thin little books full of useful information to be hoarded and piled around the house. I gave away good stuff - Vanity Fair! Martha Stewart - the Thanksgiving Issue no less. OK, thing 2 - bag of Maggie's shoes that don't fit. There were probably 5 pair in there. Again, good stuff. Anyone with a kid knows you are lucky if their shoes last you I dunno 4 months? And finally thing 3 - a bag of plastic knitting needles. I have finally decided that just because someone - aka my grandmother - gives me something doesn't mean I am destined to keep it for all eternity, especially if it's something I don't like and won't use. Like say, a dozen pair of of plastic knitting needles. I donated these needles to the thrift store in Edgecomb located in the bottom of the church. Now I am very tempted not to count this donation because well, the whole purpose of getting rid of stuff is to reduce the amount of clutter in my house, but it just so happens that yesterday they were having a bag sale. If you are unfamiliar with thrift store bag sales, it's not actual bags that are on sale - you buy a bag for one dollar and fit as much crap in it as you can. Let's just say I spent two dollars. I bought every single wool sweater they had. Which I recycle and use for craft projects. I'm still going to count the needles though.

I just read a really fun book by Candace Bushnell, who unless you live in a cave - or are a man - probably know wrote Sex and the City. This is how chic lit should be written. Recently I read a few chic lit books, let's see I guess the best way to describe chic lit is - "classy" romance novels, think The Devil Wears Prada, - yes this was a horribly written book before it hit Hollywood. As some of you probably remember I was actually pissed off when I finished that book because it sucked and was a best seller, two thing that when combined stir me into a frenzy of whining and bitching and "why not me's?????" and I called you to share the joy. Anyhow I am usually painfully disappointed by chic lit books with their horrible writing, predictable story lines and stock characters - think spunky young upstart from nowhere lands in the big city, taken advantage of by mean rich dude, turns her nose up at cute working class guy, compromises her values only to find out she's an idiot, hooks up with cute poor guy only to find out that he's a rich kid who wants to pay his dues, the book ends with them snuggling in a B&B or kissing in the rain. That right there is the plot to about 90% of chic lit novels, if not all of them. Anyhow most of them get a poop sandwich. But not Ms. Bushnell, she is like the holy grail of chic lit writers, in fact I don't know if she's even in the same category because I think she sort of invented the genre. I read Trading Up, which is about the inner workings of the New York social scene, and this crazy bitchy model with very few redeeming qualities. This book had no heroine, which is a bold move. You didn't so much as cheer for the main character as you wondered what cringe worthy thing she would do next, but kept reading because it was just so good. Also, the writing was excellent. Not dumbed down, not cleaned up, did not insult my intelligence yet it was an quick read and I finished it in 2 days. Trading Up gets a Double Woot!

Yes, I'm aware I have yet to post pics OR add my list of birds. I'll get to it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Superbad is well....superbad

Another movie down. I watched Superbad last night, and it was super boring. In fact while I was watching it I schemed up a new Kate rating system for movies. A movie can receive one of four ratings - A Double Woot! (like V for Vendetta) - A single Woot! (Knocked Up) - 1/2 a poop sandwich (Superbad) - or a whole poop sandwich (luckily have yet to see one yet for the list, but an example would be Lost In Translation.Don't e-mail me about this movie. It sucked. You're not going to change my mind.) Superbad receives 1/2 a poop sandwich because it sucked, yet I did not turn it off, fall asleep, OR end up pissed off for wasting my time watching it. Plus I would say it had about 15 minutes of actually funny material. I have a special place in my heart for the coming of age high school movie. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Breakfast Club, Clueless, Mean Girls, and of course Dazed and Confused all are in my top favorite movies. These movies kind of get it right, they have a realness and are actually funny. This movie was just a bunch of kids swearing and saying very bad words. OOOOOO. They said Vagina like 90 times. I'm shocked! Look, I have a two year old that has said worse words than vagina. I myself descend from a family of pirates that - especially my dad - have made up some of the most fantastic swearwords of all times. I'm trying to keep this blog "clean" but if you e-mail me I will treat you to my favorites. Anyhow, this movie was trying too hard to be funny and gross. OOO Teens drinking and having sex - wow controversial! In an effort to counteract this negative review (I'm trying to be more positive) I highly recommend The Point. It gets a Double Woot! of the highest order. Yeah, it's a kids movie, but probably one of the best ones ever made. You all need to watch it. First off, it's narrated by Ringo. Secondly, you will probably cry because it's about finding "The Point." anyway just take my word for it. SO to sum up - Superbad - 1/2 a poop sandwich. The Point = Double Woot!

I identified 2 more bird species - Cedar Waxwing and Grossbeak. I identified these at my parent's house. I have given up on the illusion that I will identify 30 different species at my feeder. I'm gonna make a list on this site with all my birdies. Can I just say that Grossbeaks are so cool - it's the closest thing Maine has to a parrot. They are either bright red or bright yellow and green, and they have those cute parrot beaks.

I tried a new thing yesterday but, I don't really want to say what it is because it's kind of embarrassing. No it doesn't involve sex. Anyway take my word for it.

I'm in the middle of a series of books, but they are really long so I think I'm going to take a break and read Trading Up by Candace Bushnell, because it's basically the mental equivalent of cotton candy.

Mittens are kind of at a standstill, mostly because I'm at that point where I'm too far along to rip it out and start over, but not super excited about the pattern, mostly because they are knit back and forth on two needles instead of in the round on dbl points. Now if you don't knit this is probably a lot of blah blahing to you, but you should know because in my opinion everyone should knit, the world would be a better place if we were all marching around sporting our own hand knit hats. There's a certain satisfaction in knowing that knitting is so simple - tying knots with sticks, and there are only two stitches in different combinations - knitting and purling - and either adding or subtracting either that make such cool patterns. Anyhow, I have been intimidated for a long time by knitting on double pointed needles, which is basically splitting your stitches between 3 or 4 needles and knitting in the round. It takes a while to get used to all the needles, I usually use circular needles which also makes things in the round, but you are limited to how small you can go. Long story long, it's much easier to knit mittens in the round on dbl pts. in one nice tube than it is to knit them flat and stitch them up. That's the other thing about knitting, you really are just knitting tubes all the time because really, our bodies are just a series of long skinny pieces that are covered up by tubes . Ok, after all this I think I might rip them out anyway....

And Finally, I have a bunch of new words I've learned - Thank you Scrabble! That I will be posting later. I'm out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just some stuff

Ahh...the bars are moving. The list continues! I recently completed a book - AND a knitting project (pics soon - of the knitted thing, not the book) which are big fun things. On to the next book - which is the next in the Otherland series, and my next knitting project which is a pair of mittens.

You may have noticed that I changed the list entry "random acts of kindness" to just "acts of kindness" there seems to be a lot of stickiness around the whole random thing. Like, first of all if you have a goal of 30 random acts of kindness in essence they aren't random because they are planned. See what I mean? What if I knit something and give it to someone all sneaky style. Is it random? Apparently not if I had that particular person in mind when knitting them the item. Anyway it's taking up too much of my brain space and besides I have done anything particularly nice for anyone lately so it's not really that big of a deal. I will make sure that they are still good ones though, no weak acts of kindness for sure.

Additionally I may have mentioned this before, but there will definitely be crossovers. For example, I have been meaning to get involved with this program called F.A.R.M.S. (Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools, I know...cute right?) for a long time. So volunteering for an event with them would count as 1. something I've wanted to do for a long time (duh) and 2. volunteering.

I gotta say, I am really liking the list. I have had some sort of revelations about myself lately and I don't know if it's just me being philosophical or me paying such close attention to what I am up to because of the list, or me just being all retrospective because of the whole lame 30 thing. One thing that I have come to realize is that I have not been very nice to myself at all for the past oh 16 years. Basically since I have been in charge of myself I have chosen to not take care of my body at all and put shitty food into it, barely maintain it and am pretty mean to it. If I treated a kid like I treat myself, I would totally be taken away from me(does that make sense?) Of course I would never treat Maggie that way, I make sure she eats great food and has fun things to do and is encouraged and praised even for her smallest accomplishments and is living in a nurturing and loving environment, shouldn't I do the same for myself? I think the list has helped me to sort of praise myself for small accomplishments, and realize that some things I do/don't do are pretty silly - why is it I can't squeeze in enough water or exercise? Also I think that I am really filling up my time with more positive things, things that will help me grow as a person instead of stagnate. Yes the list is pretty self centered but I think that overall I am working towards being closer to the person I want to be instead of fighting the universe to turn into someone I am not, and because of that it is making me a much more conscientious parent. Anyhow, that's a lot of revelations for only a week in. I'll be interested to see what I have to say in 6 months.

Pictures of knitted item to come soon!
Oh also I had another new recipe - this one is a Kate invention. A big piece of pork - about 3lbs. in crockpot with diced tomatoes, celery, onions, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of water. Cook on Low for 7 hours. Serve over brown rice. Day 2. Buy small focaccia, cut in half, fill with pork. Eat. Exclaim how it's the best thing you've eaten in weeks. See, really it's 2 recipes, but I only counted it as one. I'm crazy like that.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A week in review

This has been a pretty interesting week, the first of the list, and I'm both surprised and a bit discouraged by my results thus far. About half of my items show any activity at all - see cleaning and movie watching, while other ones - the big ones shall we say - losing weight, volunteering are big old zeros. However, in an effort to remain positive, I'm quite pleased with not only my progress, but my diligence in keeping track of it. Just the act of tracking what I am doing and seeing marks in the plus column has done wonders for me mentally. I tend to get pretty down on myself, and doing this project has helped me to see, that at least for the last week, hey I am doing stuff!

I was able to "do something I had been meaning to do" which was complete an application for the Children's Literature Institute which is a course that pairs writers up with published authors, with the goal of having a completed publishable children's book manuscript once you complete the course. My list of things I've been meaning to do differs from New Things, because many of the things I have been meaning to do are kind of gross mundane thing that I tend to neglect since I have had Mags. Things like going to the dentist and getting a hair cut. Annual exam? Yeah, not so annual. The list is a good motivator.

Hopefully this week I will have a pic. of my first completed knitting project for the list. I thought it would be done last night but I screwed it up and had to rip out like 1/2 of it. Anyhow, I will have more later on. Also, the klog is still going, so be sure to check that periodically as well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bulking Up

I am really enjoying the neurosis of the list. I highly recommend starting one of your own, it's very interesting to chart my days, and satisfying to see the little bars move even if it's only a tiny bit at a time. Yesterday I was able to achieve two goals at the same time, that being reducing weekly spending, and reducing waste. The reducing waste number is going to tracked very unscientifically since I am not nearly neurotic enough to measure how much waste we produce on a weekly basis. I got the idea after cleaning out our cabinets of all expired foods (an alarming amount) and stacking the folded up boxes in the entryway. Combined with the 3 or 4 snow storms we had after Xmas, and the garbage trucks inability to come up the slippery slope, we quickly amassed what I thought was an astounding amount of boxes. As many of you know although recycling is a good thing to do, the best answer is to not create the waste in the first place. I decided to combat the waste problem in two ways. 1. Buy as much as possible in bulk 2. Compost. Composting is something I have tried to do sporadically and it always ends up with a nasty bowl of garbage on my counter and me trudging angrily out to the edge of the lawn, where I dump the rotten food - which my dog promptly eats and then treats us to her lovely dog farts for at least two days. This time I am going to go to the hardware store and buy one of those nice black composting boxes and put it in a convenient location, and a small bucket with a lid for the counter. The bulk food is another story all together. This is actually a lot of fun. Yesterday when I was shopping I happened to have 3 different kinds of spices on my list. Usually that would put a pretty heavy dent in my weekly shopping budget. This week, I FINALLY checked out the bulk spices at the food co-op. All I have to say is duh. Why I hadn't done this sooner I don't know. I was able to buy enough ginger, red pepper flakes and chili powder to fill up a glass spice jar with some left over, for about a dollar each. Last time I bought red pepper flakes, it cost me about 4.00. Duh. Another huge savings was the bulk coffee. I got some really fancy Italian espresso for 8.99 per pound. Right now your thinking hey - that's about how much I pay for my little vacuum sealed packs. Oh really? Go look at the label right now, how many ounces in the pkg. I'm guessing 12. A friend tipped me off to this fact recently. A pkg of coffee costs .83 per oz but bulk coffee costs .56 oz. We drink an astounding amount of coffee here, so this is going to add up super fast. I filled an old PB jar with organic raisins for a dollar, which I have paid around 4.00 for in the past as well. I also bought lentils and granola in bulk at a huge savings. The bulk foods are going to be stored in just some standard Ball Jars which you can buy anywhere for about 7.00 per 12. I like this because I think they look nice, plus I can see how much of any one item we have at a glance.

Enough about bulk food! Last night we watched Knocked Up. This movie was hilarious. I'm not sure if it's as funny for people who haven't had kids or are married, but it was probably one of the best comedies I have seen in a long time. So far I have watched 2 good movies and 0 stinkers - yay!

That's all for today. I'm out.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Books and Movies and Cleaning Oh My!

Initially when I set up the 30 list I thought that 30 minutes dedicated to cleaning every day seemed like a lot. It's not. I far exceed it daily, but I'm going to leave the goal at 30 anyway :) It is nice to have a dedicated time for cleaning each day though, and Mags is getting into the act too. We set the kitchen timer each morning and then clean like crazy until it goes off, you'd be surprised how much you can achieve in 30 minutes. So, although it's not quite enough time it sure has injected some much needed fun into my daily routine.

Last night we watched V for Vendetta. I know, very last year of us. This movie has been recommended to me by just about everyone I know and now I understand why. It was an excellent movie, and very pertinent for today's political and societal climate, I highly recommend it! It may seem counter intuitive that I am trying to watch 30 minutes less of TV, yet 30 movies. My movie watching is not going to infringe upon my non-TV watching. First off, I was finding myself watching truly horrible TV out of habit (Girls Next Door - anyone? anyone?) and I think that movies are a much better use of my time. I won't count DVD's of TV shows though, I think that is kind of cheating. Man, you all get a peek into how truly neurotic I am. All of my goals have little rules :)

I am reading the Otherland series of books right now written by Tad Williams. I actually read the first one before I started the list, so in all fairness it did not count. It's a really cool series about some folks that get trapped in a Virtual Reality world. One thing that I find pretty interesting is that the first book was published around 1997, which means it was probably written in the early 90's. Although details are murky as to how far in the future this is supposed to take place, Mr. Williams was right on with many of his predictions . For example, everyone runs around with these data pads, which are totally iphones! I think that the reading portion of my goal is going to be easily achieved and highly enjoyable. Also, I love audiobooks, and intend to count those as books "read" I will note that though. I download them all from audible - which I think is part of itunes, and am totally addicted!

Blog posts vs. writing time. One more rule, my blog posts do NOT count towards my 30mins a day writing goal. That time is for working on other stuff. Which I have been neglecting thus far.

I am knitting totally sweet present for someone, and will post pics. after I give it to him. I don't want to spoil the surprise though, but it's da bomb diggity - if I do say so myself. You may be wondering how I keep track of all this stuff. No? Well I will tell you anyway. I set up an excel workbook with each goal, and a sheet for each month. At night I update each column, which then calculates which the percent of the goal I have achieved. I love excel. Seriously, I make excel spread sheets for Thanksgiving, to keep track of who is bringing what etc. If I wasn't so terrible at math I would have made a great accountant. Anyhow, to update my progress bars, all I do is change the numbers in my little HTML thinger that got from this site. I was a bit intimidated and it took me a while to get everything lined up, but I really like the result. And Finally, you may have noticed my Amazon links in the side bar underneath the progress bars. Here I will keep track of all the books, and movies I have read. Yes, it's kind of an ad, and yes if you want to be like me and buy books and movies I recommend from my site, I will get some money. I really like the app and how it looks, plus I like making money, so that's that.

That's it for today. After editing this I think I should've added - use 30 less commas and quotation marks per day :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rules Shmules

After discussing the LIST with some of you, I am starting to realize I better set up some rules, and also do some quick explaining about my SWEET new progress bars you see over here --->
First off the progress bars may look like they are moving very slowly and it might appear as though I'm slacking or taking my sweet time doing things, which I very well may be, however for a lot of the bars, the total I am looking for as cumulative over the year. So, even though I have been cleaning for 30 mins per day, my ultimate goal is 10920 mins. of cleaning for the year. Which sadly I will probably exceed but right now is only showing 1%.

So the rules. There was some discussion around the knitting goal - mainly this: does a pair of knitted socks or mittens count as 2 knitted items? I say yes, but many of you say no. I'm still considering this. Especially since many of the naysayers are non-knitters. Say that 3X fast - naysaying non-knitters! Secondly, I'm going to have to figure out the randomness of my random acts of kindness, does anyone have any thoughts on this? Do random acts of kindness have to 1. Involve strangers and 2. Be all sneaky and unnoticed? Also, what's the difference between kindness and good manners? For example, is holding the door open for someone good manners or an act of kindness? However, it was established that telling a girl in the bathroom at Gritty's that you like her dress is not an act of kindness. And finally: if I am running out of time at the end of the year, can I go nuts and say feed 30 meters and counts those as individual acts of kindness? Technically it affects 30 different people right? Sorry to dwell on this one, it's kind of an interesting topic for sure.

I plan on making this blog really fun, with lots of entries, photos, graphs (duh) and I hope you have a fun time reading about my journey. This project really speaks to the anal retentive, competitive, OCD side of my personality. Which is to say - my personality.

Monday, January 7, 2008

And So It Begins

As most of you know I turned 30 yesterday. Though intellectually I understand that it's just a number, blah blah blah, it's meaningless, blah blah blah etc. I really don't like it. So I decided to turn my crankiness towards the situation, and set myself up with a set of really crazy goals to complete, reflect, and blog on this year. Thus I have created The 30 List. It's pretty self explanatory. 30 things I want to do this year, all centered around the number 30. I plan to catalog my experiences and progress here, hopefully with some photos, graphs, and other fun widgets. So, here it is:

The Thirty List

30 Blog Entries
30 Books
30 Completed around the house projects
30 hours of volunteering
30 miles less per week driving
30 minutes less watching tv
30 minutes of exercise
30 minutes per day cleaning
30 movies
Try 30 New Recipes
30 New Things
30 New Words English
30 New Words Other Language
30 Ounces of Water Per Day
30 Random Acts of Kindness
30 Submissions
30 Visits With Grandmothers
Obtain 30 items of New clothing
Do 30 things I've been meaning/wanting to do
Give away 30 things
Identify 30 Bird Species
Knit 30 things
Listen to 30 New Tunes
Loose 30 Lbs
Reduce Household Expense by 30%
Reduce Spending by $30 Per week
Reduce Waste by 30%
Spend $30 per week on local food products
30 minutes of writing every day.

I know what you're thinking. Holy Moly - that's a lot of things. Well, some of them cross with each other, and some are going to be easily achievable, some will not. I understand that I may not be able to complete all my goals, but I am going to really hard to do so. If I achieve more than 30% of the goals on the list, I will consider myself a success! I hope y'all will take this journey with me and heck, start your own list!

Oldies but Goodies: