Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Progress Report

So you won't think I'm completely slacking on my list, I thought an update was in order.

#2 - Make wedding albums for the moms. I've started going through the 700+ digital pictures, cropping them to standard picture size, adjusting colors, etc, etc. My goal is to finish these in time to give them as Christmas presents, but that is going to be difficult at best...

#6 - Send Christmas cards on time. I've got many done. I'm just verifying addresses and then adding the stamps. Hope to make more progress on this tonight!

#26 - Say hello to the bus drivers. So far I'm succeeding in giving each and every one of them at least a 'hi' when I walk on the bus. Although there is at least one that I find extremely irritating. He's one of those severe sticklers to the rules, bordering on ridiculous at times. He won't allow anyone to stand in the aisle so if every seat is taken, you're shit out of luck. Even if its cold and raining outside and the next bus won't come for another 40 minutes. He actually pulled over the bus one day to march to the very back seat to inform the guy that he couldn't lay down across the seats. Are we back in elementary school because, seriously, that was the last time that happened in my bus-riding experience. Whatever... Everyone else is cool.

#95 - Write a scathing complaint letter to U.S. Airways. I've handed over the bulk of this responsibility to Greg. I unearthed the notes we took during our ordeal - yes, I totally took detailed notes so as not miss a single ridiculous moment. He'll write the letter, and I'll proofread and add in the extra withering condemnations as they come to me. I'll be sure to post it in its entirety when its done. But do yourself a favor and never ever fly with U.S. Airways. EVER!

Hopefully we can wrap up some of these projects in the next week! Wish us luck!

# 60 - Read 50 books

Mark 2 more off the list.

The first is The Thirteenth Tale about a famous writer revealing the secret story of her life to an unknown biographer. I won't ruin the plot or the twists by giving anything away. Let's just say that as you read the book, the mystery of her haunted past is slowly revealed. Incest, murder, mental disabilities abound.

I enjoyed this book, although I have to say it isn't one of my favorites. I wish I could have made the book club. Then maybe I'd have more insights into the title, but as it is, I'll just say its a good story.

The second is The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives. As the title would suggest, I'd place this in the chic lit category. But as I find most chic lit slightly annoying, I have to say this book was highly entertaining. It centers around the very privileged world of bored housewives with too much money and too few scruples. As soon as I read about $150 face cream made from cloned baby foreskin, I was hooked. Highly entertaining and shockingly appalling at the same time, I finished this book at 2 a.m. last night. Highly recommended for a brief foray into an alternate reality.

8 down, 42 to go.

Both of the above books went on at some lengths about Jane Eyre, a book I never read in high school. I'm taking that as a sign so its next on my list.

Then on to A Thousand Splendid Suns for my next book club meeting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

#92 - Aquarelle

Oh my goodness. It was so, so yummy. And such a cute, little place.

I had soft shell crab as an appetizer, snapper with shrimp for the main, and then carmelized poached pears for dessert (I'm drooling again just thinking about it). Greg had melt-in-your-mouth foie gras, smoky scallops and profiteroles. And they also brought out these little complimentary bits and pieces throughout the meal - a bisque, a sorbet and then these tiny little pastries. Very nice touch.

Of course, everything was to die for.

Now I just wish we could make the other 17 new restaurants that we'll visit be of that caliber. Of course, we'd be flat broke... and probably quite fat. But it'd sure be fun.

p.s. As we were sitting there, an older couple came into the restaurant quite late and just ordered coffee and dessert. Is this done? For some reason, I've just never thought of that as an option for nicer restaurants. But what a fantastic idea for when you feel like treating yourself but don't want to break the bank! Maybe we'll try that some time for some other swank restaurants in town.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

#93 - Cap City Comedy Club

One of Greg's coworkers won 20 free tickets to Capitol City Comedy Club a few weeks ago and gave us two. It turns out our free tickets were for a charity event benefiting some local children's organization.

How guilty did we feel when we heard that? But we tried to make it up to the kids by ordering a surplus of drinky-drinks. Anything for the kids, right.

So there were about a dozen or so comedians that each did 10-minute bits. There were several who were hilarious and a few who were just downright painful to watch. Its a small venue so the slightest bit of chatter tends to carry. People sitting a few tables away from us seemed to have gotten an early start to the evening festivities and so were a little careless about their noise level. Needless to say, this prompted a few comments from the comics. When the dumb guy (someone named Kenny) didn't take the hint, a few of the comics took the opportunity to completely berate him. Not that he wasn't deserving of a lashing, but it got a little uncomfortable at times. Luckily, they always seemed to follow up these times with a really good act to get everyone laughing again.

I wish I could remember the names of the ones that had me rolling. I'd love to catch them again sometime. Overall, it was a great night and at times I was laughing so hard I couldn't breath. Good stuff.


Oh my God. I just looked at the menu.

I'm drooling already...

#92 - Visit new restaurants

Greg eats out way more than I do. He will usually have fabulous lunches with his coworkers, while I'm eating leftovers in my office. Blah. (Okay, correction. Greg just snuck up behind me and pointed out the fact that he only goes out twice a week most of the time -disputable- and one of those is Double Dave's for pizza so its nothing special. Whatever. Its still more than me.) And when we do go out, its usually to the same restaurants we know we like. Boring...

So one of my goals is to try new places.

This wasn't exactly the level of quality I had in mind, but its new to me so it counts - Red Robin for burgers and bottomless fries. We were out shopping and drove by so Greg insisted I needed to try it. We split a spicy buffalo chicken burger (delish!) and a turkey burger with feta and lots of good stuff. Very yummy.

The second place was Bombay Bistro. Its right next to our local HEB so we'd see it all the time and say that we needed to try it but never did. Well, we finally made it. I was having a really bad day from work so Greg suggested we go. Its Indian food (obviously) with a nice ambience and decent food. The best thing though was the margarita and the mango martini. :)

18 more to go! And one of them is tonight. Tomorrow is our 5-year anniversary from when we first started seeing each other. (Honestly, I don't know how he's hung on for this long...) Greg is treating me to dinner at Aquarelle, a fancy-schmancy French restaurant here in Austin. I can't wait! Yay!

#60 - 5 down, 45 to go

So I can cross three more books off my list.

The first was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Its an amazing memoir about the author's childhood, growing up in extreme poverty with eccentric parents who shun all semblance of conventional life. The stories are incredible and would be hilarious if you didn't know they were true. Very good read - I highly recommend it.

The second was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (finally!). I somehow managed to avoid hearing anything about the last book of the saga for all these months and read on in great anticipation. I've loved these books throughout the whole series so its with a mixture of sadness and relief that I've finally finished them. I won't say anything about the plot so I can't spoil it for anyone else, but though it wasn't my favorite, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Harry Potter.

The last was Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I just happened across this title while I was in the library and recognized it from a recent movie. I picked it up to see if it was the same and, what do you know, it was. I have actually read another Neil Gaiman book (Good Omens) before and liked so I picked it up. This could easily be another one for the kids' genre with the exception of a few bits of gore and sex. What can I say, its no masterpiece, but its entertaining and a quick ride.

Now I've started The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield for a book club meeting I'm hoping to attend. I'll let you know how that goes.

Major, Major Catching Up To Do

Since I've been a slacker at blogging but have actually accomplished a few goals, I'm going to make separate entries for all the things I've done rather putting it into one massive post.

Hopefully I'll catch up and be better about my updates...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blog Neglect...

To the three people who read this blog: I realize how boring I've been lately. And I apologize.

Work has reared its ugly head, and I've kicked into ultra-frazzle mode. The tension in my brain has gone so far as to manifest itself into physical discomfort. My chest feels tight, my back and shoulders ache, and I can't seem to take a deep, cleansing breath no matter how hard I try. Right when I quiet myself down enough to go to bed, all these nagging doubts creep into my head so that I'm too buzzed and agitated to fall asleep. I've also been distracted by fantasies of beating my boss about the head with rolled up scientific journals every time we cross paths. Maybe its the sleep deprivation. At least I can still control my swinging arm.

Anyway, I promise to post a massive, comprehensive post of all the things I've crossed off my list in the last week and a half. And to do a better job of regular posting.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Re: #1 & #42

I talked to my little brother on the phone tonight. He informed me that apparently my mom didn't quite understand what FMB stood for. Or TTC either. So my dear, sweet sister took it upon herself to explain these things...

Thanks, Mel! Are you trying to give the woman a heart attack?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Score! #93 for free!

I just talked to Greg. One of his coworkers somehow won twenty free tickets for Cap City Comedy Club on Friday night. He knew that was on my list so he nabbed two for us.

I guess I will soon cross #93 off of my list too. WooHoo!

Monday, October 29, 2007

#69 Camp in Lost Maple State Park

I've wanted to visit this park for the last five years! We finally made it this past week-end. We had beautiful weather, which is a good thing because we actually ended up hiking for about 7.5 miles with our huge packs stuffed to the gills with camping gear. Note to self: invest in more light-weight "serious" equipment.

We set up camp at the primitive site at almost the farthest site away from the trail head. We had beer brauts and s'mores for dinner before settling in to sleep. The night was chilly, which made snuggling up in our sleeping bags all the more cozy and tempting.

The next morning, we set out to hike the rest of the West trail. Some of the maple leaves were starting to change colors, but not many. I'd love to come back later in November, but its a 2.5 hour drive from Austin, which makes it one hell of a day trip. We had a great time with our friends Mark & Brianna. I hope this won't be the last of our camping trips. The hill country is gorgeous and there are many more parks to explore.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

#60 (again)

2 down, 48 to go.
I didn't realize it until just now, but the book I finished last night, Black and Blue, is yet another Oprah Book Club selection. That wasn't intentional, I swear!

Its a very real and poignant story about an abused wife and mother who has finally had enough and disappears with her 12-year-old son. They live in hiding from her NYC cop husband as they both learn to live as a normal family again. Its heart-rending and emotional, and I couldn't put it down. Two thumbs up.

I've now started a memoir called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls for my second book club that meets in a few weeks. And at this rate, 50 books should be no problem.

Friday, October 19, 2007

#60 Read 50 books

One down, 49 to go.
A few weeks ago, I begrudgingly started this book. I say begrudgingly because when I first scanned the short write-up on, I thought Oh God. A book about some bitter divorcee's journey to self-discovery and enlightenment.

I tend to find books like this too self-indulgent and flowery for my tastes. I'm sure it's cathartic for the writer to dive headfirst into their own little world and wallow in it for a good while - I'm guilty of the same thing every now and then, as I'm sure most people are. But I don't necessarily care to wade my way through someone else's fluff. There was also obviously going to be a strong religious element to the book, which I automatically (and prejudicially, I'll admit) equate with being preach-y. (Confession: I have a bit of emotional baggage where preach-y religious types are concerned.) No, thank you.

When my book club selected it for our next discussion, however, I was forced to pick it up. And, honestly, I'm so thankful that I did. I absolutely love it! What's funny is that I was on the phone with my sister last week, and she interupted herself to tell me Oh my God. I'm reading this great book. You have got to check it out. So my sister and I (...and Oprah ...and half of the U.S.) can whole-heartedly recommend it.

There is no preaching or holier-than-thou undertones to this book. There is some self-indulgence, but always tempered with an honest, self-depricating sense of humor. The best word I can think of for this work is 'inspiring'. I won't give away the entire book, but it follows the author as she splits up one year of her life amongst 3 different countries as she's trying to find balance. She basically rides out a premature mid-life crisis in the most amazing, adventurous way possible. I'm more than a little jealous...

Read it! You won't be sorry.

Now I'm on to Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen. I'm actually already halfway through the book because I had started it while waiting my turn to check out Eat, Pray, Love. This one's a goody too, and surprisingly, along the same lines.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

#52 Score a soccer goal for my team

No, I did NOT score a goal during tonight's game. But that would be difficult seeing as how I was on defense the entire match. But I have to say, Greg was right. The cleats definitely helped. I'm improving with every game. Somehow I managed to steal the ball a few times and passed it back to our players, rather than the usual blindly desparate kick into dead space. Aside from one guy knocking me on my butt, I think I did a pretty good job. I can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. :)

Next game, its on baby! I'm playing offense, and I'm going to kick some serious arse!

#99 Print the list and hang it

I've printed two copies - one for my bathroom at home (our refrigerator is too clogged) and one for work. When I start a task that will last all week or all month, I'll highlight it to remind me to pay particular attention. And as I complete a task, I'll cross it off the list. There's something deeply satisfying about crossing items off a list - a real sense of accomplishment...

...even if its for a task as trivial as pressing the print button on your computer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

#42 Buy sexy, black FMB's

Wouldn't you know it... My first accomplished task involves buying new shoes.

I found these little babies while shopping with Greg on Sunday. They're by Tahari and were 60% off!

I also bought another pair of shoes on Sunday, but these were at Greg's absolute insistence, believe it or not... We stopped at Academy and bought a pair of Puma cleats for soccer. I swear, he was much more excited about this purchase than I was. But hopefully, they will help me accomplish goal #52, score a soccer goal for my team. We have our 7th match tomorrow. I'll see how much this improves my game. Greg swears they'll transform me into Super Woman.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The List

Family & Friends
1. Start TTC.
2. Finish our wedding album.
3. Finish wedding albums for moms.
4. Write a will.
5. Take my husband to visit my home town - in the 5 years we've been together, I haven't done this. Oops...
6. Mail holiday greeting cards on time.
7. Beat Greg at darts.
8. Take Greg to a couple's massage.

9. Funkify our guest bathroom.
10. Xeroscape our front yard.
11. Sew my own curtains.
12. Retile kitchen backsplash.
13. Tile the upstairs bathroom floor.
14. Sew my own throw pillows.
15. Refinish front door and paint it an auspicious red.
16. Strip every last scrap of wallpaper from our home.
17. Grow an herb garden.
18. Learn how to program the thermostat.
19. Chop down dead bushes in the back yard.
20. Plant climbing roses, hollyhocks, and yellow bells around the deck.
21. Buy new dining table and chairs.
22. Paint office walls.

Make the World a Better Place
23. Volunteer for conservation efforts.
24. Buy a hybrid.
25. Donate blood.
26. Say hello to the bus driver every day.
27. Vote in all local elections.
28. Learn CPR.
29. Smile at strangers for one week. Well, except the scary ones.
30. Volunteer at a local race.

Just for Me
31. Graduate with my PhD.
32. Learn guitar.
33. Learn and perform surface plasmon resonance experiments.
34. Obtain a scientific teaching position.
35. Get a facial.
36. Make a 100+ things that make me happy list.
37. Finish watching all episodes of Alias.
38. Purge 101 items from my life.
39. Take the mensa test.
40. Be able to sit Indian-style comfortably - I've never been able to do this...
41. One week, no T.V.
42. Find sexy, black FMB's.
43. Get new glasses.
44. Sew a quilt of all my running t-shirts.
45. Limit at-home computer use to one hour per day for a month (unless its for legit work!).

Health & Fitness

46. Beat my marathon PR of 4:31:28.
47. Run a 5K in sub 8-minute-miles.
48. Compete in an Olympic distance triathlon.
49. Wake up at 6:30 a.m. every weekday for 1 month.
50. Attend Austin Fit runs.
51. Ride in the MS100.
52. Score a soccer goal for my team.
53. Update immunizations.
54. No fast food for one month.
55. Take a multivitamin every day for one month.
56. Go vegetarian for one month.

Intellectual Pursuits
57. Practice French with someone.
58. Learn Spanish.
59. Learn basic Polish.
60. Read 50 books.
61. Read a book of poetry.

Cultural Pursuits
62. See an opera.
63. Watch a play at the Paramount.
64. See the Blue Man Group.
65. See a musical.

Adventure & Travel
66. Visit Asia.
67. Explore NYC.
68. Take a hot air balloon ride.
69. Camp in Lost Maples State Park during the fall.
70. Take a road trip to a state I've never been before.
71. Revisit Boulder.
72. Visit Auschwitz.
73. Update my passport.

Try Something New
74. Dye my hair.
75. Become scuba diving certified.
76. Submit a juicy secret to PostSecret.
77. Knit a sweater.
78. Buy an SLR camera.
79. Learn how to use SLR camera.
80. Learn to make creme brulee.
81. Attend a book signing.
82. See an IMAX movie.
83. Make a hanging mobile.
84. Submit a kitty picture to
85. Ride a mechanical bull.

Around Austin
86. See the Congress Avenue bats.
87. Tour the state capitol.
88. Cruise South Congress on 1st Thursday.
89. Swim in Deep Eddy.
90. Spend a night at Hotel San Jose.
91. Enjoy the gospel brunch at Stubb's.
92. Visit 20 new restaurants.
93. Night out at Capitol City Comedy Club.
94. Randomly pick a local band concert from the Chronicle.

95. Write a scathing complaint letter to U.S. Airways.
96. Buy a laptop.
97. Compile a cookbook of my fave recipes.
98. Organize photos.

And Finally...
99. Print this list and hang it in the bathroom.
100. Blog about all 101 accomplishments.
101. On July 12, 2010, make a new 101 in 1001 days list.

The Beginning

I love lists.
I love setting goals.
I love trying new things.
I love challenging myself.

So when I found out about the 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days Project, I jumped at it. So here's the deal. You have to set 101 goals for yourself and complete them within 1001 days - that's about 2 years and 9.5 months. A lot can be accomplished in almost 3 years.

The goals need to actually be something measurable and finite so you can check them off your list as you go. The goals also need to be both realistic and yet challenging.

I'm maintaining this blog as a record of my accomplishments (or at least attempts) in the hope that it will give me equal parts accountability and motivation. With any luck, I will be happily surprised by my productivity and growth at the end of this adventure. I can't wait to get started!

Officially, my countdown begins tomorrow. It ends on July 11, 2010. That seems so far away, doesn't it. But knowing me, I better get started right away. Wish me luck!