Archive for Reading & Writing

The 101 List – Year One. 365 Days Down, and Uh… More To Go.

Holy moly, I can’t believe not only is one year completed, but… HEY, I stuck with this project and I’m actually making decent progress on getting things done.

Example? I thought maybe I was nuts for setting a goal of 250 books in 1,001 days but when I finished the 111th book on December 31, I figured that maybe JUST MAYBE it was do-able. (Don’t ask me how many of those books turned out to be total crap – because some of those books were BAD. Though, if you have any questions on any of the books I read and wonder if it’s worth reading, go ahead and leave a comment and I’ll let you know). Post Christmas, and post-Barnes&Noble gift card extravaganza (I love when people give B&N gift cards – makes me happy), I have a pile of sixteen books waiting to be read. I have already read my first of 2010 – the sequel to The Nanny Diaries – so I’m on my way to continue kicking book-butt.

Over Christmas break, I finally went ice skating. My list dictates that I am going to go ice skating three times — I think perhaps the next two times I may leave the kiddos at home. Kidding. Sort of. They really had a blast skating, and I loved seeing them on the ice. I love to use ice skating for my cardio though, and when you’re hunched over a four-year-old trying to remain stable, well, you don’t really get a chance to get that heart rate up.

I also managed to go see a second movie by myself – the heart-wrenching movie “Brothers”. I sobbed. A lot. It was a great movie, but an emotional one.

I’ve been taking pictures – lots of them, and I’ve been tracking each day’s highs as well. I did the 12 days of Christmas. Paying it forward (often in the form of buying coffee for whoever is behind me at Target) just makes me so happy that I’m sure I’ll keep it up, long after the project is over.

And, yes, I’m keeping on with the list. I’ve got things already planned for 2010 – including a trip that will help me accomplish going to two states that I’ve never been. Concert tickets to an amazing show. Time away with friends. And somewhere in there, I’ll finally go to McDonalds and actually eat that stuff they call food – I get bonus points if I manage to keep it down, right?

I’ve gotten over half of the 50 state map postcards – so if you live in a state that I don’t have a card for, and you’d like to send one. Let me know. If you’re working on a 101 List, I’d love to hear about it and how your list is going.


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I’m Finally Reading Vonnegut

As I type this, “The Count of Monte Cristo” is in an envelope traveling media mail to a much better home than I could have ever provided for it. I couldn’t love or understand it quite like it needed. I couldn’t accept it for what it is. I was not a good book-owner, and fortunately, I have found a lovely new home for it.

And in its stead, I’ve started reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Nope, I’ve never read this or any book by Vonnegut before.

I find this kind of frustrating, actually, this reading of classics. To find that there are so many books out there that I haven’t read – and it’s not entirely that I haven’t wanted to. I mean, where were the teachers who were supposed to make me read these books? On one hand, I read a lot of books – and during the banned book week, I was surprised to find that many of the books I read in my American Lit class were on that list. In that respect, I’m shocked that those were a part of my school’s curriculum, but I’m glad to have read those.

But then people quote books or talk about their beloved favorites and in my head I’m saying, “Hmmm. Never read that. Or that. OR THAT.”

So, here I am with “Slaughterhouse-Five”. Page 38. In less than 24 hours, I’ve gotten further than I did in ten months with TCOMC.  I think I made the right choice.

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#79: The Daily High

I have a little ritual with my daughters at bedtime – I ask them seperately what their favorite and least favorite part of the day was (High/Low, if you will – I have to simplify because my three year old doesn’t really know what that means). I have a tendency sometimes to get bogged down on the aggravating nitpicky crap and forget that there’s some silver lining in the hooey I face, and so when I made my 101 List, I challenged myself to track the high of every day.

I’m doing it.

I bought a special notebook SPECIFICALLY for tracking the best part of each day. Sometimes the best part of my day is something small (example: 01/08/09: Saw a rainbow this morning – so pretty!), but that’s okay. The point is that even though your day may feel like the biggest steaming pile of crap, chances are, there was something good about it.

Some of my favorites have been:

01/01/09 My sister asked me to be in her wedding

01/16/09 Cheetos temporarily made my queasiness go away

01/18/09 Bought my domain name!*

02/04/09 I have awesome friends who support me when I’m stressed

02/15/09 RED WINGS GAME!

02/21/09 Got to take a nap – I needed that!

03/24/09 Awesome parent-teacher conference for Six – She’s reading at above a 3rd grade level! WhooHoo!

04/08/09 Spent the morning with the girls doing fun stuff. I am grateful for their health and their lives. Truly, TRULY lucky. 

I do a lot of silly things for my 101 List, but this is one of my favorite. I can’t wait to read it start to finish when my 1,001 days is complete.



*Still haven’t done anything with said domain name, but I bought it.

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March 2009 Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated here – mostly because the month of March basically reeked of technical difficulties – those difficulties persist, but I’m at least back at it and connected with the world again. Whew.

I made huge headway on my list of things that make me happy. When I’m done, I’ll post it with the pages over there yonder to your right. You’ll find that there is a common theme but I really tried to not just define my happiness with food and coffee. Mostly.

I read tons in March (amazing how much time there is when you’re offline), and I also got several more awesome post cards in the mail. I know I said I would get a PO Box set up for postcards – but I haven’t done that yet. I will, I will… That’s the thing about having 1001 days. I’m not feeling rushed. I’m sure I’ll hit panic mode in August 2011.

I sent tons of care packages in March (as I did in February – raise your hand if you got bombarded with cookies in the mail!). I also made a totally amazing book of my photos using Shutterfly. They had an awesome free deal going on for a free 8″ x 8″ photo book. I couldn’t resist. With only 20 pages and with my 365 project not yet complete, I chose only a selection of my photos to have printed in the book. I LOVE IT. I will definitely be compiling a complete book when I’ve finished my 365 and I’ll include all of my pictures in sequential order.

There’s more, there’s more, but I am on track getting things done. I did a few other things I’ll address later, in more detail… March was full, for sure.

Here’s to April and functioning technology.

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In Just One Day…

Gosh, I musta been motivated by my lack of sleep (NOTHANKYOUDAYLIGHTSAVINGSTIME), but this morning I finished “The Great Gatsby” AND left another note in a library book.


The book was one I didn’t really care much for. In fact, despite my wedging the note into the MIDDLE of the book, I didn’t get past page 30.

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Happy National Reading Day

In an effort to celebrate a few new holidays, my kids and I have jumped on the National Reading Day bandwagon to celebrate not only our love of reading but the birthday of Dr Seuss. We jumpstarted this weekend by venturing to the local Barnes & Noble – I let each of my daughter’s pick out a brand new book especially for today. I am a big fan of the library and use our library often for books – but cannot deny there is a simple pleasure in cracking open a new book and rading pages that have been untouched by others and knowing that when you’re finished, that book can find a home on your shelves. So, one new book for each of us.

Today, Pumpkin and I went to the library. I picked up a few books and we also got four books by the birthday-dude himself, Dr. Seuss.


I’ve been Twitter-ing Dr. Seuss quotes today (I’m sure a large percentage of people are annoyed, but Oh well – after today, y’all are off the hook until next year).


As for me, I’m definitely reading today. I have two books cracked open: “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” and “The Ten Year Nap”. Both good (though Chelsea Handler is definitely a more fun pick for Monday).
Happy Reading Day to you – what are you reading?

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Catch-22 is O-V-E-R

I can’t believe it took me over a month to read a book.

I am actually kind of annoyed with myself.

AND I may have done a little dance after finishing the last page of the book this morning. Just a little one. Then I whooped real loud and put the book on my shelf.

I am a very fast reader. I always have been. Finishing a book in a day or two? Not uncommon for me. Even on the outside, to take a few days to read a book – even that’s a little on the slow side. So here I am over a month after starting “Catch-22” and I just finished it today. WTF.

What I realized while reading it:

1. There are some truly FUNNY moments – I mean, laugh out loud funny moments.

2. Each chapter is about ten pages. Ten pages of a whole lotta words squished on each page.

3. One chapter at a time, for the most part, was all I could digest in one sitting.

Sad but true.

I didn’t hate “Catch-22” but I felt some characters were more interesting than others, so certain chapters were SO good and certain chapters made me fall asleep on the couch, book in hand (True story, happened this morning). I have had several people tell me how much they love this book – if you’ve read it, where on the spectrum do YOU fall?

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