Thursday, February 18, 2010

Conclusions of the week

I have come to a few conclusions this week, and I would like to share them with you.

1. The Olympics are an evil, time-sucking device. I type this while watching the men's long program. Because of the Olympics, I have gotten very little work done on my story this week--a story for which I finally have ideas, I might add.

2. It's hard to spend 40 hours at work, 20 hours writing, an undetermined amount of time trying to read every book on the face of the planet, and still have time to do... well, anything else. Like you know, sleep. So I think this conclusion is that Sleep is not for the week. (Misspelling on purpose.)

3. I might be a wee bit over ambitious. I keep thinking, "Oh, I need to work on X for my 101 things!" but I actually still have over a year and a half left. I've added a few more things that I've started on... which I'll get to next.

So, those are my conclusions for the week. Now on to the List. First, an update on the passport: I have two independent confirmations that the State Department is in receipt of my passport application: Delivery confirmation from USPS, and they've cashed my check. Hopefully this means I'll get a new passport in the mail any day now.

I've italicized a few more items. I found a beautiful 2000 piece puzzle that I can't wait to start, and I purchased a recipe book at Barnes and Nobel the other night. I'm not sure which project will take more effort--I've got to find and rewrite or type out all my favorite recipes for the book, and of course the puzzle won't exactly be easy.

I'm just itching to cross another thing off the list, but I guess I'll have to wait. Coming next week: A wrap up post on all the "once a month" items on my list.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The more things change...

I found a quote on a blog that I think summarizes this entry really well: "If more than five percent of your experiments turn out as planned, you're probably not being creative enough." I've read over enough 101 blogs to know that my list will change and adapt over the next 2+ years. I will change, my interests will change, my place in live will change, and thus my list will have to change to keep up.

In fact, it already is. I was in a rush to finish my list, and many of the things I found from others sounded interesting but as I've thought about them, I've realized that to fit me they need to be tweaked. I haven't changed the core purpose of them, but the expression is different.

#25 is now Order something healthy six times. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with my love for hamburgers. I like them because they are a safe menu item, and when I stray from that I am frequently disappointed. However, they are not a healthy choice. This option actually fits the category of health better.

#27 is now Take care with my appearance every day for two separate weeks. The original thought about leaving my hair down is interesting and might be part of how it turns out, but what I really want is to have two separate weeks where I take the time to think about how I look rather than just putting on the first convenient top to go with my ubiquitous jeans.

So far that's it. I know other things will change, but for now...

Oh! Status update: I have ordered my passport. This is one thing I will wait to change to "in progress" until I actually have it in my hot little hands. There's just too much that could go wrong still... though I did actually open the priority envelope to make sure I'd signed the application. (I had.) Hopefully it won't take too long to get here, simply because I'm dying to see it. :D

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Early successes

I admit, I cheated a little. I put a few things on my list that I was already in the process of doing. You'll notice there are several that have been italicized now to indicate that I'm working on them.

The big news of the day is that I have crossed #85: Set up my home office off the list! I knew it would be one of the first to go, because this is where I planned to spend my tax refund. However, I did not anticipate that I would complete it today.

I put this on the list because spending a lot of time on the couch typing on my laptop is bad for me in so many ways. It's caused back problems, wrist problems, and probably other problems I'm not aware of. If I'm serious about #2 (Spend 80 hours a month writing), then I needed to find a way to make this physically possible for myself. My list of needs included a desk with a keyboard tray, a mouse that would fit my hand nicely, and possibly a new ergonomic keyboard.

I went shopping with my family yesterday and found the perfect mouse... except there was no receiver. Of course its a discontinued model, so I couldn't just look for it at a different store. The salesman tried to tell us that we wouldn't be able to find it online because it's a Best Buy brand, but he was wrong. Within five minutes of looking on Amazon, I found the same mouse for ten dollars less.

We also spent time looking at desks. I looked around more after Mom and Dad went home, and finally settled on the first one we saw at Staples. Heather helped me set it up (no, we weren't done by 9:00... or by 10:00...), and I think this will be a big help in my ongoing attempts to be more... um, writerly oriented.

And finally, the keyboard. I have an old Microsoft ergonomic keyboard that I love. The design really works for me. However, the key action is very stiff, which puts more pressure on my wrists and also makes a lot of racket. I tried a Logitech model last week, but it just didn't have the nice rounded form that the Microsoft ones do. I played around with the newest version from Microsoft while we were at Staples, but with a budget conscious mind I decided to attempt cleaning the old one first to see if that helped. It didn't. Back to Amazon I went. Once again I found it for ten dollars less than it is in the store, and this time it qualified for free shipping with Amazon Prime!!

I suppose technically this goal will be in progress until I receive the mouse and keyboard, but since I've paid for them I'm considering it a done deal.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The List!

What's this all about, anyway?

101 things? 1001 days? What on earth am I talking about?  I'm talking about the Day Zero Project. The idea is simple: Create a list of 101 things you would like to complete in the next 1001 days. The tasks must be specific and measurable, and should require some amount of work on my part. The time frame allows for more in-depth goals, such as learning a new language or traveling abroad.

I have about 60 things on my list right now, and I've set the start date for February 2--my birthday. I'm hoping to have the list complete by Tuesday, but we'll see how that goes. If you have any suggestions to make, I'm open. I'd also like to organize it into categories before I post it here.

Coming soon: The List (complete or not)

 Edit: The list is complete!

All right, here it is. I stayed up ridiculously late finishing this, but I wanted to get it Done. I'm attempting to separate these into categories, but I don't know how successful I'll be... Here goes nothin'

plain text--not started
red--goal changed
italics--in progress
purple bold--complete


1. Join/start a writing group
2. Spend at least 70 hours a month writing, or 60 in February (3/31)
3. Keep a writer's notebook every day for a full month (0/30)
4. Do a writing prompt from every day for a month (0/30)
5. Read five books on the Regency period (1/5)
6. Finish His Good Opinion
7. Begin another fiction work
8. Write 100K in NaNo 2010
9. Read a book on professional blogging
10. Start a writing blog
11. Read five books on writing/publishing (0/5)
12. Begin querying process


13. Lose 25 pounds
14. No fast food for a month
15. Buy a bike--and use it
16. Walk to Rivendell
17. Exercise at least two days a week for two months (0/8)
18. Sleep eight hours minimum every night for two separate weeks (0/7)  (0/7)
19. Go to the dentist
20. Give up soda for three separate months (0/3)
21. Try pilates at least once a week for two months (0/2)
22. Use my pedometer again
23. Commute to work by bike twice a week for 36 weeks (0/36)
24. Take vitamins daily for one month six times (0/6)
25. Order something healthy 6 times (0/6)
26. Take one day off from the internet each month (3/31)


27. Take care with my appearance every day for two separate weeks (7/7) (0/7)
28. Get a mani/pedi
29. Get a LBD


30. Make a custom recipe book
31. Attend a cake decorating class
32. Try at least one new recipe a month (3/31)
33. Bake a loaf of bread
34. Trade out all my most used spices for Penzey's
35. Try five new dessert recipes (0/5)
36. Learn how to make a soufflé

Fun and Relaxation

37. Spend six rainy days watching films in my PJs (1/6)
38. Have one lazy Monday each month (6/31)
39. Have a traditional picnic in a park
40. Go ice skating
41. Go to the zoo
42. Buy myself flowers
43. Finish a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle

Arts and Crafts

44. Finish afghan
45. Finish senior year scrapbook
46. Finish baby book
47. Get my NaNo prints framed

Personal and Spiritual Development

48. Don't complain about anything for a week
49. Identify 101 things that make me happy (0/101)
50. Create a list of ten flaws I have
51. Create a list of twenty things I like about myself
52. Journal every day for a month (0/30)
53. Write down one thing I'm thankful for every day for a month (0/30)
54. Blog about something positive every Wednesday for two months (0/8)
55. Memorize 101 new Bible verses (0/101)
56. Read through the entire Bible in one year


57. Go on a random day trip to someplace I don't usually go
58. Go hiking three times each summer (0/9)
59. Spend three days in Portland as a tourist (1/3)
60. Take a road trip
61. Go to Disneyland


62. Build an emergency fund
63. Pay off my credit card
64. Pay off Mom and Dad
65. Pay off Dr. Lewis
66. Make no extraneous purchases for 31 days (0/31)
67. Shop for a week of groceries using only coupons or sales four times (0/4)
68. Save money by not going out to eat for a whole month
69. Save as much spare change as I can, not touching it until the 1001 days are complete
70. Track daily expenses for three months (0/3)


71. Learn Italian
72. Learn Elvish (Sindarin)
73. Watch ten documentaries (1/10)
74. Try something I might be terrible at


75. Read The Hobbit again
76. Complete current reading project
77. Read the entire History of Middle Earth
78. Read at least five more books from The Guardian's list of books we can't live without (0/5)


79. Get an iPhone
80. Sort through all my papers; bin/shred the ones I don't need, file the ones I do
81. Change our phone/internet service
82. Backup my computer--flash drive or external hard drive
83. Be to work early every day for two separate weeks (0/5) (0/5)
84. Throw out or donate clothes that no longer fit or are worn out
85. Set up my home office

Do unto others

86. Pay for the person in line behind me
87. Send a letter to a friend once a month (1/31)
88. Send someone a care package
89. Finish sending Christmas cards
90. Have ten dinner parties (0/10)
91. Have five tea parties (1/5)
92. Convert to entirely reusable shopping bags
93. Randomly give flowers to three people (1/3)
94. Send someone an encouragement card


95. Get my passport
96. Take a trip to England
97. Take high tea in England
98. Decide details regarding my move to England


99. Donate $5 to charity for every task I don't complete
100. Blog the results of this list
101. Evaluate after 1001 days are over: Was this good/fun/profitable?

Some of these are already in progress (notably #95 and #62), others are things I've thought about doing, but never gotten around to it (e.g. #34 and #45), and there are a few that I never would have contemplated if I hadn't trawled other lists for ideas (#49). If anyone has a suggestion for #74, I'm all ears.

As you can see from #100, my plan is to blog my way through this list. I'll be sharing both success stories and failures, as well as funny anecdotes that happen along the way. This is my first foray into purposeful blogging, which I hope will be helpful when I'm ready for #1.

 If you're also participating in the Day Zero Project or if I've inspired you to do so, please post a link to your blog so I can follow your progress. I think a little camaraderie would help the 1001 days pass a little more quickly.