101 in 1001 in 2011

My 101 things in 1001 days ended without fanfare in May of this year. I did not complete my list but I did not expect to once Boo arrived in 2009. I originally began this project in 2008 after hearing several podcasters referred to it. The project was outlined at http://dayzeroproject.com/ and I spent a great deal of time working on my list. I had thought to post my list here but after a bit of introspection, decided that my list was for personal use and not public consumption. During the 1001 days I chronicled many of the completed things that seemed appropriate to share.

I had thought to evaluate my list and determine why I didn’t complete the ones I avoided but that seems futile at this point. I am not sure that I will make a list like this again. I divided my tasks into 10 main categories and If I were to do this again, I would consult the uncompleted list and begin to tweak from that list, slashing the wildly unrealistic. Instead, I switched to one theme a year. I’m undecided at this point whether this works for me either.

101 in 1001 2010 Update

My 101 things to do in 1001 days is rounding the home stretch. May 2, 2011 is day 1001 and I need to report that I have not finished my list nor will I. I’m still undecided about whether I will start a new 101 in 1001 list in May 2011. I’m thinking about taking off a month or two in order to compose a new, more realistic list. I’d like to try again knowing what I know now. I know I can better guess at what I’m likely to accomplish. Some of the goals were unrealistic, some I was too lazy to complete but mostly I had the most wonderful little boy in world and I allowed myself to be sidetracked from a list to pour myself into him. I think I made the wiser choice. I purposefully added some easy ones so that I could check them off quickly knowing that the rest would take effort. Here are my thoughts on most, but not all, of the categories as well as what I’ve accomplished thus far.

Art/Craft
I wish I had put knit a sweater on the list, I’m doing that, I wasn’t sure if I would want to do that. I finally taught myself to crochet, I didn’t put that on the list, but I did challenge myself to crochet something knowing that in order to do that I had to teach myself.

  • Stamp cards to use for special occasions: have 20 in reserve I joined a card swap so have blown this one out of the water. Five times a year I make 10 cards and swap them.
  • Knit 300 dishcloths/washcloths, patterns of varying choice (9 per month) (9/2010 completed 4/300 crocheted 10-12 scrubbies) I won’t finish this, but I’ve made progress
  • Complete one crochet project (summer 2010)

Random
I don’t seem to have time to complete these as they involve others. I am helping with literacy, just not adults and not as a volunteer.

Organize
My TV viewing habits declined sharply in fall of 2010 because NBC stopped broadcasting in our area again. We made the decision to just shut it off except for DVDs and Netflix movies. I do watch L&O occasionally, but more often than not I find myself only watching 5 or 10 minutes then shutting it off. We’ve watched an hour and a half of PBS Masterpiece Theatre for three weeks. We watched Jeopardy for the first time in months, I decided to see if NBC came back, it did. We’ve committed to only watching weeknights from 7-8 for Wheel and Jeopardy and perhaps a PBS show here and there.

  • Decrease regular television viewing by 25% (fall 2010)
  • Ration television to 10 hours per week for at least two consecutive weeks (fall 2010)
  • Hall closet-find & implement workable organization: accomplished when one towel can be removed and the rest don’t fall out and when the bottom area is only extras /li>

Relationship

  • Join a knitting group-I did, actually I joined a knitting group and a spinning group, though I’d like to find one closer that suits me a bit better

Technology
WordPress 3 changed my blogging desires, now with the versatility of child themes I have less desire to make a theme myself, though I am working on graphics to substitute in to an exiting theme that is designed to be tweaked like this.

Living Local & Green/Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The yearly garden and seed collection failed. This summer I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t keep myself together, let alone worry about a garden. I let my husband play in the garden. We had a small garden and I think he kept some of the seeds, but I can’t count it as I didn’t do much. As our freezer contains lots of meet and veggies from the garden, it’s not practical to put a month of meals in it. Boo and I are going to start cooking more with the purpose of storing extras, but I’ll have a difficult time finding space for too much.

Literature
Who’s got time to read WoT? The 12th book part one came out and I haven’t even finished 10 or started 11. Some day I’ll read them and make my own little encyclopedia of characters, places, events, holidays, and all. Since I’m starting a podcast, the Librivox recordings are on hold because I’m dedicating my time to planning. The classics are coming along, but I’m probably not going to reach that goal either.

101 things in 1001 days

A long while ago, I found a site that challenged readers to make a list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days, if you search for posts here with the 101 in 1001 tags or use your favorite search engine, you’ll find it. I jumped on board and am almost half way through my 1001 days. I have made some progress, which is exciting and had to remove some things from the list that are no longer relevant or impossible to complete at this point. While I am fairly certain that I will be fortunate to complete 60 or more of the 101 things, I have learned how to make a more feasible list in May of 2011 if I choose to try this again.

Art/Craft
12. Purchase or make a drop spindle (9/2008 made 2), spin at least 6 oz. of pre-dyed fiber & knit into socks
18. Finish R2D2 hat, write instructions (11/2008)
21. Frog Homespun blanket and reuse yarn to make hoodie (2009)
22. Stamp cards to use for special occasions: have 20 in reserve – 10/20 (11/2009)
26. Calculate yards or number of projects in stash, get to work (this is in constant progress which would be finished if I would stop adding to the list and stash)

Education/Self-Development
1. Play guitar on worship team (requires learning to play guitar) no longer on the worship team, need new task

Health
2. Lose enough weight to fall into healthy BMI and keep it off (I do have an exact number for a goal weight) (in process)
4. Kayak at least 15 times each year as often as possible

Literature
1. Read/listen to 15 Classics (1 every other month) – in progress
2. Re-read Wheel of Time, creating personal encyclopedia to track characters/plots – 5.5 of 11 reread
3. Read 10 biographies from individuals who dedicated their lives to societal change (1 every 3 months) – in progress
4. Join a book club: IRL or virtual (2/2009)
5. Write a review for each book read as a result of this 101 in 1001 list – in progress

Organization/De-Clutter
13. Basement organize boxes into smallest floor area possible, maximize work area: accomplished when there is room to host video game night with friends or craft session (summer/fall 2009)
15. Sort teaching boxes, condense by at least one box (summer/fall 2009)

Random
1. Rediscover natural hair color, no dyes until 100% natural again (fall 2009)
2. Go to the beach at least once a year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
3. Commit 9 random acts of kindness without receiving/accepting/admitting credit (in process 2 out of 9)

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Book Club & The Help

by Kathryn Stockett
reading guide

a review
As the title indicates, this is a book I read for book club. I wouldn’t have read it otherwise. I find it hard to believe that a white author can write an account of life for African-American housekeepers/maids in the south in the 1960s. Penguin books had a podcast episode with the author about why she felt she could write this book. I listened to part of it and was so bored I turned it off before finishing it. The stories from the housekeepers/maids in the book were interesting enough to hold my interest.

a summary
A fictional account of the life of African-American housekeepers/maids set in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. The book is written by a white woman and is told from the point of view of a white woman just out of college and two housekeepers/maids. The white woman, Skeeter, wants to be a journalist and decides to interview at least 12 woman who spent their lives taking care of other people’s children and house. The story is full of racial tension as all of the women sneak behind the backs of their employers, friends, family, neighbors and high-society. The story was creative enough to hold my interest, but I have no idea as to the accuracy of such an account, fictional though it is.

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Book Club & The Glass Castle

by Janette Walls
reading guide

a review
A well written memoir of the author’s childhood with an alcoholic parent and an out-of-touch parent. I was genuinely surprised by the depth of caring toward her parents the author could express as she wrote her account. I had a difficult time finding any empathy for the parents, while Janette clearly found common ground on which to stand with her family. I found myself a hybrid between Janette and her youngest sister, who when the time came, ran from her family and hasn’t looked back yet.

a summary
Janette recounts her childhood and the chaos that one alcoholic parent and one free-spirit parent brought to her life and the lives of her siblings with love and respect for them. While her father was not violent, his drinking left the family with little to no money to provide for basic needs, including food, clothes, and shelters. Her parents pride wouldn’t allow them to accept handouts or help of any kind, rather the children went without meals, clothes, appropriate shelter and more. Her mother would work only when absolutely necessary and kept secrets of her own that may have saved the children a great deal of pain and anguish had she been a bit less selfish. This is a heart wrenching account of a child watching her parents spiral out of control of their lives and their failure to provide for the basic care of their children. The few things the parents did instill were pride in education and pride in self, that one could do just about anything one set about doing.

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Book Club & For One More Day

by Mitch Albom
reading guide

a review
A quick read wherein the author let’s you in on his secret a bit at time, though with enough information to figure out most of it before the last page. I’d read it again.

a summary
In the author’s typical style, the story looks at past choices and regrets, and then offers a way to rectify some. The premise of this work asks if you could have one more day with a loved one who had died, what would that day look like, what would you talk about, what would you do, etc. Charley, the main character, is allowed one more day with his long dead mother. He learns to look at himself and his family in a different light.

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Book Club & Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants discussion guides:
Guide 1
Guide 2

a review
It was a fun little story, though not especially deep or philosophical and a nice diversion from what I usually read, but that was the point of joining the book club. There were a few unseen twists. I enjoyed the author’s note at the end explaining where and how she developed all the intricate characters and plots.

a summary
The story is told by Jacob about his life before the nursing home. Near the end of college, a tragedy sends him running from college and searching for what he will do with the rest of his life. A traveling circus gobbled him up to be the on-site vet, quickly. In the opening chapter, a circus man is killed in a melee that may have been preventable. At this point in the story, I understood absolutely nothing of the character of any of the characters. I struggled trying to understand the death and motives. I spent over half the book quite upset and unwilling to understand the characters involved in the death. The half-way mark or so gave enough insights into the character of all parties involved to allow me to understand a bit more. As the story progressed, the chapters would flip from “young” Jacob to “old” Jacob (93 yrs old). This odd storytelling method surprisingly held my interest better than had it only been old Jacob telling of his youth.

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Book Club & The Shack

I was unable to attend this month’s meeting so I cannot comment on what was discussed. I was a bit disappointed. A few people couldn’t meet last week so it was moved to tonight, but it was my day in GR. I’m not going to do a summary or review as comprehensive as the first book. I am unsure about the next meeting as I haven’t gotten the book from the library yet. I ordered it over a month ago and it still hasn’t arrived. If it arrives in time for me to read it, I’ll try to attend, if not, maybe it’s a sign *giggle*

My thoughts:
Several years before reading the book, I am able to recall the fuss generated by this book because of how the author chose to portray the Trinity, God as Father, God as Son and God as Holy Spirit. Many were encouraged to avoid the book, denounce it, and more. I didn’t store the title of the book in my head, only the supposed problems with it. In the Spring of 2008 this book was recommended to me by a friend, but I was chastised again not to read it for the theology, as if I am not a critical thinker. I was told it had an interesting message about forgiveness that I might find helpful. I read it and enjoyed the theology as well as the story. Sometimes being outside of the box is a good thing. I’m not going to preach sermons from it, nor will I probably put into practice much of the book, but the author certainly presented some interesting arguments for changing thought patterns.

This story is quite fictional, but the story seems real at times, too real. The author gives the reader a few opportunities to rationalize how the most fantastic of the events could have been less that accurate. I choose to read it as written, trying to take the fictional main character, Mack, and his close friend, Willie, at their word.

Mack experiences a great loss in his life which in turn leads to a gread sadness that he seems unable to overcome. While his wife has a strong faith in God, Mack’s life experiences have left him feeling rather distant. He receives an invitation that seems to indicate that God would like to meet with him. This is his journey to find God.

Some online guides for The Shack by William Young (spoilers possible):
Guide 1
Guide 2

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Book Club & The Life of PI

A few weeks ago, my husband forwarded me an advertisement from a coworker of his inviting people to join a book club. He checked with the organizer to be sure that I could join and it was. Next up The Shack and then Water for Elephants. I’ve read the first and had the second on my to-read-list for a while.

Our first meeting was tonight, so I’m not sure of any of us were truly ready. We shared some thoughts on the book of the month, The Life of Pi and then did some housekeeping for future books/meetings. Some of the copies of the book had study questions, so we glanced through those and answered a few of the questions. While those specific questions are not online that I found, here are a few that I did find (study guides may contain spoilers for the book):

I offer a summary with spoilers because writing reviews is one of my 101 things in 1001 days as well as joining a book club. If you plan to read the book, stop now. Really, I wanted to use bold and exclamation points galore but decided against it.

a review
Disturbingly creative. The first part took a while to get into as it explored several religions Pi pursued as a child in India. Much detail is spent on describing the zoo and Father’s care of the animals as well as how humans should interact with wild beasts. Once the ship sets sell, the action starts and doesn’t stop until the end of the book. The author weaves a tale drawing the reader to desire only the best of and for Pi. A chapter of the current adult Pi happens every few chapters so that the reader knows Pi survives, appears to be happy, but is pulled in to find out how he arrived at his present circumstances. After the author spends several hundred pages describing the journey from India to Mexico, he offers a second story lasting less than 20 pages with similar details but differing main characters. The reader must decide which is the “better” ending, the “more correct” ending, the truth.

a summary
The Life of Pi opens with the adult Pi reflecting on his childhood with the author sprinkling pictures of who Pi would become. Pi’s father own and operated a zoo in India until he because upset with the political climate. While a child in India, Pi explored many religions hoping to find the best way to “love God.” He struggled understanding why he couldn’t be a Hindu, Muslim and Christian at the same time. He refused to accept they were so different that there was no commonality. His father eventually closed the zoo, sold the animals and loaded his family and animals on a ship to deliver the animals and begin anew in Canada. The ship does not make it from India to the intended destination. The ship and most of the occupants went down to the bottom of the Pacific. Much of the book is a story of Pi’s journey on a lifeboat for 277 days. When Pi first entered the small lifeboat, he was joined by a hyena, zebra, gorilla and tiger. After nature takes its course, Pi is left alone with a personified tiger, Richard Parker. He remembered training from his father and eventually “trains” the tiger to stay out of territory that didn’t belong to the tiger. Pi fed the tiger and himself from rations store on the boat as well as what he caught in the ocean. When he encountered another castaway, the tiger was not so understanding and devoured him. Somewhere in mid-journey Pi and Richard Parker encounter a carnivorous island, much like a Venus Fly-trap. They stay until Pi realized the danger and left with the tiger in tow. When he washed up on shore in Mexico, officials from the shipping company showed up to question him. He offered the above story to them, which they chose not to believe and asked for the truth. Pi offers a story without animals, where Pi, mother, the cook and a sailor are on the lifeboat until the cook kills and eats Pi’s mother and the sailor. Pi is Richard Parker, the tiger, and kills the cook when he can’t take it anymore. Pi leaves it to the officials to decide which story they like best.

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Resolutions

I attended a meeting tonight where a participant asked the other attenders whether or not they/we made New Year’s resolutions. I promptly said no, but I do set goals during the year for myself. I have made them for the New Year in the past, but I break them too quickly then beat myself up for not having enough willpower to keep up with it. Several others shared, then the original questioner shared his take on resolutions. He made a double/half resolution. He decided to pick an activity in which to double his participation and to halve a different one. This fairly well describes many of my 101 in 1001 goals, which both heartened and discouraged me in one nice little statement. I am not making progress on my list, but if I obsess over it I won’t accomplish any of it.

His specific questions:

      What in your life should you double?
      What should you halve?

While many of my goals fit nicely into this dilemma, I think I shall attempt for the next little while to halve TV watching and double time-on-task. Broad, yes, but necessary. I have no idea how much time I spend watching TV, nor do I know if watching videos counts. I don’t spend as much time on several specific, repetitive tasks as I would like. Housework is but one of many, I can’t tell you the last time I vacuumed and swept the floors without serious thought and possibly higher order mathematical calculations. I’ve begun my exercise regiment, but need to be more consistent. I don’t knit as much as I want to either, but I’m afraid that’s due largely in part to the internet and the yarn-treadmill lunacy. Part of my brain thinks this is a grand plan while the other part curls up in the corner whimpering about the treadmill eating the yarn or needles or me or all of the aforementioned.

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