33 Things To Do Before I Turn 32

This year I want to live more fully, wholly, simply. I went back through my past lists and I found some things that I didn’t do that I still want to do, so I added a few of those to the pile. Is that cheating? Heck no! It’s my blog and I do what I want!

1. Plant something. Make it survive.

2. Less Facebook, more face time.

3. Yoga.

4. Compost.

5. Master the hula hoop.

6. Go to the drive-in.

7. Learn to two-step.

8. Fiddle more.

9. Read some of the books I have acquired but not read.

10. Volunteer for something.

11. Make an apple pie.

12. Finish my website.

13. Get a new tattoo.

14. Take a ride in the karaoke cab.

15. Acquire rainboots.

16. Smoke a cigar.

17. Visit at least 1 art exhibit/gallery per quarter.

18. Fill up the empty sketchbooks in my box of sketchbooks (there are a lot!)

19. Figure drawing : specifically hands and feet. (Things most artists need to work on.)

20. Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

21. Go camping.

22. Attend a coffee cupping class.

23. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

24. Bring lunch to work more often.

25. Be in nature more.

26. Dance more.

27. Find a hobby or past time to share with Kennedy.

28. Acquire some more vinyl for my new record player.

29. Try more of my collected recipes.

30. Get Kennedy and David to drink more water.

31. Befriend more people in Arlington.

32. Set up my studio space.

33. Work on making our new house lovely and a true expression of us.

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23 Things I Didn’t Do.

This was not a productive year when you look back at my list. I kind of want to Ctrl+z this list. I guess you have years like that. Towards the end, our life just got too crazy to focus on anything but the immediate moment. But here’s the recap:

1. Visit Marfa, Texas. Dammit.   We finally did this! But you saw the pictures already. We’ll definitely go back, and I highly recommend it.

2. Attend a cooking class. I did not do this.

3. Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.   I did not do this.

4. Stop eating so much crappy food. I need to work on this.

5. Learn how to handstitch leather.  AH! I did this!! I have yet to create anything interesting with my new skillz. I should probably make a wallet or something.

6. Go camping. I went glamping (See #1)? Can I count that? Fuck it. It counts!

7. Take a hula hoop fitness class. Did this, love it, doing it again. And I’ve been practicing

8. Take a belly dancing class. I did not do this, however I ordered the belly dancing videos that I have on VHS…on DVD.

9. Take more photos on overseas trips.

10. Draw every day.

11. Take an encaustic painting class.

12. Try a new restaurant every month.  I didn’t keep track of this really, but I’m pretty certain we were successful here.

13. Attend a coffee cupping class.

14. Make a friggin’ pie.

15. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

16. Read The Great Gatsby (again) before the movie release.

17. Play the violin more.

18. Visit the Kadampa Meditation Center in Arlington.

19. Start going to the Zen center again. I visited again twice, but I really struggle here because they are about to move their location to Richardson…which is sooo far away from us. I’m trying to find another group that is a little closer to home.

20. Write to somebody in power (i.e. a congressman) about something important to me.

21. Run a 5k

22. Make something to sell (leather or art).

23. Volunteer for something (an event or a cause).

24. Paint the bathroom…again. I didn’t have to do this…because we moved!

25. Get rid of excess. I’ve done quite a bit here, and continue to refine and simplify our lifestyle. It’s a journey.

26. Learn about more local music.

27. Go to the Grand Prairie Farmer’s Market. Unimpressive.

28. Create an installation piece.

29. Take an improv class.

30. Take a boxing class.

31. Meatless Mondays. I started out strong here, but then I lost momentum.

32. Be more generous. Always good to work on this, so it remains uncrossed.

Favorite Music of 2013

I didn’t listen to much music this year. I don’t know why. For some reason my intake was much lower than usual. Maybe I needed a palate cleanser year. Regardless, I had some favorites:

5. Pure Heroine, Lorde

There are so many mixed opinions about this girl, but I like this album. I read one article that compared Lorde to Nirvana. I wouldn’t go that far…not even close…but this was a welcome interruption to all the bling-bling in the pop world.

4. The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight…, Neko Case

Although I enjoyed this album, and I love me some Neko, this album was a little all over the place. She’s trying some new things, and I respect that.

3. Monomania, Deerhunter

With any new release, Deerhunter will always be on this list. Love them.

2. Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend

This album is solid. I would say this is the best Vampire Weekend album. They’ve evolved but stayed true to themselves. This band had the potential to have a short lived career because their sound can come off a little novelty. I am heartily impressed with Modern Vampires.

1. Fear Fun, Father John Misty

I am so in love with Father John Misty. His beardy goodness and that voice…YUM! We saw him at House of Blues a couple of months ago, and his album does not do the richness of his voice justice. He’s a total anti-consumerist culture hippie and his sense of humor kills me. Love love love.

Honorable Mentions

Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara – They are more popular than I’m about to imply, but these girls clearly know what they are doing and are vastly underrated. Their stuff is always great.

Mantangi, M.I.A. – Love this lady. I haven’t listened to this album in depth yet, but she is a serious bad-ass that always gets it done.

 

32 Things To Do Before I Turn 31.

My thirtieth year is upon me (in a couple weeks), and I have big plans. BIG PLANS. Ok, maybe not all-caps big, but slightly more ambitious than last year. But 30 is a big year, right?

If you’re making a list like this, it’s important to have a good balance of easier-to-achieve activities and some moderately challenging goals. I have never come close to finishing a list, but I don’t worry about it so much. I have to invest a little bit more of myself into it this year, and if I don’t finish every item at least I will have done a few really awesome things.

1. Visit Marfa, Texas. Dammit.

2. Attend a cooking class.

3. Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

4. Stop eating so much crappy food.

5. Learn how to handstitch leather.

6. Go camping.

7. Take a hula hoop fitness class.

8. Take a belly dancing class.

9. Take more photos on overseas trips.

10. Draw every day.

11. Take an encaustic painting class.

12. Try a new restaurant every month.

13. Attend a coffee cupping class.

14. Make a friggin’ pie.

15. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

16. Read The Great Gatsby (again) before the movie release.

17. Play the violin more.

18. Visit the Kadampa Meditation Center in Arlington.

19. Start going to the Zen center again.

20. Write to somebody in power (i.e. a congressman) about something important to me.

21. Run a 5k

22. Make something to sell (leather or art).

23. Volunteer for something (an event or a cause).

24. Paint the bathroom…again.

25. Get rid of excess.

26. Learn about more local music.

27. Go to the Grand Prairie Farmer’s Market.

28. Create an installation piece.

29. Take an improv class.

30. Take a boxing class.

31. Meatless Mondays.

32. Be more generous.

Unfinished Business.

It’s time again to reflect on how bad I am at finishing things. Before I looked at this list, I was certain I had finished most of it. Apparently I forgot what I put on this list, because I’ve been running around doing a bunch of things that are not these things. (I completed 11 out of 31, which is about a 35% success rate, in case you are wondering.)

1. Shoot a gun. I am not at a loss for people offering to take me out to shoot a gun. In Texas. Surprise surprise. I’m kind of scared! That’s why I put it on the list, but I think I procrastinated on this one.

2. Master an incredible apple pie recipe. I did look up a lot of pie RECIPES on Pinterest. (Damn you, Pinterest!)

3. Finish and go live with my website. Nope.

4. Meditate, meditate, meditate. I very proudly increased my frequency of meditation this year. To just about every day.

5. Create an illustration for a local event/publication/something. I’ve been illustrating David’s short stories. He’s probably tired of me dragging my feet on these each month, but I feel so out of practice. Some of these turned out better than others. Despite my insecurities, I think for these purposes, I’m going to count the Short Story of the Month illustrations a win.

6. Get a Coroflot page up. Nope.

7. Ride a horse. I TOTALLY did this! If you are looking for an adventure in the country, I highly recommend Sleepy Sheep Ranch. We rode horses, drank wine, and ate steak by a campfire with some superb Texans. It was A BLAST. And for my first time on a horse, I think I did okay. I got a little nervous when my horse kicked another horse. Wouldn’t you?

8. Wear at least one piece of jewelry every damn day. I did make an effort, but I don’t know if it happened every day. Who cares. This was a dumb goal anyway.

9. Get a new tattoo. I did not get a new tattoo, but only because it’s not in the budget right now. Especially since we did Number 10.

10. See Lady Gaga in concert. Yes. And it was effin’ weird. And awesome.

11. Take a ride in the karaoke cab. Sad face.

12. Start planning a European vacation with my new husband. We kind of started talking about this, and we had an opportunity arise, but it’s just not in the budget this year. Alas.

13. Acquire some rainboots. No rainboots for me.

14. Acquire some cowboy boots. The guy that sold me my boots was VERY shocked I was not from Texas. (He was not shocked at all.)

15. Go to the drive-in. Nope.

16. Visit a new place in Texas. I counted Waxahachie, even though it’s not exactly what I had in mind.

17. Get Jason Kidd’s autograph. And maybe Dirk’s. Oh, Jason Kidd. You broke my little heart this year. And not just because I didn’t get your autograph before you abandoned me.

18. Smoke a cigar. This one is so easy. Why didn’t I do this? I could be having a cigar right now.

19. Go to the top of the Bank of America building (tallest building in Dallas). This was a dumb goal too. Are you even allowed to go to the top of that building?

20. Go to Marfa! (This is a separate trip from #16). It’s a big joke between me and David how long I have wanted to go to Marfa and how we haven’t been there yet. I’ve wanted to go since before I met him. I’ll put it on next year’s list…and every list after that until it happens.

21. See more art. Eh?

22. Make more art. Never enough.

23. Regularly blog projects/drawings/art. I tried to do this, but it was mostly through Instagram. I’ll count it.

24. Plant some bushes. Poor, sad little yard. It keeps the burglars away.

25. Reduce clutter. A little.

26. More figure drawing. No.

27. More physical activity. Yes.

28. More books, fewer magazines. Kind of, but not enough.

29. Teach a class. No.

30. Take a class. Yes.

31. Own my thirties. My thirties are here, and henceforth I own them.

Baby, You Were Born This Way.

10. See Lady Gaga in concert.

Gaga

Photo credit: Teddizzle via Flickr. He had better seats than we did.

Before the concert on Tuesday, I told David I’d never been to an arena show and he reminded me that I’ve seen the Smashing Pumpkins three times (once at the United Center in Chicago, once in Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, and once at The Backyard in Austin). That’s true, but seeing Lady Gaga is a totally different experience than seeing an alternative rock band. Both are theatrical, but Gaga takes those theatrics to an utterly absurd level, as you might expect.

Our seats sucked. Hands down. Nosebleed extreme. It’s tough, though…those tickets were hella expensive. We were lucky to be there. Lady Gaga DID thank us for spending our hard-earned money to come out and see her, but something tells me that hard-earned ticket cash paid for her Giant Stage Castle. But, even though the seats were in outer space, we still had a good time. David brought his nerdy binoculars.

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It was also fun to see all the kids dressed up in their Gaga concert gear, which mostly translates into Nearly Nude with Platform Heels. Even more amusing than their get-up was seeing the get-up they conned their middle-aged MOTHERS into wearing. Good sports, those moms.

Gaga had an impressive performance. She changed outfits between (almost) every song, and they were crazy, alien-looking costumes. She sang all the good songs and mentioned “Dallas, Texas” a few too many times. Dancing happened. She dropped the F-bomb as much as I would. We had a ton of fun, and then I was really tired at work the next day.

“See Lady Gaga in concert.” Check.

100 Days of Meditation

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4. Meditate, meditate, meditate.

For many years, I’ve been a sporadic meditator. I’ll go a few weeks meditating every night and then stop for a while, or get on an every-few-days schedule, or sometimes not meditate for months. I’ve been to three different Zen centers in three different cities and was never in place long enough to be a regular member. It’s become important to me to make this practice a part of my daily routine, and I think I am finally there.

In September, I found out about a “100 days of Meditation” group on Facebook, where the 100th day landed on January 1, 2013. I used it as a superficial excuse to get into this habit once and for all, and I have succeeded in establishing a regular routine for myself as a result. Before I started, I was perusing the internets to see if I could find any discussions of meditation habits and so on. I found an article on Zen Habits where the author advised that in order to build a routine you should only commit yourself to meditating 2 minutes a day. Ha! I obnoxiously thought about how pathetic that was, and I could do AT LEAST 5 minutes per day, and work my way up from there. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m now up to 15 minutes per day, working up to 20 but not pushing it. If I am extra tired, I allow myself to meditate for less time, because it’s not really that fruitful anyway if I am sleepy.

The photo above is a screen capture of my meditation timer app, the day I hit my 100th day of meditation. I’m still going. The best part about all this is that I am gaining a little bit of my willpower back. I learned that once I started something, and once I was so many days in, I did not want to miss a day because I had already made it so far. (I even had to meditate at the airport one night in order to make it. You do what you gotta do). Sometimes I give up on myself a little too easily, and sitting every day has helped with my follow-through. All in all, one of my best accomplishments on my “31 Things” list.