Just a short update to close out 2016. I have freshened up the list a little bit and I received a Holly Binder for Christmas (see below for further explanation) that is going to help me stay on pace a little better this year.
#56 read Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch
Julia Child was really such a fascinating woman. I knew about her some from having watched her show, as well as a little more background info I learned from Julie & Julia. But there were so many fascinating facets to her life that I hadn't realized, especially her time working overseas for the government. It is also remarkable the amount of time and attention to detail that went into writing her cookbooks. For the first one, she spent over a decade making French recipes workable for an American audience by constantly testing and reworking them. She would spend a month on just one recipe making sure that it worked with the ingredients that were available to the American public. While this biography is long and detailed (the author lists everyone who was at every dinner party they ever hosted), it's so fascinating to have such a clear look at what her life was like. Her husband Paul wrote a letter to his twin brother every day and Julia corresponded by mail about her recipes, so there is so much personal information that has been preserved.
This was actually a really fun night with a group of women from church. We went to Harmony Winery in Fishers, where they have karaoke nights. It was hilarious making friends with the regulars and seeing how excited they were for new talent to join in...which I sort of did. I do not karaoke. But I agreed to go up if our entire group participated and I could stand in the back nowhere near the microphone. We did a pretty amazing performance of Spice Girls!
#151 dress up for Halloween
I may only get partial credit for this attempt at our youth group party, but I also halfway dressed up at karaoke night as Andrew Luck (wearing his jersey and carrying a flip phone). This is high school Heather. Only partial credit because I don't still own my character shoes and I didn't get a long-haired wig. But I do get props for still being able to fit into my high school choir dress and sporting the matching rhinestone earrings and fuchsia dance briefs (not shown). I lasted about half an hour and played a few rounds of four square before I could no longer breathe and had to change clothes.
#152 go to the Jazz Kitchen
I had lots of fun having a night out with these girls. We went to the Jazz Kitchen to hear a Christmas show by the amazingly talented Scharbrough/McLaughlin clan. I've known Sarah for a long time after we were privileged enough to have her lead worship for quite a few years at our women's retreats, but this is the first time I was finally able to make it to the Jazz Kitchen. They did such a great show and I could seriously listen to Jon play piano all day long.
#194 eat only cereal for a week
I was awarded a free item as part of my Christmas present from Holly so I'm using it for this one since I'm never going to make it a whole week with only eating cereal. I am now in possession of my fancy, (mostly) finished Holly Binder. She has made these for other people too and she tailors them to your needs. For me, I wanted to focus on exercise, eating better/cooking regularly, and buckling down on my list. So she created a binder that incorporates all of this for me. It comes complete with challenges, sticker charts, and rewards! She's pretty stinking amazing.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!
By far my favorite thing about this 300 list is all of the fun I've had with my amazing friends. While I was having my Starbucks day, two of my good friends, Melanie and Jed, were following along with the fun and told me that they wanted to help me cross some things off my list when I went to visit them in San Antonio in April.
#127 visit a cave
I hadn't been to a cave in so long and I really enjoyed this. We went to the Natural Bridge Caverns and saw some incredible formations. Absolutely beautiful!
#122 visit the Alamo
As someone who grew up watching the Davy Crockett movies, the Alamo was a must-see while in San Antonio. Really neat to see his musket & Jim Bowie's knife and to learn more about the history of the events surrounding the Alamo. This is Melanie, one of my good friends who lived on my floor at Taylor. I had such a great time visiting them and hated having to leave. She and her husband Jed are wonderful hosts, but also make you feel like you're part of the family while you're there. Abigail is hilarious, smart, and sweet. And I swear that I love Jed too even if it doesn't look like it in this picture. It's because the stroller was cropped out of the picture. Which leads me to this...
Lillian. Oh my word. Let's be honest- Lillian is really the reason I didn't want to come home. Those cheeks! She is such a happy, cuddly, chubby little angel. I definitely miss all of those hours I spent holding her and having her snuggle into my shoulder.
#260 go on a blind date
I think for Mel & Jed this may have been less with helping me cross an item off my list and more because they thought it was really funny to set me up on a blind date while I was on vacation. Picture credit goes to Mel who was a total creeper taking pictures out the window as we left. Scott is a co-worker of Jed's who was basically told that he should go on this date because he had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. We went to the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, and then out to dinner (it's been 4 months so I forget what the name of the restaurant was). Definitely the most low-pressure date ever due to the circumstances, so we had a fun afternoon.
I Heart San Antonio & the Hefners!!
#45 read The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
My coworker Jan gave me this book for my birthday after her husband recommended it since he knows I love sports. Roger Kahn grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and then went on to cover them as a sportwriter during the 1950s. It's such a fascinating look at how baseball was played and managed at that time, as well as a discussion of all of the hardships that black players faced in those early years of integration. In the second half of the book Kahn visits the former players to see where life has taken them since playing for the Dodgers. #109 read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
I don't read a lot of science fiction, but this was an award-winning book that my sister Holly recommended to me. It takes place at Oxford in the 21st century and involves a young historian named Kivrin who travels back in time to the year 1320. While they are battling a deadly new epidemic in present time, they discover that she was mistakenly sent back to the year 1348 when the Black Death was spreading throughout England. And that's all I'm going to say. : )
#58 read For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
My buddy Liz gave me this book for Christmas and I finally got around to reading it. This was the first book of hers that I've read (no, I don't live under a rock!) and I loved her sense of humor as she discussed God's grace and how it helps us to live well and deal with others in our lives. A few thoughts from her:
"Stop minimizing what you are good at and throw yourself into it with no apologies...You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn't fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you've been given, so use them."
"But when we are locked in a toxic relationship or community, spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christlike in us; and a watching world doesn't always witness those private kill shots. Unhealthy relationships can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way while pouring endless energy into an abyss that has no bottom. There is a time to put redemption in the hands of God and walk away before destroying your spirit with futile diligence. Sometimes the bravest thing is to stop fighting for something that is never going to produce a winner."
"We are not promised a pain free life but are given the tools to survive: God and people. It is enough."
#142 go to 10 Indians games (6 done)
This is a pretty fun group of people. Several people had won tickets from the Cru 100 Holes of Golf event in May so we all went out to a game together. The rain held off, it was a beautiful night, and we won the game in 12 innings!
Karen had another pair of Indians tickets that we were going to use. This time the rain did not hold off and it was nasty all day. We did not go to the game- we went and ate some wings instead. But...I'm totally counting it as one of the 10 games since the tickets were purchased and the intent was there. : )
#154 go to a roller derby bout
This is Amy Baker aka Lay 'Em Out Lydia. She is a beast. She thought she'd try out roller derby for fun and now she's good enough that she skates with the Circle City Derby Girls. I'm so impressed with her and how she's always willing to experiment with new activities. This was my first time watching a roller derby bout and I now have a working knowledge of the sport so I can mostly follow along with the action. Also, if Holly was richer (and perhaps less injury-prone), I'm pretty sure this would be her sport of choice.
#216 make a scrapbook for Lily
Perhaps another slight stretch to cross this item off my list, but it was approved by the List Master. A poster collage is basically equivalent to a scrapbook for me and it was a bit of a frustrating process to make this actually happen (of course that may be attributed to me trying to get it done last minute). Bean & Lulu are pretty much the best aunts in the world though. We've been promising Lily a scavenger hunt for her last two birthdays and finally got around to doing it. It was a very rainy day today, but we powered through. She completed 9 tasks all over our parents' yard, got tons of prizes along the way, and ended it by digging up her treasure chest filled with all kinds of awesome loot. Lots of superhero and Star Wars things especially! The dress code was "wacky/crazy" and I am indeed wearing a handmade, quilted shirt. It was a lovely gift from two of my former youth, Emily & Amanda Blake, and I definitely don't bust it out frequently enough...especially when pairing it with plaid shorts and argyle socks.
It is crazy to believe that I am already halfway through my 30s (and luckily, halfway done with my list)!! Here's the latest:
#73 read Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
Ugh another book that really challenges you to think about what you're doing with your life. In a nutshell, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda while she was in high school, fell in love with the country & the orphans, moved there after high school, and eventually adopted 13 girls and started Amazima, a ministry to educate and empower children. She has so much wisdom at such a young age, such a love for Christ, and a desire to follow Him in all she does. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Thankfully, God's plans also happen to be much better than my own. You
see, Jesus wrecked my life."
"Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and
the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the
destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the
communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them,
take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I
look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one. So I keep
stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as
a Christian. I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what
I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much
more than I ever thought possible."
"I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more
than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He
takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives."
"Yes, that is what I feel like: one of His favorites, lavished with His
love. Isn't that what He wants each and every one of His children to
feel, all the time? The big God of small details loves each one of us
so intimately, created each of us in His image. Each one of us is
cherished. How would life change if we thought of each other as such?
If each person who approached us we treated as beloved of God,
cherished by God, one of God's favorite people? The God of the
universe delights in you. In me. In them. Could we rest in that?
Could we love like that?"
#230 find a mentor
I didn't technically find a mentor, but I did find a spiritual director, so I'm counting that. My friend Karen meets with me once a month and it's been a really great experience. The article My Journey Into Spiritual Direction by Bill Shereos, sidebars by Anita Lustrea and Lee Eclov, on Christianity Today does a great job explaining what spiritual direction entails. While it looks different for us every time, it's always a great time of seeking after God and listening to the Spirit's guidance.
#267 watch a sunrise with coffee
Well I sort of saw the sunrise...there's a coffee cup in my hand and it's getting light out. But this was the beginning of a highly entertaining, looong day. My sister-in-law Kelli had my name for Christmas and wanted to help me cross something big off my list. So she helped me with...
#274 sit in Starbucks open to close one day
Do you have any idea how long some Starbucks are open?!? 5am-10:30pm!! It was a ton of fun though. We put it out there to the Facebook world that we would be there all day and that people should come hang out with us. So here's some of the fun we had for the day...
We had various prizes we offered throughout the day for our visitors. Kenny won for being our first one!
Joanna was the winner of the best gift we received for the day- it was our first one and was a good combination of food, fun, and practical. Seriously though, our friends really outdid themselves with 21 people bringing us stuff . We got snacks, magazines, an adult coloring book & colored pencils, games, homemade pretzel bites, a song, and so much more.
My niece Kinsey is pretty stinking adorable!!
My brother Kyle & niece Lily ended up staying for hours & hours (and maybe only partly because of the free snacks)!
John & his kids were hilarious. "Meet someone famous" is on my list, but they ran in asking for my autograph like they were meeting someone famous.
Fancy, skinny parents & my nephew Daniel made an appearance. Seriously, those curls!
The Boyds serenaded us with the theme song from The Cosby Show. They are ridiculously awesome.
#205 learn a cultural dance
I don't know what happened to the video, but my sweet friend Paula taught us the Hora (it's Jewish!). Yes, we danced throughout Starbucks for several minutes.
So that's a quick peek into our super exciting Starbucks day. If you need more details or pictures, check out my Twitter or Facebook from February 15th-16th. We had over 50 visitors and Holly added some intrigue to do the day by assigning a point system for number of visitors, gifts, etc. Usually if I cross off 15 items in one day I get 1 freebie to cross off at some point in the future, but I racked up enough points throughout the day to earn my freebie.
#250 build a fort
These are my kiddos that I've babysat for almost 9 years. I stayed with them for 10 days while their parents were on vacation, so we thought we'd make the most of it and get some items crossed off my list. We actually could live in this fort if necessary since we used 2 couches, 4 chairs, and a pile of blankets.
#144 go to a Fuel game
We also went to an Indy Fuel game and had a blast. They are affiliated with the Blackhawks and have unfortunately adopted the practice of playing the same song the Blackhawks do after they score a goal. While I feel much more knowledgeable now that I can recognize the song "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis, it also gets stuck in your head for days.
#25 read The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
I thought it was only fitting to read this now since I just saw the new movie and recently saw the other two Disney versions (all three are worth watching). While there were some interesting differences- Baloo is actually the teacher of the wolves & Mowgli and Bagheera is actually a big softie- the biggest difference is that Shere Khan was dead halfway through the book. And then it started talking about a seal. What?!? I was reading it on my Kindle so I thought maybe something weird was happening. It turns out that the book is actually a collection of seven short stories (the first three are about Mowgli). The others are "The White Seal," "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (one I'd heard of!), "Toomai of the Elephants," and "Her Majesty's Servants." Who knew?
So there you have it. I am halfway done with this blog. The grand total after 5 years...I have read 60/120 books and completed 160/300 items total. Whew. Only 140 more things to go! : ) I have also accumulated 2 freebies that I can use to cross items off my list. Thanks for sticking with me for the first half of this journey. Here's to a lot more fun in the second half!
New Year's resolution...actually work on the blog as I go so I don't have to wrack my brain to remember what these stupid books were about!
#114 read Eragon by Christopher Paolini #115 read Eldest by Christopher Paolini #116 read Brisingr by Christopher Paolini #117 read Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
These books run in the same vein as Lord of the Rings- dwarves, elves, dragons, etc. They're big books, but they read really quickly since there is a lot of dialogue, as well as a lot of action. I really enjoyed them and it's crazy to know that the author became a New York Times bestseller at the age of nineteen.
#75 read The Book of Hours by Davis Bunn
My sister-in-law Kelli has lots of great book recommendations (she also recommended the Eragon books). This is a fun, easy read with mysteries to be solved and lots of twists and turns. It's also a great story of hope and God's healing power.
#140 go to 10 Pacers games (5 done)
A big thanks to First Financial Bank for the invite to watch the Pacers game from their suite. There are a lot of fantastic people that work there! This game featured a Veterans' Day tribute that was so sweet. They had a bunch of veterans march out onto the court and each one had a sign with a picture from when they served, their name, and what war they served during. So grateful for everyone who has served our country!!
#96 read The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Anytime my brother Travis gives a book recommendation it should be taken seriously. Because reading is not his favorite. Unless it's Davy Crockett. Or Barry Sanders. Or has lots of pictures. If you enjoy the movie version of this, you will enjoy the book too since the screenplay follows it really closely. William Goldman writes this as an abridgment of the original Florinese version as he remembers his father reading it to him. The hilarious thing about this book that you should know going in is that he weaves truth and fiction throughout. There is no S. Morgenstern that originally wrote The Princess Bride, Goldman's father wasn't from Florin (it's a made-up place), he doesn't have a son...but he puts enough real moments from his life (he really did win Oscars for All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy) that I had to go online to read what's true and what isn't. He's hilarious!
#35 read As You Wish by Cary Elwes
This was an amazing follow-up to reading The Princess Bride. Cary Elwes walks you through the entire process of making the movie (which is fascinating in and of itself) to get an inside look at what goes into that. There are quotes and memories from all of the actors, as well as the director Rob Reiner, all throughout the book. It gives you such insight into the people that made these characters come alive. Perhaps the most interesting part is reading about the months of rigorous training and studying that Cary and Mandy Patinkin underwent in preparation for their epic duel. It is incredible that they did not use any stuntmen for the actual sword fighting and no camera angles used to hide any deficiencies.
#285 buy something over $700
Sadly, this was not something that I wanted to cross off my list so soon. But right before Christmas, my old car died and I was forced to find a new one. As most of you know, car shopping is the thing that I hate more than anything else in life. Luckily, one of my former high school students and her husband were looking to sell a car. So I am now the proud owner (at least trying to be excited about a car) of a dark gray 2011 Camry. Sorry there isn't a better picture, but at least it was semi-clean here.
#118 read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
My friend Ashleyne recommended this book and I loved it. It was so incredibly clever in how it was written and there are wonderful illustrations throughout it. It's a story about a boy who travels through the Phantom Tollbooth to the Kingdom of Wisdom. He visits the cities of Dictionopolis (all about letters) and Digitopolis (all about numbers) as he searches for the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. So many great plays on words such as when he visited the Island of Conclusions...which of course you can only reach by jumping to. There are also some great little nuggets in it such as:
"But why do only unimportant things?" asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.
"Think of all the trouble it saves," the man explained..."If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won't have the time. For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren't for that dreadful magic staff, you'd never know how much time you were wasting."
#178 buy a bike
My roomie thinks this is cheating, but the (sometimes) extremely strict Blogmaster Holly says that being creative is part of the fun of my 300 list. I decided I don't really want or need a bike. Since Sarah has one she's getting rid of, I officially bought it from her for $5...and then sold it back to her for $5. #178 buy a bike? Check. : )
I just want to give all of you a heads up on one that's happening next month. Kelli had my name for Christmas this year and because she loves me so much, she's helping me cross off a hard one. Since we both have Monday, February 15th off for Presidents' Day (assuming she doesn't have a snow day in between now and then), we are going to tackle sitting in Starbucks from open to close. Do you know how long they're open?!? 17+ hours! Keep an eye out on Facebook as we get closer and I'll let you know what location we've decided on. We're going to make it a fun day of having people stop by to hang out, play games, and hopefully make the day go more quickly. It will be a day filled with lots of caffeine for sure!
Since after 4 years I was little behind the pace on the number of books I've read, I'm making an effort to get caught up a little bit. My problem is that I keep reading books that aren't on my list. : )
#32 read 1776 by David McCullough
This was a really interesting read on the Revolutionary War. He provides you with such extensive information from all of the research he did, but he still makes it an enjoyable read that really focuses on the historical figures and their roles throughout the war. You get so much insight into the people, military strategy, and other details because of the vast number of letters that were written by people back then. The book (obviously) focuses on the year 1776, but then quickly summarizes the rest of the war in a few pages. The book ended unexpectedly because the last 70 or so pages are just his source notes and bibliography! My dad said he needed to find out how the war ended so he bought another book (which will probably get added to my list). It was one that McCullough said that he drew a lot of information from.
#113 read Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
I went into reading this book thinking that afterwards I would really want to cook my way through Joy of Cooking like she does in this story. Dead wrong. Those recipes sounded ridiculously time-consuming and complicated and it made me tired just reading about how late her meals were finished most nights. I didn't love this book, but it did make me want to go watch the movie again. And just read more about Julia Child. That's probably why I didn't like the book as well- Julie Powell is really not that endearing as a lead character (to which she would frankly say she doesn't care what I think) and it was kind of depressing to read online about what her life and second book were like (to which she would once again tell me she doesn't care what I think...and then probably cuss me out). But Julia Child is awesome. And Meryl Streep as Julia Child is also awesome.
#143 go to a Fever game
Aunts are creepy. But we are tons of fun! This was a belated Christmas present for Lily and it was the first Fever game that I've been to. I was bummed that Tamika Catchings wasn't playing since it's her last season before she retires, but you are now looking at...
#262 set a world record
a world record holder!!! This ended up being a nice easy way to set a world record. The crowd set the record for the most people lighting glow sticks simultaneously. Side note: seriously, how was this record so low before? You can read about all of the excitement here or check out the official info on the Guinness site here. Sorry, I did not spend the $25 to purchase an official certificate to post on my blog.
#249 bury something
I thought about taking guesses from people about what I'm burying. But there are about 15 of you that read this blog and several of you already know the answer. It's a treasure chest. Obviously. Holly and I (emphasis on Holly) planned a scavenger hunt for our friend Liz's golden birthday (she turned 30 on the 30th of June). There were 30 different clues with various tasks or puzzles that she had to complete. Lots of fun little prizes and food throughout, four square and basketball competitions, a dance routine created, mystery guests, a giant homemade slip & slide, a pulled hamstring by my older brother as he sprinted across the yard for what was going to be a legendary attempt on said slip & slide, and lots of other fun things. The final clue was a treasure map that led Liz to a tub full of awesome stuff that was buried in my parents' backyard. It was pretty epic and we are very open to being hired out to plan one for you!
#100 read Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead #101 read Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead #102 read Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead
The King Raven trilogy is one that that my friend Josh had recommended and I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for the Robin Hood story to be told in exactly the same way that you've heard it before, you're going to be disappointed. The author explains that in his research, this is what he believes is more true to the actual events. The story takes place mainly in Wales and the characters and background also vary. King Richard & Prince John, Nottingham- these all came about from the story being tweaked by traveling minstrels to fit the characters and location to what the audience was familiar with. It was a pretty quick read and good action throughout.
#170 play paintball
Sorry, forgot to take a picture. I had played paintball once before, but it had been over a decade ago. We had a family camp with our church down at Camp Challenge. Their course was a lot of fun for the 10 or so of us that played. Plus it's a whole lot of fun to give other people (especially my high school kids!) welts and bruises. I escaped mainly unscathed, although I had a slight scare when I ducked around a barrier and found a wasp's nest right in front of my face. Needless to say I ducked right back out from there in a hurry! The bum knees make it hard to kneel or squat for any length of time, but I had a blast.
#229 buy stock
I was not planning on investing in a whole pile of stock, so I thought I'd just make it kind of random and fun. So I took my love of sports, and the Colts in particular, and found something that was kind of neat. Apparently there is a thing where you can actually buy stock in a handful of athletes...including Jack Mewhort, offensive lineman for the Colts! Maybe not the soundest investment, but I thought it was kind of cool. Check it out here on Fantex.