Saturday, April 10, 2021

39 years, 365 days old

It is hard to believe, but I've reached the end of my 30s! When Holly and I started brainstorming this list on a road trip to Wisconsin, I had no idea the journey it would take me on. It's challenged me to get outside of my comfort zone, helped me to pursue goals and focus on the future, and allowed me to create amazing memories with so many friends. 
While this last year has been extremely hard, I'm still incredibly thankful for God's faithfulness and the hope he provides for the future. As I wrap up this list, I look forward to the fact that things are getting ever closer to normalcy. Only about a month left until I'll be fully vaccinated! I would still choose to make the same sacrifices for my family knowing how hard it is, but this girl who loves hugs and counts quality time as her number one love language is definitely craving both.

So as a result of this being a hard year, I've decided to give myself some more grace and push additional items to my 40s list. I knew that I could quickly complete some of them, but would prefer to do them well instead of just checking them off for the sake of it. Here are the ones that I'm going to wait to do on my 40s list:
#193 have an epic food fight (night) friend read it as epic food night instead of food fight, which sounds way more delicious!
#220 make a movie with my siblings
#278 memorize 260 Bible verses
#281 meet someone famous
#238 ride a train
Moving on to the other items that I did actually complete...

#289 do 10 activities that are new or intimidating (9 done)...let a guy give me his number & then actually contacted him
Yes, I know that doesn't sound all that intimidating to the average person. But since when have I been average?? I am not really known for texting random strangers but he seemed nice enough so I figured it didn't hurt to stretch myself a little. Sorry to disappoint all of you that nothing came of it. But as a bonus fun fact for those of you who didn't already know this about me, I really have a wide age range I appeal to. I rarely get asked for my phone number, but within a month I got asked for it by men whose ages covered a 40 year span. Wow.  : )
#47 read This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett
I don't know. I read this a few months ago so I don't have much to say. But it was Carol Burnett so it was sweet and funny at least. Thank goodness the book reviews are almost finished!
#192 make homemade pho
I have to say that for my first attempt at making pho it was pretty stinking good. Holly and I love going to Long Thanh for pho but I haven't been there in ages so I decided it was time to try to make it myself.. I didn't get super complicated by actually using bones to make my broth, but it still was pretty flavorful. I did a mashup of a couple of different recipes, but mostly followed this Quick Beef Pho by Jet Tila. A few notes: I doubled it so I'd have four large servings, I tossed in all of my spices in the broth with my garlic and onions instead of putting them in cheesecloth since I was going to strain them out anyway, and sticking your beef in the freezer for half an hour makes it easier to slice it really thin. Other than that, it's just a matter of preference what herbs/toppings you want to throw in. Fresh bean sprouts definitely would have been more delicious and crunchy, but considering I could get all of the other ingredients at Kroger I settled for canned. And don't skimp on your sauces to drizzle on top! I paired it with some dumplings and peanut sauce, which made me a very happy girl. I will definitely be making this again soon.

#217 make a snow sculpture
We had some really good snows I could have taken advantage of, but this is one item that I didn't put as much time into as I could have. I went in with zero plan and just started piling snow up before I decided what it looked like it could become. Haha I think that probably means that I am professional sculptor letting my chunk of snow speak to me. And so it became a sea turtle.
#259 use a sledgehammer
Poor sea turtle.
#29 read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
We did this play in high school (Ten Little Indians) and then I watched my friend Navar perform in it with The Attic Theatre. I really enjoyed it since the ending was still a little bit of a surprise for me- I knew our version had ended differently but I couldn't remember what the end actually was. 120 books are done!

#289 do 10 activities that are new or intimidating (10 done) job
Talk about leaving the 30s with a bang. It's super crazy to be saying this, but I am going to be starting a new job! Crazy. I have been at the Delaware Township Trustee's office for literally half of my life. I first worked there a few weeks in the summer of 1998, worked part-time throughout college and after I graduated in 2003, became full-time in 2005, and have been the Clerk since 2007. There are so many things I love about my job, but especially the co-workers I've had and the many relationships I've created over the years with clients, township employees from around the state, and so many others. For me, everything is about the people. 

So while it definitely wasn't something that I was looking to change in my life, I also try to be open to the opportunities that God places in my life. What started out as being willing to listen to the possibility because of the people involved with it, turned into a prayer for peace and confirmation that it was the right fit for me. I will be joining Shepherd Financial (where a certain Holly Willman works!) as a Business Support Specialist working with one of the partners, Leah. It has been an almost daily roller coaster of emotions as I process leaving and heading into the unknown. But I'm definitely thankful for the friendships I've already made at Shepherd from Holly working there for so many years. My official start date will be Monday 4/26 so I have a lot to wrap up before I leave.
Holly has set me up in their system already. Please note the climbing ballerina picture from my previous update. : )
#248 churn butter 
If you haven't met Dean Willman before you are missing out on a particular brand of special. My father is ridiculously talented at a lot of things in life, but one of my favorite things about him is how he takes on random projects and turns them into reality. He made a pretty impressive cider press to make his own apple cider and at one point a few years ago he made a butter churn. Just because. So instead of milking a cow, I changed my list item to churn butter so it could finally be put to use. Here's our process:
The homemade churn
4 quarts of cream being poured in

Apparently we could only churn while making goofy faces. Lily took a couple of 5 minute shifts to give me a break.
It took about 40 minutes to get it where it was in pea-sized chunks
Almost 2 quarts of buttermilk was strained from the butter
Mix in the salt...kneading the butter was super therapeutic
And of course my father decided he should buy butter molds too if we were going to make butter
We ended up with about 3 1/2 pounds of butter. It was creamy and delicious and a pretty good first attempt. My mom also found a recipe for some amazingly delicious buttermilk bread.

#158 go on a covered bridge/statue tour
The roomie and I headed over to Rockville in Parke County to do a self-guided covered bridge tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for driving around. Apparently they get 1.5 million visitors for their covered bridge festival in October. The bridges themselves weren't overly exciting or different except for the one that was by a mill, but we got to see quite a few on the red loop that we followed on this map.

We also stopped at a cute little winery to have our picnic lunch. The great-great(-great?) grandfather of the owner actually built a bunch of the bridges so it was interesting to hear some of the history from him.

Along with the 39 covered bridges, Parke County has 82 cemeteries. So we needed a token picture obviously.

This was a pretty long one to drive through compared to the others
Square dance anyone?

Let me just pause to say that I am aware of the brown to black to brown to black font changes happening. I did nothing to change it but apparently my blog is rebelling here at the end because we are all over this color scheme.

#254 climb a water tower or silo
I have a new skill in life- silo scavenger hunts! As we were driving through rural Indiana headed to our covered bridge tour I decided we had to make this happen on the same trip based on the sheer number of silos (or grain bins) and water towers we saw. But I decided I didn't want to stop and ask a random stranger for permission to climb their silo so we scoped out ones that looked abandoned or at least weren't right next to someone's house. We had a few possibilities to hit on our way back but in the middle of our bridge tour we suddenly found a spot to pull off that was near the road but not near any houses. It was super windy and I almost dropped my phone as I took a selfie but I made it safely down and sprinted back to the car to make our dramatic escape. No arrests were made in the course of our day. 

#227 relearn how to drive stick shift 
I have not driven stick since my dad taught me when I was 16 so I thought it would be good to have a little refresher. Just like then we headed to the school parking lot down the road for my lesson and then I drove around a little to practice. Starting up from a stop was definitely the hardest part for me (only killed it a few times and made some nice saves), but overall it went pretty well. I would definitely get a better feel for the rhythm of it if I did it more often, but if nothing else I could probably survive jumping in and having to drive one in a pinch.

#240 take a class
There were lots of possibilities for types of classes I could take. Harvard has a bunch of free classes you can sign up for, and while that sounded very prestigious for my little list, none of them sounded all that exciting. But I found a super discounted rate for a class on Udemy called Cartoon Drawing for Absolute Beginners. He has lots of instructional videos and covers basic proportions for male vs. female (adult, child, and baby), facial expressions, hair styles, etc. It was a lot of fun and they were very cute.
#290 plan a 40th birthday celebration with the roomie
The roomie turned 40 in January and we've talked about doing a trip together but life is still hard to plan right now with starting a new job and being in the midst of a pandemic. So this discussion will continue and we will maybe plan something for next year. Stay tuned!
#298 create a 40 things to do in my 40s list
Thank you for all of the great suggestions for my 40s list. People had some really creative (and difficult!) ideas for me. It's still an open suggestion box for the next decade so you can always try to convince me that your new idea is better than one that is already on my list. Plus, "do 10 activities of someone else's choosing" provides a chance for friends to have some fun. I'm still working on what the actual logistics of that will be- proposals submitted, veto power, if you have to do it with me, etc. Also an important note is that Holly has proclaimed herself the List Master for my 40s list as well. I even created a new blog for the 40s list!

#300 blog the 300 experience
Done! This was by far the hardest part of doing my list because I'm not much of a writer and it was sooo many things...more than 300 since some of my items were "do 10" of something. But I'm glad that it was on the list because it forced me to document a journey that I will not soon forget. It's hard to summarize the last decade, but some of my favorite memories were playing 20 classic Willman games in one day, hosting a murder mystery dinner party with my climbing friends, sitting in Starbucks open to close (if you missed all the activities that took place on that fun day you should check it out here), and my friends planning a whole day where we crossed 15 things off.

So there you have it. Looking forward to another decade of fun with friends and family!!