Time to Pay the Piper

“There’s always stuff to work on.  You’re never there.”
— Tiger Woods

Hey, it’s only two months past the end date – let’s talk about 101 in 1001, shall we?

I completed 46 tasks and started but did not finish 13 more.  That . . . is not so good.  And now I owe $110 to a charity, because I’m a woman of my word (I promised $2 for every uncompleted item). Oh well.

I really enjoyed the experience of putting the list together and trying to figure out how to accomplish the items.  It’s not surprising that I was pretty gung-ho in the beginning and then it, like the rest of the blog and a lot of things in my life, fell by the wayside for long periods of time.

Some of the items were pipe dreams from the beginning – spending a night at the Wigwam hotel in Arizona, for example, or going through the thousands of pictures on my computer to name them ALL.  Some of them turned out not to be right for this time in my life – our apartment is really too small to host a dinner party, and Aimee’s and my 20-year friendship anniversary was the month before my wedding when neither of us had spare time or money to go anywhere to celebrate.  At least one thing I was plain afraid to do – asking my grandmother to write down 5 memories of her mother is one of my favorite items from my list, but actually asking her makes my stomach do flip-flops because it means acknowledging she’s not going to be around forever, which just makes me so, so sad.

Number 95 turned out to be pretty cool – write a letter to myself at futureme.org to be delivered on the last day of 101 in 1001.  I’ll share a bit of my letter with you:

Dear FutureMe,

This letter should have been written on July 31, 2009, when you published your list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days, but that was kind of a hectic time for you and you never got around to it. So here we are, a week before Christmas 2009, and it’s finally time to write.

. . .

When you wrote this letter, you were happy and looking forward to Christmas – you have suspicions David might propose next week. If not, you know it’s going to happen by your birthday in 2010. You can’t wait to marry him; you’ve known that was the right thing since you first got together, and you’re excited to move on to the next stage of your life with him.

When this letter gets delivered, hopefully you’ll have completed all of the items on your 101 in 1001 list. As of today, you’ve completed 15 and have started on 14 others. That’s a good start in only 5 months. Even if you give up on your blog for a little while (you’re thinking of taking a break), you should do your best to keep up with the list. It’s kind of fun.

So what will your life look like in April 2012? Well, hopefully list item #101 came true approximately 18 months earlier and you and David have been happily married for a year and a half. Also, ideally, you’ll either be pregnant or a very new mom; you can’t wait to have kids with David. He doesn’t have any experience with babies, but you know he’s just going to take to it, and you can’t wait to see him with your children. Those are the two big things. The rest will work itself out. It always does.

I hope you are happy and healthy, doing work that you enjoy and living the kind of life you want for yourself, full of family and friends. I hope you learn to take care of yourself and accept yourself for who and what you are. Don’t kid yourself that you have control over more than you do; relax and let the universe unfold as it should. Practice being kind to others; it will help you be kind to yourself, and you are often too hard on yourself. Keep in touch with your family; you’re the glue. Say the things that need to be said before it’s too late. Remember that this life is all there is, and you have the power to make it be the best it can be. Don’t give up.

See you in a few years,

As it turned out, it was almost exactly one year later that David proposed, so everything on the hoped-for timeline is off by a year – we’d been married 6 months by the end of April, we’re planning babies for next year, etc.  I loved getting this, though the . . . part was difficult to read; I hate to remember “the hard part.”  That’s the thing about time, though – perspective changes so much.

I would like to do this again, but not yet.  There’s so much on my plate at the moment that I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself, even though it can be a lot of fun.  Any list I made right now would be full of cheating – paint all walls in new house; hang ceiling fan in master bedroom of new house; make wedding photo albums for our parents; run sprint triathlon; live tweet Olympic opening ceremony – stuff I’m already planning to do.

I will, however, finish Anna Karenina, damn it.


Here’s how the list looked on June 29, 2012:

not started/in progress/completed

Start date: August 1, 2009

End date: April 28, 2012


1. Find a way to sing again – in public (done – joined a community chorus;  our first concert was 11/18/11)

2. Work my way through one quarter of  “No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog” (1/25) (started 2/26/10 with this post)

3. Start keeping a personal journal again (without the pressure of feeling like I need to “recap” everything that’s happened since I last kept one, which is the reason I haven’t started doing it before now) (I started again on 8/15/09 and have written several times; I haven’t decided how long I have to keep it up before I mark this one as completed.)

4. Make 5 more journals and give them away (3/5)

5. Draw something suitable for framing

6. Blow up and frame a photo I took

7. Blog at least three times a week for 3 months (0/12) (0/3)


8. Go to 5 states I’ve never been to (5/5) (West Virginia – 3/27/10; Washington – 8/28/10; Oregon – 8/31/10; California – 9/1/10; Maine 10/21/11)

9. Take a train somewhere far away enough that I have to book a sleeper car (done 8/26/10 – 8/28/10; we took the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle the last weekend in August; it was two overnights on the train, so we got a sleeping compartment:

The seats slide together to form the bottom bunk, and the top bunk flips down from the top (you can’t see it in this picture).)

10. Visit a national landmark I’ve never seen before (done 8/28/10 – Space Needle:

And, also, 9/2/10 – the Golden Gate Bridge:

The fog there is no joke!)

11. Visit a tourist trap I’ve never seen before (like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, or something)

12. Spend a weekend in Amish country at a Bed & Breakfast

13. Visit my friend who lives in LA

14. Spend a night at the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook, Arizona

15. Ice skate at Rockefeller Center

16. Finally Yelp! Fat Matt’s Rib Shack from our trip to Atlanta (short version: go there) (done 8/3/09)

17. Go back to the Excellent Dumpling House in Chinatown in New York (where they really do serve excellent dumplings)

18. Go to Coney Island (when it’s open this time)

Tourism at Home

19. Take a Duck Boat tour of D.C.

20. Visit the September 11 Pentagon Memorial (done 10/?/10 – this is a beautiful memorial, and I encourage anyone who visits D.C. to make the effort to go there)

21. Take a tour of Old Town with one of the colonial guides

22. Take a Segway tour of D.C. with my mom

23. Go see the dolphin show at the Baltimore Aquarium (done 11/6/10 with David, the Princess, and the Conductor – We spent the whole day at the Aquarium and the Inner Harbor:

it was a wonderful day!)

24. Go to the National Zoo

25. Go to 5 museums in the D.C. area (1/5) (7/31/10 – I visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum at the Patent and Trademark Office)

26. Go to Arlington Cemetery (done 6/18/11)


27. Finally finish unpacking the books (done 9/18/09)

28. Try 2 new recipes a month for 6 months 12 new recipes (5/12) (August 2009 – Oven-Fried Pork Chops and Glazed Sesame Pork, both from Cooking Light) (November 2009 – Cinnamon Buns from Pioneer Woman (see #32 below) and Beef Burgundy from Cooks.com) (July 2010 – Butter Chicken, from Tasty Kitchen) (February 2011 – Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce, from The Eating Well Diet cookbook)

29. Put loose recipes into binder (done 8/11/09)

30. Go through boxes of high school and college memorabilia and toss everything that no longer holds meaning (done 9/20/09 – it’s amazing the crap I hold onto)

31. Host a dinner party

32. Bake something that requires yeast (which scares me) (done 11/3/09:


Cinnamon Buns from Pioneer Woman’s recipe!)

33. Enter a baked good in a contest

34. Hang curtains in bedroom (done 11/14/09, finally)

35. Bake a cheesecake from scratch (done 4/1/10, served for Easter 4/4/10 – YUM)

36. Cook meals for lunches at work two weekends a month for 3 months (0/3)

37. Find out what, exactly, chipotle en adobo is, get some, and then make something with it (7/26/10 – found chipotle in adobo (which are just chiles canned in adobo sauce) in the store and grabbed a can; I’ve got a recipe in mind to use them, just haven’t had a chance yet)

38. Find dulce de leche and re-attempt Death by Caramel Bars

39. Grow mint so I can learn to make my own mojitos (started a little pot of mint on 7/31/10; update 9/18/10: back to square one – the mint didn’t take)

40. Get caught up on putting photos in albums and printing photos from my camera (started 2/10/10 – what else to do with my 4th snow day in a row? 3/13/10 – ordered 500+ prints from Costco to catch up; now I just need to put those in albums; 7/19/10 – When I was putting those 500 prints in albums, I realized I’m missing pictures between January (our trip to Vegas) and April 2009 (our trip to Atlanta) – they got lost when my external hard drive somehow got damaged.  I’m waiting to see if David can recover them before I put the rest of the prints in albums so they won’t be out of order.)

41. Buy a scanner (done 10/16/09 and finally all set up today, 10/25/09 – see #70!)

42. Upload old photos (this is in progress as of 10/25/09, but I’m not sure when I’ll consider it completed)

43. Go through photo files and name all photos

44. Buy an apron, maybe from Etsy from Lydia (I got it on 7/21/10 – see her blog for pictures!)

45. Find a recipe for beef burgundy and try it out; see if it compares to this (done 11/7/09, and it was pretty good – not like that one, but very close to one I had in a French restaurant about a month ago; the link to the recipe is in #28 above)

Health & Fitness

46. Lose 40 50 60 pounds, 5 pounds at a time (0/60) (update 9/13/11 – hahahahahahaha!!)

47. Journal food intake (i.e., get back on track with Weight Watchers) for 30 days (finished 10/8/09)

48. Run another 5k (done 4/25/10 – I completed the GW Parkway Classic 5k.  I’m not allowed to run – doctor’s orders – but I did a little anyway.) (update 6/29/12 – I did 5 more 5ks before the end, all in April.  See this post for details.)

49. Take a kickboxing class

50. Take a dance class

51. Get off my medication (I stopped July 3, 2010, but had to start again August 5.  I hate it, but it’s for the best.) (Update 9/13/11 – I stopped taking my meds on 8/18/11 – so far so good.  Hasn’t been easy the whole time, but I think I’m leveling off finally.) (Update 11/27/11 – that did not go well; started again 11/17/11 and I feel much, much better)

52. Floss every day for 30 days (done – finished 4/20/10 and still (mostly) going strong)

53. Take Pico to the vet three times (more as medically necessary) (3/3)

54. Take my vitamins every day for 30 days (finished 8/30/09 – and still (mostly) going strong)

55. Work out 5 days a week for one month (0/20)

56. Finally upgrade my processor or get my back-up processor fixed (fixed 8/18/10 – yay!) (upgraded to latest technology 5/15/11)


57. Establish a savings account and deposit money from every paycheck (done in 2011 – David and I deposit money into 2 different savings account each pay period)

58. Create and implement plan to pay off credit card 1 (done – February 2011)

59. Create and implement plan to pay off credit card 2 (done – February 2011)

60. Create and implement plan to pay off car (done – October 2011)

61. Figure out whether and how to roll over old 401(k)


62. Attend an NFL game (done 9/19/10, Texans-Redskins at FedEx Field:

We had amazing seats – I got the tickets from a friend on Facebook – and it was so much fun!)

63. Go ice roller skating (I changed this one because David pointed out I already have “ice skate at Rockefeller Center” on the list)

64. See games at 3 Major League ballparks I’ve never been to (Done! Astros-Cubs at Wrigley Field on 8/31/09; Indians-Tigers at Comerica Park on 9/1/09; Yankees-Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on 9/3/09) (Update 9/18/10: I’ve been to three new parks: Twins-Mariners at SafeCo Field on 8/29/10; Rockies-Giants at AT&T Park on 9/1/10; and Angels-A’s at The Coliseum on 9/4/10)

65. Go horseback riding

66. Fly a kite

67. Go to the drive-in

68. Join a bowling league of some kind (we joined the Potomac Curling Club 2/20/10 and signed up for a beginners curling league; league play ended 4/9/10.  We decided to become full members of the Club this season and have been curling regularly in the TGIF league since October!)

69. Go to a monster truck show

70. Drag David into a photo booth get a photo strip of pictures of us (done at the Henry Ford on 8/30/09:

Scan_Pic0002 (Large)

And I did, in fact, have to drag him, but he was a good sport.)

71. Bowl a perfect game on Wii Bowling (my best game so far is 212)


72. Read Anna Karenina (11/27/11 – I have this on my new Kindle Touch and have started; let’s see how it goes. Update 2/19/12 – 53% done; it’s looooooooong!) (update 6/29/12 – 75% done; I keep getting distracted by other books!)

73. Learn to play Euchre, so I can play with David’s family

74. Learn all the state capitals by heart (completed 9/7/09 – made it through the list 5 times over our ten-day trip without missing any, but David says he’s going to retest me in 6 months!)

75. Take a class at the community college

76. See half of the movies on AFI’s  list of the Top 100 Films of the Last 100 Years that I haven’t seen (5/23) (June 2010 – Goodfellas; October 2010 – Psycho; November 2010 – The Deer Hunter; February 2012 – Rear Window; March 2010 – Vertigo)

77. Finish Heart of Darkness, even if it kills me

78. Learn to use 3 new features on my digital camera (1/3) (on our August/September 2010 West Coast vacation, I learned how to use the shutter speed priority setting to take pictures from a moving train or car – thanks Lydia!)

79. Watch the third Godfather film (done 7/30/10; we watched the first two again (not all at once, of course) to get in the right frame of mind – I didn’t hate it)

80. Re-read all 7 Harry Potter books (done 11/6/10) (7/12/10 – Book 1; 7/21/10 – Book 2; 8/1/10 – Book 3; 8/15/10 – Book 4; 9/9/10 – Book 5; 9/27/10 – Book 6; 10/10/10 – Book 7)


81. Volunteer with the Girl Scouts somewhere (I went through all the rigamarole to get approved for GS in the summer of 2009, and even met with a lady who was supposed to set me up with a troop, but she fell off the face of the earth and I can’t get anyone else to respond to me!)

82. Do 10 nice things for strangers and don’t tell anyone about them (done 12/21/10 – this has been one of my favorite items on the list.  I think I’m going to keep going.)

83. Leave a secret in a Post Secret book at the library or bookstore

84. Write three letters to companies whose products I enjoy or who provided excellent service (0/3)

85. Write three letters to companies when I have a problem with a product or service (2/3) (8/21/09 – wrote to AMC about multiple misspellings and improper punctuation in the captions of the season premiere of Mad Men; 10/26/09 – wrote to Belk to express my displeasure at their statement that they canceled my order because the item wasn’t in stock – despite the website indicating it was – without ever notifying me (I only found out after I inquired because I’d only been charged for one item))

86. Send a care package through Anysoldier.com to a soldier serving overseas (done 12/16/10 – I opted not to go through Anysoldier.com because they had all kinds of restrictions and rules and things that made it less, I don’t know, fun than I thought it would be.  I did mine through work at our annual holiday party last week instead.)


87. Ask my grandmother to write down five memories of her own mother for me

88. Have the Princess and Conductor spend an overnight with me in D.C. and take them to do fun stuff (done – they came 2/13/10 and we saw Disney on Ice!  They had such a great time!

The next morning, we had a Valentine’s breakfast, complete with heart-shaped pancakes!

I am an awesome aunt!) (See also #23)

89. Write actual letters to 10 people telling them how much they mean to me (0/10)

90. Go one weekend (from 6pm Friday to 7am Monday) without using the internet (including from my cell phone)

91. Do something special with Aimee in 2011 to celebrate 20 years of friendship (Update 9/13/11: Aimee suggested tattoos; I countered with a trip to Napa.  We’re still deciding.) (Update 11/27/11 – I think sky diving – haven’t suggested this to Aimee yet!)

92. Take David on a picnic

93. Continue the Christmas cookie weekend tradition with Karen (3/3) (2009 Cookie Weekend) (2010 Cookie Weekend happened, but I didn’t blog it because apparently I don’t blog anymore) (2011 Cookie Weekend happened too, but I still don’t blog anymore!)

94. Get a haircut and maintain it with regular (every 6 months) trims (8/22/09 – hair cut; 2/28/10 – trim; 8/15/10 – sweet little cut that added bangs; 2/12/11 – trim; 8/19/11 – trim; 2/20/12 – cut with bangs)

95. Write myself a letter at FutureMe.org to be delivered on the end date of this challenge (done 12/17/09)

96. Find a new job (Update 11/27/11 – I have decided to stay on at my current job for the foreseeable future)

97. Finally get my diploma and bar certificates framed (done 12/11/09)

98. Send someone flowers for no reason (done – they were delivered 2/19/10 – I sent my good friend from college some sunflowers (her favorite), and she loved them!)

99. Buy new running shoes (done 1/2/10)

100. Buy new iPod (done 2/4/10 – my parents bought me a Nano for an early birthday present!)

101. Marry David (DONE – 10/15/11!)


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