Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day One Hundred and Six

I missed Day One Hundred ... oh well, there are nine more hundreds to go, so I'm not going to stress about it.

I was thinking today, as I often do on New Year's Eve, about the last year and all it has held, and hoping that I am ending the year with at least a little more wisdom and a few more accomplishments that I can be proud of.

One small and unexpected benefit from this project is directly connected to the nature of the list itself - many of the things on it are things I have never done before, and therefore are things which I do not already do well. This seems fairly obvious, but one of the most challenging things about making this list in the first place was fighting a long-established tendency to only do things that I do well. The flip side is that I rarely start things if I don't think I will excel at them, and quit them quickly if they don't come easily to me. (Which is why I don't play the violin, ice skate, dance, or any number of things which did NOT make this list.) Convincing myself to include a few items that would stretch me was an exercise in humility and hope.

So far, I've tried a few that "press on the understood boundaries of myself" (in the words of one of the authors I need to write a fan letter to, Item #45). I joked about understanding the International Date Line, but I nearly didn't include it on the list since I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to actually do it. I haven't talked much about this here, but Item #55 (go 30 days without alcohol, even Irish cream in my hot chocolate) took a little more application of willpower than I had anticipated - with the result that I've extended it to what is now 67 days, which probably has contributed to the progress on Item #56 (finish losing the 70 pounds I started losing last summer).

I have also discovered that I am not a very good knitter, but I genuinely enjoy it. I have discovered that I have absolutely no natural tendency for a good French accent. Looking at the rest of my list, I am gradually realizing that excellence at all of these pursuits isn't really an option, unless I also discover the Fountain of Youth and a time machine. I think that if I can learn to truly enjoy doing things for their own sake, even if I do them rather badly for a while, I will have gained something worth having. I'm getting better about not stressing out when things don't turn out perfectly, and I kind of like it.

Maybe for my next list of 101 things, I'll decide to learn to dance ...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Ninety-Three

Another hat for the homeless. I am going to try REALLY hard to get this one to the drop-off point before I accidentally give it away to somebody again. I just like giving people things, though! I guess if you have to have a fault, that's not a bad one to have.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Ninety-Two

... 11 ...

... 24 ...

... 48,



(This is what it looks like when you do sit-ups in front of a Christmas Tree.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day Eighty-One

I am having some difficulty with Item #33 (knit or crochet 20 items for the homeless). Back on Day Thirteen I started a red fuzzy scarf to give away, and sort of forgot about it. I remembered it last week when I had a recording gig, and yes, those thoughts are much more connected than they seem like.

Rule #1 of Recording Sessions: Something will go wrong with the sound system. Doesn't matter who's doing it, how prepared they are, how expensive the equipment is, something will always go wrong and it will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours (perhaps more) to fix.

Musician's Response to Rule #1 of Recording Sessions: Bring something to do.

So, just in case, I brought my knitting along. And sure enough, the microphone wouldn't talk to the snorfle, and the snorfle was causing feedback to the globbenator, which was complicated by the inexplicable problems with the snarp. (I lost them somewhere around "microphone".) I got many, many rows done, and eventually we also got three unacceptable takes of the Ferdinand David Concertino for Trombone, which necessitated a second recording session.

Rule #2 of Recording Sessions: Rule #1 applies to the rescheduled session as well.

Musician's Response #2: Bring something to do, and maybe a snack.

I finished the final fringe on the scarf before we even got to the first take, and started a multi-colored hat, and that's where the problem began. I took the hat-in-progress with me when I went to visit my sister, and finished it while I was at her house. She took one look when I finished it and said, "Oh, that's adorable! I love it! Who's it for?" I said, "Um ... you!" Because, really, I can make another hat for the homeless, and she'd had a bad week, and she just needed that hat. And besides it looked super cute on her. So I gave it to her and started a new purple hat, which is about 60% done now.

I took the red scarf to church today to give to the lady who collects them. She wasn't there, so I gave it to her husband, a beloved family friend, and he promptly tried it on ... and proceeded to wear it for the rest of the morning. I laughed and said he was welcome to it.

I think I will hide the purple hat when I finish it, or the homeless aren't going to get a single thing from me.

Here is me in the red scarf before I delivered it. Due to some progress on Item #56 as a result of Day Forty-Three, there is actually a faint hint of cheekbones. Haven't seen those in a while ...