Tag Archives: life list

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!!!

It’s my birthday! Hooray!


I love my birthday. It is the only day of the year I really want someone to bring me cake. Last year, my cake was provided by my friend Jamie. HOWEVER, I’m guessing she’s not planning on a surprise trip back from Boston for the sole purpose of bringing me cake and gin, so it’s possible I might have to do without this year.

True story: one year, my then-roommate, knowing that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, got me a cheese cake. Literally a giant block of cheese (colby jack) that she put candles in. Marcy is awesome. HOW DO I NOT HAVE PICTURES OF THAT? And how is that not a bigger thing on the internet? Google image search has let me down. A cake that looks like a cheese is not the same thing.

It IS super cute, though...

It IS super cute, though…

ANYWAY. Birthday. Mine. Today.

I am 39! (I know, I know, I don’t look a day over 29. I have discovered the fountain of youth – and it’s insomnia and beer.)

Kinda want to do this at my next summer party...

Kinda want to do this at my next party…

I’m starting my last full year in my 30s! I’m not particularly bothered about turning forty. It’s certainly better than not (unless, of course, my aging was arrested by an extremely…friendly…vampire).


AHEM! Where was I?

Oh right, my #40before40 list.


  1. Attend the ballet
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Go ice skating
  4. Go to a book signing
  5. Go to the local nude beach
  6. Go to the opera (Sweeney Todd in June? Anyone?)
  7. Sing a new song at karaoke
  8. Take a barre class
  9. Take a dancing class
  10. Take a cooking class
  11. TEMPORARY funky hair color (holla Danny!)
  12. Throw pottery (on a wheel)
  13. Try a pole dancing class at the studio down the street.
  14. Try hot yoga
  15. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity – signed up for a 5/21 volunteer date!
Gonna build a house with Jimmy in May!

Gonna build a house with Jimmy in May!


  1. Do a boudoir photo session
  2. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation (a few ideas: Zoo, OMSI, roller skating, rock climbing, art museum).
  3. Host a wine tasting (mmmm…rosé in the garden in July? Who’s in?)
  4. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday
  5. Take the Bean fishing
  6. Whale watching
Funny story! I went whale watching in LA once. I was told there were whales. I spent the whole trip vomiting over the side of the boat. Let's hope round two goes better.

Funny story! I went whale watching in LA once. I was told there were whales. I spent the entire trip vomiting over the side of the boat. Let’s hope round two goes better.


  1. [Redacted]
  2. Become a proficient knife thrower (i.e. hit the target more often than not)
  3. Become passable in Swedish
  4. Develop a habit of meditation
  5. Learn 100 ASL signs
  6. Get back into my DIY habits – I used to do a lot more homemade stuff. I’m thinking of doing more of the following: make my own bread, stock, cheese, jam, salsas, etc. I might not dive back into my smoked meat projects that I was doing before I had a Bean.
  7. Perfect the homemade pie crust. (Find volunteers to eat and critique all the pies.)
  8. Read one prize-winning (any major prize) book each month
  9. Run a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. Bonus: run something longer!
  10. Take a good photo and pay to have it framed
  11. Try a new (to me) cheese each month
  12. Write 150 blog posts (more is better, but I only wrote 75 last year [SLACKER], so I don’t want to get TOO ambitious)
So many cheeses, so little time...

So many cheeses, so little time…


  1. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne (this will happen on March 2)
  2. Get a stamp in my passport (I have plans for this fall!)
  3. Give a $100 tip on an inexpensive meal (hat tip to Danielle!)
Iceland - I will be in you!

Iceland – I will be in you!


  1. Feel good about my fitness level and appearance
  2. Get better at self care. That means eating regularly; exercising regularly; sleeping regularly. It also means I need to learn to let it go (sing it with me now)…specifically work drama. Repeat: “It’s not me, it’s them…” (Also, self forgiveness…so even if I don’t get every single one of these ambitious goals [I misspelled ambitious so badly that my spell check suggested I met calamitous – touché comput.er], I am still a winner.)
  3. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. (I’m looking at you  Cat, Elizabeth, and…[insert your name here!])
  4. Publish my first book
Because I AM a winner, dammit!

Because I AM a winner, dammit!


Every month on the 24th, I’ll give a brief update on my progress. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a very expensive bottle of champagne to procure.

happy birthday amy




Getting It Done

2015 has been kind of a banner year for me.

I’ve crossed (or will cross) five whole things off my life list (and it’s only August!)

20. Learn to fence – I started fencing lessons last week and it is my favorite thing ever (except at the end of each class when I worry that my hand will never recover and I won’t be able to grip anything ever again). I am going to buy my own sword (I need a tiny, child-sized one because I have small hands.)

This is why I'm not a concert pianist; not enough reach.

I don’t actually smell like cabbage. I hope.


30. Receive money for writing. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was actual money.

Fighting Dragons, published 4/13/15

41. Stay in the penthouse suite of a luxury hotel – On May 29 (i.e. the architect’s birthday), I booked us a penthouse suite at the Benson. It was super fun. We got dressed up and drank champagne and then had the concierge make us reservations for dinner. Then we raided the mini bar, because why not?

the birthday boy the champagne the giver of penthouses the view

44. Take dance lessons. I signed up with my friend Jamie to do a 10 week beginning ballet class. And we did it! (Well, I did nine weeks and would’ve done only two weeks if Jamie hadn’t been in the class, too. The ballet was followed by wine, and I still wouldn’t have motivated myself to go after the first couple classes.)

Yes, I wore chainmail tights to ballet. I am that level of badass.

Yes, I wore chainmail tights to ballet. I am that level of badass.

50. Wear a bikini in public – I don’t know if my back yard is public per se, but I’m not hiding back there and plenty of people have seen me in said bikini. Plus I instagrammed that shit and shared with the world, so it is out there!

the bikini

52. Travel (alone) for fun somewhere I’ve never been before. – I’m going to New Orleans w/o my family in September. I’m not going alone alone; I’m meeting a friend there, but it almost counts, I think. (This will also help me check another state off my list – I’ve never been to Louisiana!)

Soon, I will have my own pictures. CANNOT wait.


So – a great year, you might say. Productive! Trying new things! There is only one thing missing. (Well, a lot of things, obviously, but one can’t get through an entire life list in a year.)

28. Publish a novel. In fact, I’m not even close because I am not actually doing much editing. Mostly due to extreme fear. Like I can’t even get it edited enough to send to my PSM who will probably not laugh at me and mock me, even if it does suck.

This is what my PSM looks like in my head. Total fucking badass.

She addressed this a bit today on her blog (and I just picked up the profanity-laced self help book she recommended). And then I made her pinky swear with me that we would exchange books on October 1, so help us Kvasir and Brigid.


Goddess of inspiration, battle, and the forge

God of creativity and mead; and fancy headgear, apparently



I will cut you…with my unicorn

When last I left you, we were collectively basking in the radiance of my awesomeness. Since there’s only so long I can milk my brief but shining stardom, I thought it might be time to come up with some new content.

Soooo – what’s been going on these last two weeks? Fuck if I remember. It’s been a whirl of press junkets and fending off the crazed and drunken groupies who came out of the woodwork when I published my essay on…post-partum depression.

Hmmm…that’s not even remotely plausible, is it?

I’ve been continuing my triathlon training, although the last seven days sucked. My legs felt like they were skin sacks filled with lead pudding. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ve been drinking wine outside (last weekend, when it was so nice) and reminding myself that I was awesome (last week, when it wasn’t nice and I was über stressed). I threatened to stab a lot of people with my unicorn. I’m not sure if that actually alarmed anyone. (It should’ve.)

IMG_1140 IMG_1141 IMG_1144 unicorns

Yeah – I have a LOT of jpgs for unicorn stabbings. Maybe someone should be alarmed.

I made a hyoooge decision last week that I’m not ready to talk about yet. Give me a couple of weeks, and then you call all be enraptured by the anti-climacticism of that decision which will not be interesting to anyone. At all. Ever.

I’ve been taking a ballet class (my fifth class is tomorrow night). My tri coach is deeply skeptical of the wisdom of doing this (and then not telling her about it) during my half-iron(wo)man training. BUT BUT BUT there’s wine after the dancing, so it’s practically active recovery. Except for the part where my hips and knees hurt after and I can’t drag my ass out of bed on Wednesday mornings to run. (Hmmm…maybe the coach knows of which she speaks.)

Ballet bonus – it’s on my life list (#44), and now I can cross that off, even if I have to drop out half way through.

The project I’m working on with my PSM is slowly sapping my will to live read. For the first time in my entire life I find myself procrastinating reading instead of procrastinating BY reading.

I’ve pretty much gone from this:

This is how I USED to feel about books

This is how I USED to feel about books

To this:

ARGHHH! My eyes! Why was that scene in there?

ARGHHH! My eyes! Why was that scene in there?

To this:

Again? Really?

Again? Really?

To this:



And that should pretty much bring you up to date on my life, through the magic of amusing pictures I’ve found on the internet.


Life List Update

So many new accomplishments to check off my life list!

Things I have done since last I updated:

8. Develop into a competent public speaker – although I am a Toast drop-out, the fact that I toasted, and competed! in public speaking-type things leads me to believe that I am now competent. I still get crazy nervous, but I know how to tame the nerve-monsters and deliver a good speech.

11. Dye my hair a color not found anywhere in nature – In the last year, I’ve dyed the hair an aubergine color, as well as a reddish c0lor with pink & purple stripes. I’m going to go even wilder next year, but for now, back to basics…

36. Set foot in all fifty states (20 16 Remain: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia)

43. Successfully meditate – I feel that the meditation practice I developed during pregnancy was quite successful. I did not keep it up, but for a few months, it was part of my daily routine.

Things I have added to the list

51. Finish a 50K

52. Travel alone (for fun) to somewhere I’ve never been before


October 2011 Goals (PLUS! Exciting dinner party pictures!)

Um, holy crap you guys! I totally forgot to post my goals on 10/1/11! In my defense, 9/30/11 was a really long day, and I spent most of Saturday recovering. With baklava. As you do.

ANYWAYS – let’s talk about the plan for October! And look back on September!

September Goals

  1. Can tomatoes…salsa, marinara, ketchup, whatever – just can it! – half SUCCESS! I canned lots of marinara and salsa, but there are still so many tomatoes left. There is work to be done this weekend, people.
  2. PICKLES!  My cucumbers, once again, sucked, so I will be hitting up a farmer’s market and buying as many cukes as I can carry for dill pickles and bread & butter pickles. I’ve already done beet pickles & pickled asparagus this year. – FAIL! I actually completely forgot about this. I should probably make some pickles, but only if I have time. I’ve been busy.
  3. Finish the bathroom before my in-laws arrive! It would be awesome to have a second usable bathroom as well as a usable guest room by the time they get here. – 3/4 SUCCESS! The toilet & the sink were all hooked up. The floors were done! It is good. We still have to finish tiling the tub/shower area, add in the built-in shelves, and paint, but it’s getting there! And, the important bits are usable. Oooh – and! the bathroom is now street legal! The inspector came Friday morning & passed us! YAY!
  4. Fancy dinner party. It is on my life list, and I am excited to host a few friends for my first fancy dinner party. I have invitations to go out this weekend. I am finalizing the menu. I wish I could invite everyone I know, but unfortunately, I don’t have enough room for that many people! – SUCCESS! My fancy dinner party was Friday night, and it was so much fun. We did a Greek menu, and most of my plates even matched. The food was good, and I think a good time was had by all.
  5. Mother-effing pirate festival. Every year, I say I’m going to go, and every year, I don’t. I can walk there! The only year I actually did go was 2007 – and it was the day after the architect had surgery. He insisted he wanted to go, so we drove. And parked about 1/2 mile away (and 1/2 mile away from our house). We got there, walked around a bit, and then he felt crappy, so I went and fetched the car & picked him up at the gate. Not the best time, really. The next year it rained. I don’t remember my excuse for 2009, but last year, I just flat out forgot. Not this time, bitches!  I am going to the pirate festival, and you can’t stop me! YARGHHHHHHHHHHH!  (Ummm, I just went to the site to get the link, and it’s MOVED! I can no longer walk there! WTF, Pirate Festival?! Is this because I never attend? WHYYYYY??????) (AND, it’s Labor Day weekend! When I will be laboring! I do not want to drive to St. Helens for my piratey goodness!) (Also, I really wish the interrobang was a symbol on my keyboard.) – I hate you stupid Pirate Festival that isn’t down the street from my house anymore. BOOO!
  6. Since I just maybe deleted my goal #5, I decided I should probably add a real goal #5. Okay, then….this is harder than I thought. I was so set on the pirate festival. Oooh – I know!  I will fall-clean and organize my kitchen! I was thinking I was going to anyways, due to the how-to guide posted by Cat, but now I have to! (And I really, really need to…the house cleaner is good at making my house look clean, but she hasn’t looked in the fridge or taken the initiative to organize my pantry & cupboards…I have a LOT of kitchen gadgets, and should probably determine which are necessary and which can go.) – ha ha ha ha ha ha! FAIL! ha ha ha.
  7. Oh, wait! I just thought of another! I need to plan the next 12 months of the gardening enterprise and get some fall crops in the ground! – half SUCCESS! I have a lot of the initial plans done, and if there’s a break in the weather this weekend, I will pull out the remainder of the summer crops, get the garlic & onions in the ground, and plant some fall/winter greens.

September Training Goals

So – keep up with the exercise & training, and also CORE! – SUCCESS! All things considered, anyways. 😉

October 2011 Goals

  1. Finish the bathroom by 10/29/11. We can do it!  All supplies are purchased! I can paint like a mad woman! And make sandwiches for the architect while he tiles. (I am not allowed to tile due to my propensity to say, “eh, fuck it! That’s good enough!”) I am excellent construction support staff.
  2. Get the rain garden outlined, dug, and partially planted.
  3. Finish summer garden/start fall garden.
  4. Remove all extraneous computer crap from the house. Like the printer that doesn’t work. And the CRT monitor that weighs 375 lbs. And the 50 (approximate count) PCs (both laptop & desktop) that are just sitting around doing nothing. NOTHING! Except gathering dust.
  5. Finish my very last class of my Master’s program with an “A” before starting the final project phase.
  6. Throw the ass-kicking-est 2nd Annual Halloween bash ever! YAY for Halloween!  We will have a howling good time!

October Training Goals

I have them! My gym membership expires this month, and I will not be renewing it. So, I want to spend more time outdoors. Running, jumping, biking, hiking, etc. I have been slacking on yoga lately, too, and need to make that a regular practice again.


And, because I had such a great time at the fancy dinner party, here are some photos! Although, not of the food, really. Which makes me sad. I should’ve at least taken a picture of the baklava!

The blank slate....

My place settings don’t all match, but there is, at least, a theme.

A single setting

One place setting; you can’t see the black salad plate underneath, but it’s there! Also, check out my fancy silver (plated) flatware!  Ooooh!

The hors d'oeuvres table

The hors d’oeuvres table: falafel, various hummuses, a bunch of goat and sheep cheeses, some awesome olives, and a quince spread (so good on cheese); with pita, of course!


The architect in his finery

The architect in all his finery – isn’t he handsome? (That suit was last year’s xmas present from yours truly…)

Z & J - post dinner

Zach & Jen – we have such good looking friends!

S & M (hee!) pre-dinner

Sarah & Michael – enjoying a pre-dinner lemon drop.

The Ambitious One & Mr. Pi - pre dinner

The Ambitious One & Mr. Pi (apparently they don’t get real names); with Lola in the background!



Dinner – salad course at this point!  Pre-salad was the avgolemono soup (so good), and post Greek salad, was the main course(s): moussaka, spanakopita, and dolmas with an avgolemono sauce.


Post dinner wine and dessert: baklava (that 9×13 pan of baklava apparently has a street value of about $60) and more cheese!  Please note our exciting ceiling art installation!  It’s a commentary on the modern conveniences of life that are often ignored in polite society. Or possibly, it’s where we had to cut into the ceiling to move the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom.

ANYWAYS! Dinner party done! And another item checked off my life list! YAY!