Tuesday, October 14, 2014

101 Things in 1001 Days Wrap-Up


It seems like I started this ages ago, but as my tagline stated, it was just 34 months. Well, I’m proof that a lot can happen in 34 months! And not all of it is what you set out to do. I started on January 11, 2012, and ended last week on October 8, 2014. Here it is, my 101 Things in 1001 Days summary.

Entertainment: 12 out of 22. Just over half - I’ll count that as a success!
- I didn’t have a drink at a bar alone, because I stopped going out drinking. I should get points for that.
- I didn’t teach myself a language, but I bought a German Rosetta Stone rip-off that I’ll probably listen to one day.
- I didn’t read a book on the craft of writing every month, but I read 20 in 34 months, so that’s basically a win.
- I didn’t skydive. I have no excuse.
- I didn’t ride in a hot air balloon, because I wanted it to be romantic. My boy is scared of balloons, but told me he would ride in one with me, so it will happen.
- I didn’t scuba dive, but I didn’t go to the beach, and I didn’t want to scuba dive in the Mississippi River.
- I didn’t climb a tree. I didn’t find one with limbs 3, 6, and 12 inches off the ground, or I would have.
- I didn’t hit on a man in the self-help section of a library or bookstore. Seems like dudes stay away from this section. I seriously checked it out every time I was at Barnes & Noble, and only once encountered a person there. But she was an older lady, and I didn’t think she’d appreciate my affections.
- I didn’t visit a fortune teller, but I tried really hard. Twice. When we were out of town. Because visiting a fortune teller in your own town just seems wrong somehow.
- I didn’t see a play or musical, but I helped put on a few of them at my last job. Halfway counts.

Creativity: 4 out of 18. Wow. I am an uncreative monster. In my defense…
- I kind of took a picture of a national park at night. But it wasn’t a cool one, it was just car headlights shining on me at the entrance of Yellowstone.
- I was pretty good at submitting every quarter until the last 3. I have a nice accumulation of rejections to show for it.
- My mom made me two dresses out of that material that is gathered at the top and you just have to stitch up the side. That kind of counts, right?
- I didn’t do anything with my t-shirt quilt, but I know what I’m going to do with it. And that’s not a dumb statement… I had attempted a quilt, but didn’t measure anything or cut straight. I just started sewing. So now I have a tarp of t-shirts. But I’m going to do something cool with it, you just wait.

For Others: 11 out of 17. Massive success! And isn’t kindness more important than creativity? Yeah. Sure.
- I didn’t pay for the order of the person behind me. But a man did it for me! So I get credit by association, right?
- I didn’t send candy to anyone, but I totally meant to do it this year for my friend’s birthday. Wrangling the baby got in the way.
- I didn’t buy lemonade from a kid’s stand, even though I saw several and kept thinking “I should turn around” while I drove by.
- I didn’t donate blood, because I was never “cleared” to due to tattoos.
- I didn’t handmade holiday gifts because that is some work!
- I didn’t make charitable donations as gifts because I worked at a nonprofit for a year and my unpaid work from home was all the charity I could muster.

Food: 7 out of 11. If nothing else, you can count on me to follow through on anything related to food!
- I didn’t grill out. But Will does all the time, and he taught me how, so I could do it if the world was ending. Or if he wasn’t home.
- I didn’t cook dinner every night for a week. I tried, but it was when Will was an overnight security guard, so he wasn’t home for dinner, and the whole point of cooking dinner was to share it with someone. I had the menu all planned out and everything.
- I didn’t host a dinner party, per say, but we have people over to cook out a lot. I don’t really act like a host, but I make sure people have fun and get what they need. Kinda counts.
- I didn’t go to a diner or cafe alone, but I have before, and not just in airports. So I don’t feel like I’m missing out on that.

Travel: HA. 5 things from the longest list. Let’s just say… I bought a house and had a baby instead of traveling. I still want to accomplish all the things on this list, but now I want to wait until my son is old enough to enjoy it with me.

Domestic Life: 4 out of 4! TOTAL SUCCESS! And you know what? I went above and beyond with this one.
- I bought a house.
- I painted the house.
- I took care of the yard.
- I cleaned the gutters.
- I started using a clothesline.
- I settled down with a boy.
- I gave birth to a baby in the house I bought.
BOOYAH.

Lighten Up It’s Just Fashion: 8 out of 9. I didn’t want to be stuck with the live goldfish from my pair of platform shoes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Club

One of the items on my 101 in 1001 was to attend a book club meeting. I had previously been to one at the Central Library. I can’t remember the book anymore - it’s been at least seven years ago, I bet. Let’s just say, it was so long ago, I can’t remember when it was. ‘Nuff said.

I figured, to fulfill my 101 goal, I’d just attend another meeting at the same library. Instead, it became much bigger than that. I kind of waited until the last minute, but it was worth it. In August, my sister-in-law and her friend wanted to create a book club. Will and I had been talking about starting one since the spring, but nothing ever came of it. Once we put our friends together with my SIL’s friends and her friend’s friends, we have a nice-sized group!

The rules are pretty general - whoever wants to host each month lists three books they’d like to lead a discussion about. Club members vote for a book, and the one with the most interest wins. We then have three weeks to read the book before the meeting. The host gets to pick where and when the discussion will be, but usually we take polls to see when people are free.

Our first book was Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, which I’d read before. That doesn’t excuse the fact that, in true Allison style, I cracked it open two nights before. It was fun to discuss with other people, and Will and I have been trying to be more social anyway, so mission accomplished!

Will is actually hosting the next meeting. The book is Maus, if any of you want to read along with us! He’s read it before, and checked out Maus II and MetaMaus so he’d be well-rounded and interesting while leading the discussion. I’ve been reading a fair amount of graphic novels lately, so I’m excited to read it. But, in all honesty, I’ll probably start it two days before the meeting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3rd Quarter Books

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One More Thing by B.J. Novak. A great collection of short stories, and sometimes short short stories. Most of them were very funny or clever, and a few were surprisingly serious. I preferred the funny ones, because they were really good, like “How did he come up with this?!” good. Even the serious stories, however, had twist endings, so they were interesting to read as well. I’d definitely read more by Novak.

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley. Peter Brooks works in a lab testing animal viruses. He and his wife, Ann, are unhappy in their marriage, so Peter suggests a separation. Ann starts teaching art at her youngest daughter’s school, until Peter finds a lake full of dead ducks. His lab begins testing them, and realizes they have H5N1. The bird flu starts to mutate and infect humans, so cities are closed down. People mostly stay quarantined in their homes, viciously fighting when they venture out for supplies. Everyone has to decide how far they’ll go to protect their family from the virus. This book sucked me in so completely that, reading in the middle of the night, I started to believe that what was happening in the story was actually happening outside of my window. Such a great book!

The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills. Mills was a reporter in Chicago assigned to write an article about Harper Lee. She went to Monroeville, Alabama to interview people who knew of or had seen the reclusive author around town. As Mills endeared herself to the townspeople, Lee’s friends caught wind of her, and allowed her to interview them. Then, knocking on the door of Harper Lee’s home, Mills meets Harper’s older sister, Alice. They become friends, and Alice tells Harper to contact Mills. This begins a long relationship between the sisters and the reporter, detailed in the pages of this book. Many things were told to the author off the record, but Lee later said they could be included in a book, if Mills wrote one. Other things stay off the record, piquing curiosity. I absolutely loved this book because Mills wrote so vividly, I could imagine myself in her shoes. I’ve already recommended it to several people, and can’t wait to read it again.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. I was eager to read this book because I thought the premise sounded great: a girl and boy break up, the girl sends back a box of the boyfriend’s stuff, with a letter explaining each piece. I especially loved that it was an illustrated novel, because I think seeing the items returned adds a lot to the story. When I first tried to read it, I couldn’t get into it, so I put it down for later. I’m so glad I came back to it. One of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Min is writing a letter to her ex, Ed, and at first I didn’t like the writing style. It was a bit too formal to convince me a heartbroken teenager wrote it to her boyfriend. But as I got more immersed in the story, that issue bothered me less and less until I was dying to know what happened. So good. Read it.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. I read this for a school assignment, and probably never would have read it on my own. That would have been unfortunate, because this book blew me away (no pun intended). The action takes place over 36 hours, and honestly, there isn’t much action - but there is SO much suspense. Sig’s father froze to death after falling through the ice on a lake. Sig’s sister and stepmother have gone for help, leaving Sig alone… with his father’s corpse. When a man his father used to know knocks on the door, Sig has no choice but to let him in. The book deals with Sig battling if he knew his father at all, and whether he should shoot the evil man or not.

Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe. My favorite graphic novel to date. When Sadie and her mother move to a new town, Sadie finds herself as the new girl in a high school where everyone has grown up together. To overcome her shyness and have something to talk about, Sadie tells everyone she has a peanut allergy. She makes friends and even has a boy interested in her, but what will Sadie do when the nurse needs a health sheet from her mother and spare Epipen? Can Sadie fake a peanut allergy, or will she be found out and lose her friends?

If you want to see what else I've been reading, check out my Goodreads account.