(The last list of the year!)
List the most memorable moments of your year:
(This is not a list of “moments,” but of events that contributed many memorable moments.)
- Well, there was this thing about committing to publishing a blog every single day, that kind of stands out as memorable. There were days, before I got into the swing of it, when I panicked near midnight, having not yet written anything to post. There were frustrating times when it seemed I had nothing worthwhile to say, or not enough time to do a subject justice. There were days when I – in trying to write ahead – accidentally published two blogs in one day. There were blessings. Like the suggestion that I just put artwork up on Thursdays, and not feel the need to write in depth about it. And finding this 52 Lists Project, which has been a joy to do, and a godsend in getting me through the week. And all of the loyal folks who have stuck with me, reading what I put out there, and sometimes offering comments and encouragement. It has definitely been memorable.
- In February, there was a paint seminar in Clare that turned into a mini vacation. I added one day to my trip when my sister Brenda agreed to join me. We stayed in a wonderful old historic hotel, enjoyed time in the hot tub and pool, talked and shopped and explored. Brenda brought me numerous presents, including a new computer.
- In March, I traveled with my daughter Kate, her husband Jeremy, and two of my grandchildren, Madeline and Tommy, to Connecticut to visit my grandson Mikey, his girlfriend, and their new baby, Lincoln. Kate makes all travel memorable, and this trip was no exception. We took little detours to see special sights both coming and going, and had an especially culture-rich experience while we were there.
- In May, I went to Mikado to visit my friend Linda, who I hadn’t seen in too many years. We talked and laughed and caught up on things. We ate very well. We shopped very hard. We made several visits to a nearby animal shelter, and when I left to come home, I had a new dog – Darla – with me.
- In June, my grandson, Tommy, came to the island for a long visit. My daughter, Kate, surprised us both by coming to the island for the Fourth of July.
- In July, my friend Mary came for a visit. We did something special every day. We talked as if no time at all had passed since we’d had a good conversation. We laughed as if the last fifty years had fallen away!
- In August there was the “Meet the Artists” Art Show at Livingstone Studio, where I had a good response to new work. It was a beautiful, sunny day with good food and wine, too!
- My sisters came to the island in August, too, with significant others, children and grandchildren for a glorious week of reconnecting with family.
- In August, I started a “bullet journal,” which has streamlined my life in many significant ways. It helped me to consolidate a dozen lists (titles and ideas for artwork; Christmas gifts purchased, gift ideas and Christmas card list; books I have read and books I want to read; quotes; daily activities; work calendar; self-improvement goals; you get the idea!) into one easy-to-keep-nearby journal. I am not good at using software to do this stuff. I’m better at writing it out. This – so far – seems like a good fit for me.
- In September, I went across for a mammogram (good results).
- At the end of November, I traveled downstate for good early December visits with my daughters, brother, sisters and others.
- In December, I looked back at 2016, and started plotting ahead for an even richer, more productive year in 2017. The handy “task and activity tracker” that I created for my bullet journal makes it easy to see, for instance, that I did not allow myself a single bit of studio time for at least three months. That has to change! Photos taken with my sisters in December showed clearly that I need to lose some weight. I’m getting ready to start a new diet plan in January. Looking toward spring, I will either get my garden in hand, or I will give up on it and turn that area back into lawn. I won’t spend another summer looking at old overgrowth and weeds! So, good feelings about the past year, big plans for the next: that’s a good place to finish the 52 Lists Project!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Joyous Season to all!
Today, a mere one hundred and forty-five days into this year-long writing commitment, I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll fill the rest of the days.
Sundays are okay. The 52 Lists Project is designed for one each week. There are thirty Sundays left in this year, and thirty lists yet to write.
That leaves one hundred and ninety-one days.
Timeout for Art – which has been filling the Thursday slot – has become pathetic. I have exhausted all angles of talking about art right down to complaining about my lack of time for art. I think I should put it on the shelf until I actually make some art to talk about.
I have almost come to the end of my list of addresses. If I stretch them out to the absolute maximum, they still won’t fill more than five or six days.
I wrote about one failed business, and have two others I could write about, on two separate days.
I could (dread!) go back to those thirty days of Creative Fire writing prompts that I hated so much I quit after only seven days. Even if I can bring myself to do that, there are just 23 of those left.
You see my problem.
I need direction. Without proper motivation, this blog will devolve into nothing but the rantings of a self-absorbed, over-worked, dog-loving whiner.
I’m open to suggestions!
List your essentials:
Well, I am – perhaps erroneously – taking this to mean the things I would need if stranded on a desert island, or stuck in a bomb shelter, prison cell or other such isolated environment. If that’s the case, here:
- My eyeglasses.
- Books. I’ll need some poetry: Emily Dickinson, Marge Piercy, Mary Oliver, e.e. cummings and Billy Collins should do. For prose to read and re-read, I want E.B. White, Maxine Hong Kingston, Evan S. Connell and Annie Dillard.
- Paper and Pencils. Lots! And a pencil sharpener, because writing or drawing with a dull pencil gets tiresome very quickly.
- A deck of cards. Or a handful of dice. Or both. I have seen myself through many lonely winter evenings playing solitaire, so it’s good to have them on hand.
- A toothbrush. Plenty of dental floss. A good toenail clipper and a set of tweezers.
- My little dog. If all contact with family and friends was lost, it would be especially comforting to have Rosa Parks with me.
Now, if I am to consider that I’m not stranded somewhere, isolated from the world, then I will add:
- A computer, for keeping in touch with friends and family (who, it goes without saying, are essential to my happiness), for online Scrabble, Google – for when my memory fails me – and all of the other wonderful things that a computer does.
- Coffee. With cream. Because, boy, I have been suffering without it while stuck on that imaginary desert island!
- Chocolate. Dark. With Almonds and Sea Salt. Or, just a dark chocolate Dove bar. Though I’m already wishing for those almonds…
List your dream trips:
- I’d love to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids, with a guide who could remind me of the history and the stories, and a friend who would share the magic.
- Ireland, Scotland and Germany, to visit the places my ancestors came from, and to get a sense of their lives.
- Washington D.C., at cherry blossom time, because my mom often spoke of it.
- I’d love to visit Hawaii…but not in this time. I’d like to see it as Mark Twain did, before it was a state, and before it was transformed by western industry.
- Greece, especially Athens with all of the glorious old ruins.
- Rome, for art and history: the catacombs, the baths and the Vatican.
- I’d love to see Switzerland as it was described in Heidi,
- Paris when the Impressionists were young,
- Cuba when Hemingway enjoyed it,
- and I want to welcome the new year of 1900 in New York City.
I’d like all of these trips better if I could experience them as a native, rather than a tourist…so, that’s my dream
List the ways you can cleanse your life for spring:
- I’m looking closely at the foods I eat. After years of stubbornly sticking to my “not so bad” eating habits, I am trying something else. The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas is not about counting calories. It’s not about eating only foods that someone else dictates for you. No one food or food group is the enemy. Not carbs or sugar or meat or gluten. Calories are not evil. Even portion sizes are not the problem. Inflammation is the culprit. Inflammation can cause our bodies to bloat, to gain five pounds overnight (though I swear I didn’t eat five pounds of anything!), and to age prematurely. It can cause migraines, depression and disease. Most importantly, the foods that cause inflammation differ from one person to the next, based on body chemistry. Now, this makes sense to me. The author suggests you start with the foods that are least reactive in most people (based on years of tallying results) and add foods one by one to test individual reactions to them. It requires weighing yourself every morning to determine what foods cause your body to gain weight, as that is the easiest way to determine your tolerance. Keeping track of the foods you eat until you see a pattern, and drinking the right amount of water are the only requirements. I’ve been reading up on this for quite a while. I’m ready! Spring is a good time to clean up my diet!
- I’m cleaning up my garden. This year, I will not be looking out onto an overgrown, neglected mess. I’m pruning and mulching, weeding and raking. This year, my garden will be beautiful!
- I’m finishing up projects: putting the final touches on paintings, getting things done in the house and organizing storage spaces.
List the things that always cheer you up:
- Sunshine, bright sky!
- Warmth. Cozy blankets, wooly sweaters, the warmth of a fire, the heat of the sun. I am rarely uncomfortably warm. I’m lucky that way, as some people really suffer in the heat. As a child, I used to sit on the deep sill of the picture window in the kitchen, and bask in the sun just like a cat.
- A nap, sometimes. Just a little refresher, while ignoring whatever is bothering me.
- The moon and stars. When my grandson, Michael, was tiny, we’d go outside in the evenings to watch the night sky. When I spent five days on a sailboat, nights were my favorite time. I loved the quiet under that big bowl of starry sky. I felt like I finally understood where the old stories – based on constellations – originated.
- Summer nights. Combining the moon and stars, warmth, and maybe a nice breeze, summer nights can almost always transport me to a more magical time and place.
- Conversations with toddlers. Their minds work mysteriously; they don’t filter their words. I’m amazed at the logic that’s often revealed. Once, while pushing my little daughter through a store in her stroller, we came upon a woman in a wheelchair. We each navigated our wheeled vehicles to be able to pass each other in the aisle. Then, my daughters looked at me with raised eyebrows and slight surprise. “A baby mama!” was her novel conclusion.
- A baby’s laugh. Always.
- My little dog, who seems to sense when I’m having a bad day and need cheering up.
- Chocolate, usually.
- Flowers in bloom.
- Changing seasons. From the first warm day in spring to the first snowfall, the anticipation is cheering to me.
- A finished project.
- Now and again, a holiday. Happy Easter!
List your best qualities:
(This is one of the hardest lists I’ve done!)
- I have pretty good hearing. Not as good as my sister, Cheryl, who can hear a whispered conversation two rooms away…but not bad.
- I am pretty strong – physically – for my size.
- I often remember my dreams.
- I have nice hands. They are a lot like my mother’s hands, and that pleases me a great deal.
- I enjoy all kinds of music.
- I try to see all sides of a situation, most of the time.
- I am kind, most of the time.
- I am a good reader.
- I write well.
- I can handle a lot of solitude.
- I have a pretty good sense of humor.
- I am willing to endure financial sacrifices to make better choices ethically or environmentally.
- I am kind to all living things. Except mosquitoes…flies…and sometimes ladybugs.
- I am often very patient.
- I am quite stubborn (sometimes that is a good quality!).
- I am a good cook.
- I’m good at arranging things. Not like the mafia “arranges things,” but like items on a shelf.
- I am a hard worker and a loyal employee.
- I am a loyal friend.
- I’m a good letter writer.
- I am devoted to my family, sisters, brother, cousins, nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren. I love them for all of their kindness, silliness, and strength. I am proud of every one of them for their smiling perseverance.
- I have a good memory.
- I am a good story-teller.
(Odd, that the list I claim is the most difficult is also one of the longest!)
List the ways you can rejuvenate your space:
- Oh, fresh paint would be so nice! I think white this time, all the way through, ceilings and walls the same. Not stark white, though…white with just a touch of warmth.
- Flooring, to cover the painted particle board that has worn to show the paths I take from room to room and that holds on to sand and spills in every crack and crevice. When it was first painted, it was a wonderful improvement over the plain particle board which, when it was new, was a huge improvement over the icy cold, cracked and chipped, painted cement slab, which was a slight improvement over the plain old unpainted cement slab that filled the air with cement dust every time I swept it…but I’d like a real floor. Because the floor is “on-grade,” meaning no air space below it, hardwood flooring is not recommended. Because it isn’t level, sheet vinyl or tiles would require the added expense of plywood under-layment. Because the house is small, I’d like the flooring to be consistent throughout. That means it has to be suitable for bathroom and kitchen as well as other living spaces. That eliminates many of the click-together floors that have an MDF base.Carpeting would never be a good choice for me: too much sand, too many spills, and I’d never want a carpeted bathroom! Because there are probably no options that I can install myself, I have to figure the cost of a contractor, too. All of these things are contributing reasons why I still have no real floor, though this house is more than thirty years old. It sure would spruce the place up! I’m currently considering vinyl plank flooring.
- Light fixtures. Right now, in the living room and dining room, there are rims to light fixtures, but both of the globes broke, so the twisty compact fluorescent bulbs are exposed…and not the most elegant look. The entry has a different type of fixture. It’s globe is intact, but its rim has totally rusted out, a casualty of the many years I used an unvented propane heater. It caused every bit of uncoated metal in the house to rust: curtain rods, hinges, door handles and light fixtures. Even the refrigerator shows rust, under it’s white enamel. The kitchen and laundry room have simple porcelain light fixtures that hold bulbs.
- Woodwork. Baseboards where floors meet walls, trim around doors and closets and windows…that would really spruce things up!
- I’m thinking of painting my front door some unexpected color, just to liven up the entry.
- Outside, this year I’m going for bales of hay and a big load of mulch to get my gardens back in good shape. Mowing, trimming, weeding and pruning will help, too.
- Beyond that, I bought a new used tablecloth at the re-sale shop last week.It is washed, pressed, and ready to go. As soon as the weather signals spring, I am putting it on the dining table, along with a couple bright candles in clear holders and a bouquet of the earliest daffodils. That is rejuvenation at its best!
Week #4: List the soundtrack of your life right now
- Trouble ~ Cat Stevens
- (I got everything I need) Almost ~ the Blues Brothers
- Silly Love Songs ~ Wings
- Walk Awhile ~ Fairport Convention
- Broken Glass ~ Claudia Schmidt
- What a Wonderful World ~ Louis Armstrong
- Angel from Montgomery ~ John Prine and Bonnie Raitt
- I Don’t Worry About a Thing ~ Mose Allison
- Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues ~ Jim Croce
- Dreams Go By ~ Harry Chapin
- Dreams ~ Fleetwood Mac
- I Want My MTV ~ Dire Straits