October 3, 2012

A mighty update: life list progress

Slicing through my life list, just like I did this bottle of champagne. 

Things to Learn

  • Learn to machine sew
  • Learn to skillfully use the manual settings on my camera
  • Learn to needlepoint
  • Learn to paint with watercolor
  • Learn how to bake my own bread- the kind that is good with hard outer crust and warm soft center. Does not count if said break tastes like glue.
  • Learn to drive stick shift (without crashing and sans tears)  The Economist taught me how to drive a stick last fall before we sold his car. His patience is legendary, so it was no surprise that compared to the other attempts, this time was smooth and tear free.

Practice letters from my pointed pen calligraphy class.
  • Take a calligraphy class  I actually took two calligraphy classes. I took a weekend pointed pen calligraphy class from Michele Hatty Fritz of Meant to be Calligraphy in the summer of 2011 and last winter, I took a more traditional 8-week foundational hand calligraphy course at the Smithsonian. It was such fun to learn two very different styles and to think about calligraphy not as writing the letters, but rather as the drawing and flowing of lines. 
  • Learn to use Photoshop beyond basic editing
  • Learn to make cheese
Video evidence of my successful saber attempt. 
  • Learn to open champagne with a saber  I was super sad not to have the opportunity to do this at Camp Mighty last year. The opportunity was foiled first by screw top champagne and then rain. However, one of my fellow campers told me that Miss Helen Jane Hearn had this great YouTube video explaining how to do it. So clever girl that I am I watched it about a dozen times, then chilled a half dozen bottles on Thanksgiving and convinced the Economist we needed to do it pronto. In my mind I imagined my attempt to be seamless and awesome, it reality I sort of hacked at the bottle and didn't have enough power in my follow through. The Economist however had no problem and sabered off 3 tops without breaking a sweat. Each time I couldn't quite get it off, he'd just tee up the butcher knife and boom. Not easily daunted, on my fourth attempt, I finally heard the sweet pop of success! WHOO-HOO!
  • Learn to meditate
  • Learn to crochet granny square
  • Learn to compost  When I posted this a year ago, my friend Anna from high school, who is now an expert in this area, contacted me and provided me with all the basic info the Economist and I needed to get started. For Christmas the Economist received a compost tumbler and since then we've been composting as a part of our regular routine. We save food scraps in a jar on our kitchen counter and once it's full the Economist takes it out back to the tumbler to mix with dry leaves or newspaper. Once the scraps and leaves have fully broken down to compost the Economist used the fresh organic matter to boost the soil in our planter boxes. 
  • Learn to make a graceful exit
Make and Do
  • Meet and be on a first name basis with at least 10 people in my neighborhood Currently I only have three people that I'm super friendly with, but I've upped my wave and smile neighborhood friends substantially, so I'm sure this list is going to grow quickly. (Erin K and John N, Sarwat H)
  • Make 10 new DC friends
  • Try 100 different kinds of tea
  • Make 100 new recipes
  • Mail 100 happy surprise packages
  • Take a picture a day for 365 days
  • Try a year without watching television
  • Give a meaningful toast or speech
  • Sew a dress I willing to wear in public
  • Make a quilt
  • Make homemade pasta
  • Design my own font
  • Paint a portrait
  • Cook live lobsters at home
  • Help someone apply and get into college
  • Throw a monthly dinner party for a year
  • Plan a surprise party for someone
  • Host a party where the ceiling and floor are covered in balloons
  • Send someone flowers just because
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Grow flowers and/or grass in barren front yard I'm not crossing this totally off the list yet, because our front yard is still a work in progress, but this spring the Economist and I substantially improved the situation. The Economist's mom helped us identify some ground cover plants and establish a plan for the front patch of yard and tree box. We then added some plants we picked up super cheap from the National Arboretum annual sale and also that a neighbor a few blocks over was clearing out. Finally, once it officially cools down, I'm planting bulbs for the spring.
  • Host an outdoor movie night in my backyard
  • Sell something I made myself
  • Frame family pictures
Happy 30th birthday to me! Can you spot my end of the first trimester baby bump? 
  • Throw an epic 30th birthday bash I'm crossing this one off the list, but it was exactly epic in the way I had intended when I made the list. By the time my 30th birthday rolled around I was pregnant with EEL, but given the high risk nature of my pregnancy, we were not yet telling anyone, which made planning such an epic event quite a challenge. I was also exhausted and even thinking about a party made me want to take a nap. Thankfully, the Economist and my bestie Anna stepped up and planned a more low-key memorable affair. The party included dinner for 12 featuring all my favorite foods, pink champagne punch, balloons on the ceiling and floor, and a giant piñata. The following month when we told people about EEL's impending arrival, the party guests couldn't believe I was pregnant. Where were you hiding that baby bump and what about the punch, were the two most asked questions. Here is my pro tip, when concealing your secret pregnancy, bring your own bottle of fizzy soda matching the color of the punch and no one other than the hostess will know what's in your glass.
  • Write a book
  • Write a piece for the NYT’s Modern Love column
  • Rekindle my pen pal relationship with Sarah
  • Hire a house cleaner for regular cleaning My brother Gus and his wife gave me the best present when EEL was born, someone to clean the house twice a month for a year. I hired Roxana and I'm seriously in love with her. The clean bathroom and dust-free baseboards she leaves after each visit bring me a ridiculous amount of joy, plus it frees up more time to cuddle my sweet little one. 
  • Be a contestant on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
  • Teach someone to read
  • Re-upholster my fainting couch
  • Create an annual tradition
  • Stop biting nails
Places and Things to See or Experience
  • Attend an official Inaugural Ball
  • Attend a TED talk
  • Attend 100 lectures or book talks Ann Pachett, Anne Lamont & Sam Lamont
  • Attend a Seder
  • Attend a Quaker service
  • Attend the Brimfield Flea Market in Massachusetts
  • Attend Kentucky Derby wearing a truly fantastic hat
  • Attend an auction at Christie's or Sotheby's
  • Visit the Museum Of Modern Art (MoMa), Manhattan in New York
  • Visit the  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Me outside in the Getty Courtyard in November 2011.
  • Visit J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles The Economist and I spent a morning here while in Los Angeles for Camp Mighty in November 2011. 
  • Visit Fallingwater
  • Visit Niagara Falls
  • Visit New Orleans for Jazz Fest
  • Visit Maine, eat lobsters and visit LL Bean factory
  • See the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island
  • See a play on Broadway
  • See the tulip fields in Holland
  • Ride on a cable car in San Francisco
  • Shop in a Paris Flea Market
  • Shop at Harrods in London
  • Drink high tea in London
  • Kiss under mistletoe
Health things to explore/do
  • Do 10 real push ups
  • Start a regular yoga practice
  • Try acupuncture In August EEL started eating larger meals and I was growing concerned my milk supply wasn't going to keep up with her growing demand, so I decided to try acupuncture to help increase my milk supply. Not only has it helped boost my supply, but I've also noticed an uptick in my energy, a decrease in my muscle tension and I find it easier to take a deep breath. I'm so delighted I tried it and I intend to keep getting stuck.
Turns out I was able to get pregnant. Here is evidence here of me at 25 weeks on Mother's Day in 2011. 
  • Figure out if having a baby is possible I figured it out sometime around home pregnancy test number four, you know, because those first four tests could have been mistaken. Seriously though, when I made this list I expected figuring out if having a baby was possible to involve many doctors and even more appointments. I assumed this lengthy process would give me and the Economist lots of information, which we would then carefully weigh and decide if having a baby was a good idea given my limited lung capacity. Instead I learned having a baby is possible by actually having one. 
It's been nothing but surprises from the beginning with EEL, but having her was a brilliant idea.
  • Figure out if having a baby is a good idea Again, this wasn't something we got to spend too much time thinking about, but after the fact I can 100% say it was a terrific idea. My body managed to handle the pregnancy like a champ and now that we have EEL everyday I think about how delighted I am she is in our lives. 
  • Stop avoiding dentist, get new one
Financial and Career things to explore/do
  • Figure out new career
  • Find and do rewarding work
  • Create a long-term financial plan
  • Have 1-year of expenses in an earmarked savings account
  • Organize important life papers
  • Write a living will  Having a baby forced me to get serious and make sure I had a living will and that the Economist was briefed on my wishes.
  • Eliminate money as a concern
Things to Own
Our door is russet not candy apple red, but I've decided red is red.
  • Live in a house with a red door Technically our door is a russet red, not a bright candy apple lacquer, but I've decided it's close enough. 
  • Live in a house with a window seat
  • Live in a house with built-in bookcases
  • Live in a house with a wraparound porch
  • Graduate from training bra, own real bra that’s flattering and fits well
  • Own Burberry trench coat
  • Own red lipstick that looks good on me
  • Own Christian Louboutin red-soled shoes
  • Own linen sheets
  • Own a pretty umbrella


  1. annie, i am so happy you have accomplished so many things on your list! mostly, i am thrilled you now have EEL in your life. you are a spectacular mother, i am sure! xoxo!

  2. I loved reading this, and wish we had the chance to connect more at CM. I'm looking forward to more updates, though!

  3. Love it! Congratulations on all you have accomplished this year!

  4. I am so glad you are continuing with "amusing pursuits"...love the updates and you! EEL's Grandma


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