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… Hello 31.

From my Dad’s iPhone at the family party last week. He’s snap happy.

Yesterday, I wrote about the list of 30 things I was supposed to do during my 30th year.  I didn’t have much success thanks to my own slacker behavior, but this year I’m committed. I’m posting my list online to make myself accountable to my readership. All 15 of you.  As I finish more interesting items on the list, I’ll post about them here.

Some notes on the list: this is no bucket list. These are things I might realistically accomplish in the next year given schedule and finances.  So you won’t see, “Paraglide over Grand Canyon,” or “Buy couture gown.”  There’s a variety here– big things and small things.  I’m hoping by giving myself some easy wins I’ll be more likely to tackle the more intimidating ones. Big or small, they’re all things I actually want to do. Might as well do them this year.

If you read an item that sounds interesting to you and you want to join me while I attempt it, let me know in the comments. This obviously only applies if you know me in Real Life.

And away we go.

Item 1: Finish stitching the wall hanging for J.  I told her I would do it well over a year ago. This is now ridiculous. It’s not like I don’t want to and it’s not like I don’t have time.

It involves a quote from 30 Rock. I’m really quite happy with it so far.

Item 2: Make French Macarons. They are very challenging and I will beat them.

Item 3: Get back into volunteering– at least a semi-regular gig. Choose something fun. I was doomed from the start with the hospice thing last year.  When your Real Job is to listen to everyone’s worst day ever, you need your volunteer work to be more uplifting.

Item 4: Catch up with my unread book list.  This is probably impossible.

This is not actually the “To Be Read” pile. I just like looking at my bookcase.

Item 5: Read Anna Karenina. It just seems like something I should have read by now. Also- movie this year!

Item 6: Clean out and organize pantry. CONTAINER STORE.  Bring LMac because she’s into that kind of thing.

She’s kind of great, right?

Item 7:  Visit Center for Puppetry Arts. MUPPETS. This is one of the weirdest things about ATL and I can’t believe I still haven’t tried it. All of my friends who grew up here went on field trips in elementary school. Maybe I’ll convince someone to join me for the Halloween puppet show?

Item 8: Finish watching Friday Night Lights. It’s stupid that I’m still working on it.

Item 9: Donate at least  $31 monthly to charity. ($30 if they only take $10 increments)  Readers, I’m open to suggestions! I know it’s not much to give, but everything counts, right?

Item 10: Check on SkyMiles situation. Figure out how to use them. Then I can have more airport Bloody Marys.

The Delta Sky Lounge always puts a splash of red wine in their Bloodies. Fun fact!

Item 11: Back up computer. Suck it up, get it done, get Harrison (Engineering PhD cousin)  to help.

Item 12: Post to this blog 4x weekly. Posts to book blog don’t count, lazy ass.

Item 13: Host game night. You love board games. You have some that you’ve never  even played. Make your friends play them. Some of them might even like it. Don’t worry, CK, I won’t invite you.

Item 14: Keep at least semi-regular journal.

I used to be really good about this.

Item 15: Make Book It t-shirt. I’m never going to the find this shirt in a store. It’s time.

Item 16: Do something really nice for my sister.  Not posting what it is here because she might read this, but I have PLANS. These are her kids. Sooo…. you can see why she might want a break.

I promise they are cheerful sometimes.

Item 17: Make all Christmas presents except books. This is crazy. Try it anyway. Put that Pinterest board to good use.

Item 18: Send Grandma weekly pictures of funny and cute things. Heidi should be featured often.  Grandma just moved to a new place and she’s having some stress and cute pictures of dogs are good for the soul.

Grandma on her way to a luau. You can tell she’s saucy.

Item 19: Meet neighbors. At least the ones on ether side. Maybe the guy on the balcony over mine that talks really loud. At least to tell him to hold his deep philosophical discussions with his cell phone until after 9 AM on Sundays.  Bring cookies to bribe them to like me.

Item 20: Find good reading chair for office. Something cozy and readerly.

Item 21: Go some where on this list: Boston, Europe, Hogwarts (in Florida), Canada. I recognize this is a strange list. I’m keeping my options open.  Do you want to go?

Item 22: Visit Elizabeth in Statesboro. She just moved there and I miss seeing her.

Elizabeth with Heidi, who adores her.

Item 23: Read Volume 1 of Mark Twain’s autobiography. This will be an endurance test, but I did the math and it’s possible to get it done in 2 months if you read 10 pages a day.

Item 24: Take wine tasting class/ go to wine tasting/drink wine in some educational capacity. Bring Melissa… after she has her baby.

Less baby bottles, more wine bottles.

Item 25: See a musical I have not seen. Bonus points if it’s in NYC.

Item 26: Go to a book convention or workshop of some kind.

Item 27: Go to DC and do something really pop culturey with CK, Lennie, and Chris. I’m always jealous when they go to movies together or watch  Community or whatever.   (I know, Chris, “MOVE TO DC, M. NOBODY IN ATL LIKES YOU ANYWAY.”)  I want to pick a good pop culture related activity and go hang out with them. Eric can come too if he’s not too busy being International.

This is from my last birthday. They don’t usually walk around in mesh gloves.

Item 28: Find make-up artist and learn how to make up my face properly now that my skin is clear. It’s time I learned how to use eye liner appropriately.

Item 29: Try that elusive and exclusive Holeman & Finch burger.  Note to non-Atlantans: they only serve 24 of them and they only serve them at 10 PM at night. They are allegedly incredible.

Item 30:  Play Shuffleboard at Twain’s.  Play with Diette if possible. I always put it off because there’s a wait to play and I’m shy about getting in line for things because I’m a terrible, terrible introvert.  Time to make myself have fun, dammit.

This is us dancing. Dancing really well, as you can see.

And the very biggest one:

Item 31: Write novel. Be ready to query agents by next birthday.  This is it. I’m doing it.  No excuses. It’s time to be who I’m supposed to be.


And that’s it.  I’m reserving the right to change the list in the next week if something occurs to me, but I think this is it. Wish me well in the comments.  31 is 13 backward, so this year can only be great, right?



Goodbye 30….

The best part of turning 30 was the resulting 80s party.

Thirty is not a particularly fun birthday. It feels like a turning point even though it’s not like someone hands you a card that says you are old.  There’s no sudden shift in rules or weird restrictions.  You just have this sense that it’s time to get serious and that options are now definitely eliminated.

But you go on. You keep going to work and you laugh with your friends and not much seems to change, even though you’re aware more than ever that you have mortality and what will you do with it?

A year ago tonight on the last night of my 20s, I made a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish this year.  Unfortunately, I only checked this list once during the year, so I didn’t have much success getting everything done.  I managed 13.5 things on the list. I gave myself a half point for creating the Summer Reading Project because Item 9 was to read all of my unread books. I gave myself partial credit because I’m more than half way through that list. Also, Item 20 was to be something other than a super hero for Halloween, but then I decided that was really stupid because wearing a cape once a year is one of the best things I do. I didn’t give myself credit for that one, but I did lower my list to 29 items.

The tradition lives.

Here are some highlights of things I did manage to cram into the last year.

Item 1: “Leave the country. At least go to Hogwarts (in Florida). “

In May, I went to Germany and Austria.  I blogged about it and went on a Sound of Music tour. Very successful!

Nush. Von. Stine.


Item 4: “Speaking of follow through, post 1-2 times per week on at least one of my two blogs.”

I didn’t manage this very well on this blog, but I was nearly perfect at my book blog. 

Item 10: “Read a classic book I’ve been skipping.”

Read A Confederacy of Dunces. Was not disappointed!

Item 13: “Send actual Christmas cards. Pictures optional.”

DONE. Already planning new ways to exploit my dog for next year.

This was the image on my Christmas card. The inside said something about wishing the holidays are magical.

Item 19: “Try a food I have not tried before.”

I had many strange foods this year.  This one sticks out because it came out of a food stand in Germany. Mustard helped.

This was a weird processed meat in Germany.


Item 24: “Eat at Bacchanalia.”

In case you are not in Atlanta, this is an extremely nice prix fixe restaurant. It’s the kind of place your parents take you, but you could never go alone. Luckily, my mother wanted to go for her birthday.

Fancy cupcake stack for Mom.


Item 26: “Go to a social event that I would usually turn down and find a way to make it good. i.e. don’t be awkward.”

Considering that left to my own devices, I would just stay home and watch Netflix Instant and read books, I’m going to call it a win that I left my house at all this year. I’m sure I stretched my comfort zone at some point.  Maybe when I wore sequins to a Taylor Swift concert?

Heart hands! I am not embarrassed! At all!

Item 27: “See at least half the movies nominated for Best Picture.”

I actually did this! I loved The Artist, and Moneyball was better than I expected. The Help was WAY out of its league and The Descendants was really depressing.

Item 29: “Do something for New Year’s Eve. Do not just sit at home and eat junk food no matter how much you might want to do so.”

You will notice I’m not in this picture, but it’s only because I took it myself. UVA played Auburn in a NYE bowl game in ATL and I went with some friends from here. My friend Dave captured the general spirit, but UVA pants were sadly not the norm.

Go hoos.


Tomorrow: 31 things to accomplish in the next year. This year, I’m keeping the list posted on my wall and I’m super serious about it.

Until then, good-bye, 30. You really weren’t as bad as I heard. In fact, you were basically okay. You have a bad reputation but you’re actually misunderstood. Like Judd Nelson on The Breakfast Club. But with less leather.


Another year, another stab at sticking to resolutions.

This year, I have basically no intention of going to the gym every single day or systematically cleaning out a room in my condo once a month.  I’m not going to pretend to give up sugar entirely or cut down TV watching to one hour daily. There’s no use attempting to learn knitting or promising to make my bed every single day. Read the rest of this entry