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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?



A Mental To Do List for the Zombie Apocalypse

A few years ago, I read World War Z by Max Brooks and it changed my life.  At that point I realized the very real possibility of a Zombpocalypse thanks to the author’s documentary story telling. Starting from patient zero and tracing the path of the virus over the oceans and then the government reactions and the military states that arise– it just sounds so possible! It’s one of those books that makes me go all crazy-eyed when I talk about it and try to convince people that they should read it and get on board. Since then, I’ve been working on a mental checklist of how I should prepare… just in case.

from the author’s website

In the wake of the recent rash of cannibalistic attacks in the US, the CDC actually released a statement last week reminding us that zombies aren’t real. I love this so much.  This is like JK Rowling having to release a statement to remind us that Harry Potter is a work of fiction because so many people are getting concussions from trying to run through platform walls at King’s Cross Station. (JK Rowling: Please never release this statement. A part of me will die.) My logical adult side says that a zombie outbreak could never happen, but my imaginative more childlike side is shouting, “OH YES IT COULD.”  I indulge the childlike side with my list.

Here is an excerpt

–  Learn the martial arts. It doesn’t matter which one. Whichever one allows me to kick off someone’s head.

This is my friend and she’s going to survive. I want to be on her team.

–  Buy a bike. My car will run out of gas while fleeing the walking dead, but I can power the bike myself.

Anyway, I like cute with a bike.

–  Make friends with someone who has a sword.  This person should live nearby so I don’t have to go long without access to a sword. No need for actual sword in home as I will definitely hurt myself with it if left to my own devices.

Maybe a light saber would also work?

–  Study map for best escape route from city.  Figure out most safe rendezvous point and communicate to friends.  Possible site: Family farm in south Georgia?
–  Subpoint: Convince friends they should meet me. Convince friends will be asset rather than liability.
– Subpoint: I mean, I should leave the city, right? The CDC is here, but it’s not like they’re going to let me in.

– Don’t have children.  Children will only slow me down when escaping from city.  Second thought: have children and use as buffer when zombies are chasing me.  Third thought: I’m a horrible person. Re-frame before spiral into self-loathing… okay, children would be useful at survivor camp to convince them to let me in based on guilt factor. Also, my kids can help re-colonize the US.  Still, try not to have kids til we’re sure the outbreak won’t happen.

Her cries will only attract the Undead.

– Learn useful survival skill.  Am rubbish at hard labor tasks… consider learning to cook for large numbers for when I hook up with survivor camp. Is it hard to make one’s own bread?  Learn edible plants a la Katniss in Hunger Games.

I made this bread once. It was basically edible.

–  Train dog to alert of zombie scent in air. Will be difficult as there are no zombies yet to use for practice. Also, dog not very smart.

She looks like she could kill a zombie right?

–  Get land phone line for apartment and get a non-cordless phone. If the power goes out, phone will still work if connected to ground-line.  Also useful in case of hurricanes, which might be more likely.

You think I’m kidding, but all of these things have legitimately crossed my mind since I read that book.  Many of the surviving characters have these advantages when the virus hits, and I don’t plan to mess around when the world goes mad.  In fact, Max Brooks has helpfully written The Zombie Survival Guide with these and other tips. He’s really thought this through, you guys. If I knew him in real life, I would make sure to bring him lots of baked goods so that he would choose me for his team after the chaos begins.

But then I stop and take a step back and remind myself that none of it is possible anyway and my over-active imagination is a blessing and a curse.

But I still might buy a bike.  Cause I like bikes. No other reason.