May 2008

Katie is having a blog contest… and about two weeks ago Crazy Aunt Purl had a post about books that had me “wishlisting” on Amazon like crazy (I am the only one ever buying anything from that dang list though). And this all made me think… I want to talk about books here too. This blog (if I can really call it that) is going to be everything BUT knitting (and the sweater I am done knitting but still have to finish) by the time I am done… Sigh, but at least I am trying to get back up on the horse.

When I was a kid it was hard to find me without my nose in a book. But by the time I got through undergrad and then grad school, the idea of reading… well it was strapped on to the notion of work. So for a while there I stopped reading for fun. Then I realised that there was so little I had read of the classics, I LOVED being in the UVillage Barnes and Noble and damn don’t I want to be a well rounded person?? So I fell back in love with books and have commited more money to the Amazon Gods than any river can carry. As a matter of fact of the 350 lbs of things I shipped to myself from Paris, 275 of them… Books/Papers. Now I know I commit heresy, but I read not knit on my subway rides- and that is where most of my reading takes place. My commute takes me 45 minutes door to door (with my morning muffin stop) each way and it is a rare occasion that I am to be found without a book on my person (cause you never know how long you are going to be in transit, especially if you live on the L train like I do…). Currently in rotation is The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. And you know what, it indeed does make me happy to read the book.

So I thought I should repost my top ten favorite reads, and a list of reading. So here goes…

A selection of my favorites (not necessarily including everything) from my library thing (which I totally love!)

  1. The Zahir (Paolo Coehlo) Brilliant man anything by him is worth the time.
  2. Fountain Head (Ayn Rand- lots to read but love to read it!)
  3. How Proust Can Change Your Life (Alain de Botton) This book and this author changed my life and has had me pulled into all his books!
  4. Cod (Mark Kurlansy) any of the “food” as more than food books from Mark Kurlansy are worth reading and so damn interesting
  5. Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami) Liked it enough to get Norwegian Wood which I wizzed through too
  6. Lemon Tree (Sandy Tolan) An incredible book on a conflict that has been tearing a region apart for longer than I care to think… a region that has a special place in my heart
  7. The Mandarins (Simone de Beauvoir) great to read about when I was living there, but it is still nice when you arent there.
  8. Me Talk Pretty One Day (Dave Sedaris) I adore this man. Got to meet and have drinks with him. He makes me laugh inordinately.
  9. I Am A Stranger Here Myself (Bill Bryson) Anything by the man is worth it! He often makes me laugh out loud and as a recent “re”patriate from the expatriate life this one totally touches me.
  10. Stretching Lessons (Sue Bender) Whenever I feel myself a bit adrift or torn apart a bit… this book brings me a bit back together.

My Summer Time Reading is FUN-da-mental list (a list that will probably carry on into other seasons :))

  1. Anna Karenina
  2. Life of Pi
  3. Great Expectations
  4. Foucault’s Pendulum
  5. The Grapes of Wrath
  6. Les Misérables
  7. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  8. Dubliners
  9. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  10. Lolita
  11. Persuasion
  12. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
  13. The House of Mirth

Keep those doggies rolling…

Where in the world has the time gone and what have I managed to do with my time. NYC has a distinct way of being a time warp/vacuum that sucks people in alive I think. Kind of like how life is a rollercoaster. Eternal things can’t do much about, so it is onwards and upwards.

That said, I am pretty impressed with this month of April… despite all (and I have had my annoyed, angry and lonely moments), things have actually turned out well, or it is me choosing to look at them from that side. So without further ado… here is the 101 in 1001 run down- seemingly the only thing I can every bring myself to blog on… One day I do hope to find my voice again.

Purchase (10/101)

  1. Treat myself to a massage or a facial once a year
  2. Buy a Lomo camera (Getting one in a deal the first week of May)
  3. Buy one piece of art
  4. Buy fresh flowers for my room once a month for a year
  5. Buy a new “professional” set of luggage
  6. Buy one piece of investment furniture
  7. Get a subscription to National Geographic Traveller, New Yorker, Economist
  8. Buy an antique map of Paris and frame it
  9. Buy a new DSLR upgrade (Definitely to be purchased before my birthday)
  10. Find and buy one pair of killer jeans

Health (15/101)

  1. Run/Participate in a 5k, 10k, and half marathon
  2. Participate in an olympic distance triathalon
  3. 30 day trial… bikram yoga 3 times a week (Managed twice a week this month. hoping to make it 3 soon)
  4. Visit a nutritionist/naturopath
  5. Do a master body cleansing/fast/colonic

Travel (31/101)

  1. Rent a beach house for a getaway
  2. Go surfing in Costa Rica or Hawaii
  3. Visit 3 national parks (i.e. Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Muir Woods, Yosemite, Moab, The Arches, Grand Tetons)
  4. Take a working vacation at a winery in the south of France
  5. Play in the tulips in Netherlands and Skagit Valley
  6. Visit 10 friends (SF next month here I come! Yes it will only count as one friend but I am still happy about it :))
  7. Rent a convertible and go on a road trip
  8. Do an Ashram in India or Bali
  9. Camp out in Wadi Rum
  10. Climb up Macchu Picchu (Change in plans… but this will happen, yes it will!)
  11. Visit a buddhist temple
  12. Watch an opera at La Scala and a ballet at Opera Garnier (I went and saw the La Fille du Regiment Opera on Gala Opening Night no less, but at the Lincoln Center :))
  13. See the northern lights in Iceland
  14. Go to Ireland
  15. Go on a crazy Thelma Louise girls trip
  16. Stay in a luxurious 5 star hotel

Finance (42/101)

  1. Work to better credit score (by 50-100 points)
  2. Contribute at least 50% of max out to my Roth IRA annually (approx. $2000-2500) (I sucked it up and put $3000 in… camera will wait a little longer)
  3. Create, maintain and track my budget for one year (Got part of my medical reimbursements which goes back to savings, shipping reimbursements will be submitted next week… and while not budgeting I have lived within something close to my paycheck  and am working to rebalance all the accounts. Hopefully that will be done definitively in June)
  4. Pay off all credit cards and maintain zero balances (Financial flows still going buckwild and I am giving myself a bit of reprieve, but they are all close to zero balances)
  5. Save $5 for 1001 days (YUP)
  6. Do my taxes annually (2007 done, sent and buggered up but clearing up and looking forward to getting a tax rebate :))
  7. Invest in retirement and net worth (10% of income)
  8. Pay off 50% of remaining student loans (“High-ish” interest rate loan is set to be paid off possibly by around my birthday! Am also almost 18 months prepaid on the rest of the loans. And then I attack the unsubsidized amount)
  9. Invest in socially responsible mutual funds (2% of income)
  10. Get a major credit card: use and pay of in full monthly (so I got one… I am a big girl now! Waiting for it to arrive so I can hide it… Ok use it but try not to abuse it.)
  11. Save $10000 towards a major investment (purchase of property etc)

Learning (53/101)

  1. Take a photography course on light and flash (Going to a speaking engagement with a guru of light May 8th to see if I like him enough to take a class with him)
  2. Learn how to fly the trapeze (I am going to do an intro to silks class next month. And this is what I will be doing on the day of my 31st birthday!)
  3. Take an intensive Spanish language course in Spain
  4. Get my a scuba diving certification
  5. Learn how to drive a Vespa
  6. Take a wine tasting course
  7. Learn how to dye yarn
  8. Learn more about buddhism
  9. Research travel photography and writing
  10. Take skiing lessons in the alps
  11. Learn 5 Photoshop tricks

Reading (59/101)

  1. Go to 3 book readings
  2. Read 6 classics and 5 works pre- 1950
  3. Read a banned book, a booker book, a pulitzer prize book
  4. Read the Tao Te Ching
  5. Read 3 biographies per year
  6. Enter all my books into Library Thing (Need to add the boxes of books I just got from Paris storage…)

Creativity (69/101)

  1. Design my blog (Waiting to hear back from the Etsy designer for my banner… may put a bat-call out to the other savvy friends to get it done with)
  2. Do a photographic travel/documentary project (A high up from UNICEF has offered to open the door for me on this… now I need to get myself together on it and pick a place and a story!)
  3. Knit three sweaters for myself (Sweater #1: Finished the knitting, now to block and seam)
  4. Document all my yarn stash (the box from Paris is here… the accounting will be had shortly!)
  5. Print 10 of my photos for framing and hanging
  6. Keep a film and book list
  7. Sell 5 photos
  8. Participate in Sunday scribbles
  9. Go to the cinema once a month (Went to see Smart People… I REALLY want to see The Visitor and The Band’s Visit soon though!)
  10. Make a quotes book

Gastronomy (74/101)

  1. Go berry picking
  2. Eat at 12 new restaurants- one three star. (Balthazar’s- fun NYC “cool people” experience! Also part of a very long day/night)
  3. Try one new recipe a month
  4. Throw a dinner party for 8 friends
  5. Try 6 new foods and 6 foods I “dont like” (I had oysters at Balthazars, had never tried them before had thought I didnt like them. Only it wasn’t like I thought :))

Career (77/101)

  1. Take GRE Course and Exam (1350 score goal) (Must schedule a test date this month)
  2. Apply to 10 PhD programmes
  3. Work on creating a career path (While not a career path I applied to two jobs I would be happy to have)

Do (101/101)

  1. Go galopping on a horse out in the free range
  2. Participate in some volunteer/public service project (maybe dealing with sexual health or at a soup kitchen)
  3. Go canoeing in Central Park
  4. Watch one classic movie per month
  5. Go to a live music festival
  6. Go to Shakespeare in the Park
  7. Meditate for 5 minutes 3 times a week
  8. Purge my wardrobe (of at least 30%) (I think a spring cleaning and closet change is upon me this month…)
  9. Attend a meditation retreat (5+ days) (I heard about this one where you dont talk… could possibly be the biggest challenge for me, and something I so want to do! in a very odd turn of thoughts)
  10. Go snowshoeing
  11. Get rid of 101 things
  12. Consolidate and reduce my storage needs and use
  13. Go to the HCB museum in Paris
  14. Reduce my carbon footprint (by 10-20%)
  15. Donate “one meal out” per month to a Food Bank
  16. Spend 5 minutes daily in total silence and inactivity for a month
  17. Visit my grandmother and father’s graves and take flowers
  18. Go to an outdoor movie
  19. Live in a new city in 1001 days
  20. Hang my mirror, shelves and frames
  21. Trace my Irish geneology
  22. See a broadway play
  23. Preserve my family photos
  24. Go to a museum once every other month