Hi all! If you’ve come to this page, I’ve probably left a comment on your WordPress blog and it still thinks this is where you should go… I haven’t done anything with this blog in almost 7 years, but I do have a great self-hosted book blog called Life Among the Pages that you should really visit!

My New Project

I mentioned in my Bucket List blog earlier this week that I have been putting together some plans based on the arrival of my 40th birthday… one month from tomorrow. I have been reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I really love it. She encourages everyone to start their own Happiness Project, and I am working on a variation of one for myself. Instead of referring to it as a Happiness Project though, I am referring to mine as My 41st Year. Basically I will be working on one goal within 6 different categories each month starting on my 40th birthday and ending on my 41st. Each week I will be taking certain action steps to meet my goals. Each of my goals is designed to move me closer to the healthier, happier lifestyle that I have already been seeking. I plan to blog weekly about my experiences with this project, and am toying with the idea of changing the name of my blog to reflect this. Over the next 4 1/2 weeks leading up to my birthday, I will be working on formulating my goals for the year and getting things that I will need for this project together.

The categories that I will be working on are:

Education/ Career
Spiritual Growth


My Bucket List

I have been working on various plans over the last week or so, after realizing just how close my 40th birthday is, and how totally unprepared for it I was. (It is exactly 5 weeks from today). I will blog more about these plans later this week, but wanted to share one of the things that I have been working on now, which is my personal “bucket list” of 100 things that I want to accomplish in my lifetime. I have broken the list into categories and have noted the items that I want to complete within the next year with an asterisk (*). So here goes:

1. Take a Disney Cruise
2. Visit Italy
3. Visit the Harry Potter Theme Park in Orlando, Florida
4. Visit Australia
5. Visit London
6. Visit Paris
7. Stay and the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort*
8. Visit all of the Disney Parks (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris~ already been to California and Florida)
9. Visit every state in the US (already been to California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Washington)
10.Stay at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas
11. Visit Ireland
12. Visit Catalina Island
13. Visit the Grand Canyon
14. Visit San Francisco*
15. Take an Adventures by Disney Vacation
16. Visit Greece
17. Visit Spain
18. Visit Canada
19. Visit Niagara Falls
20. Visit the Hershey Factory in Pennsylvania
21. Visit Hearst Castle

22. Go Parasailing
23. Ride a zip-line
24.Ride in a hot air balloon
25. Swim with dolphins
26. Go white water rafting
27. Ride in a helicopter
28. Go up in the Eiffel Tower
29. Milk a cow
30. Participate on the Amazing Race
31. Take a trip on a riverboat
32. Win a jackpot in Vegas*
33. Hike Mt. Rainier
34. Ride in a gondola in Venice
35. Participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience
36. Go to a horse race
37. Get a tattoo*

38.  See a Broadway show (on Broadway)
39. See Cirque de Soliel
40. Attend a taping of Tosh.0*
41. Attend the CMAs
42. See a show at the Ryman in Nashville
43. See Reba in concert
44. Go to a World Series game
45. Go to the Daytona 500
46. See Keith Urban in concert

Personal Enrichment
47. Take a pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu
48. Take horseback riding lessons
49. Spend a week at a Spa
50. Visit the Smithsonian
51. Visit the Guggenheim
52. Visit the Mall of America
53. Join a book club/ group*
54. Visit a Buddhist Monastery
55. Take Dance lessons*
56. Take painting lessons
57. Take jewelry making lessons
58. Go on a retreat
59. Attend a Writer’s conference
60. Have something published
61. Learn to sail
62. Volunteer in a library
63. Volunteer in a soup kitchen/ food bank*
64. Study Holistic Nutrition
65. Take cake decorating lessons
66. Get a professional massage*
67. Get a professional pedicure*
68. Visit Ground Zero
69. Build and furnish a doll house
70. Read the Chronicles of Narnia series*
71. Learn Tai Chi
72. Learn to Speak Italian
73. Host an Exchange student
74. Take cooking lessons

Health and Fitness
75. Become a Zumba instructor
76. Walk the Susan G Komen 3Day
77. Run a marathon
78. Participate in a triathlon
79. Take a Yoga class*
80. Visit Red Mountain Fitness Resort
81. Lose 100 lbs.
82. Learn to play golf
83. Learn to play tennis
84. Participate in a mud run

Places to Eat
85. Eat at the restaurant in the Space Needle*
86. Eat at Craft Steak in Las Vegas
87. Eat at Babbo in New York
88. Have High Tea at the Plaza in New York

People to Meet
89. Meet Tony Stewart
90. Meet Gary Allan
91. Meet Nora Roberts
92. Meet Suzanne Brockmann

And all the Rest
93. Buy a home
94. Get married
95. Raise a child
96. Become debt free
97. Donate $100,000 to charity
98. Work at Pike Market
99. Open an Etsy store*
100. Grow my own vegetables

I think this is a pretty comprehensive list of things/ people/ places that fascinate me. Anything there surprise you? What? And what is on your bucket list??

My Ideal Day

In my head I have an image of what my ideal day would be like… not a special day that only happens once, but the ideal day-to-day life I would like to someday lead.

I would wake up around 6 or 7am and start my day with some yoga sun salutations followed by a healthy breakfast and green tea eaten on my balcony overlooking the water. Breakfast would consist of a homemade omelet or muesli or possibly homemade waffles and fruit. From there I would prepare outgoing mail and packages for shipment, then spend a few hours writing. At approximately 10 or 11, I would stop for a quick workout followed by a healthy lunch; possibly a salad or homemade soup, maybe a sandwich. I would then walk down to Pike Market (or another farmer’s market) for fresh ingredients for dinner. I would do any prep work needed for dinner and dessert, then work on my craft (making jewelry and homemade boxes) until about 5 or 6pm. Next I would make a healthy fresh dinner. I would spend my evenings doing a variety of things… twice a week would be Zumba, there would be a monthly book club meeting, dinners with friends. I would also spend part of the evening reading. I would finish my day with some meditation and then head for bed around 10 or 11pm.

This has always been a “someday vision” for me. The details of where I lived have varied through the years, sometimes I drive to a farmer’s market instead of walk, or grow my own vegetables. Sometimes the crafts are different, or my time is spent teaching or volunteering. But the basic elements of this vision have always been there. So why aren’t I living that life now? I really don’t have an answer to that question. There is really no reason why I am not living at least some aspects of this life.

I know that some of you may think that I am changing my mind again… what about my dream of having a bookstore/ tea room? I think many times we have dreams that are somewhat conflicting. But I also think that each dream is meant for different times in each person’s life. Focusing on this vision doesn’t negate the other dream. This vision is more focused on my internal needs and what will fulfill me. The bookstore dream is something that will take time to get to. This dream, at least in part, is something that I can focus on now. No, I can’t currently walk down to Pike Market or any other farmer’s market at the moment (nor can I drive to one), but I can wake with yoga and a healthy breakfast. I can write in the morning and focus on my craft in the afternoon. I can do some of the other things that I envision in my ideal day… and so I am going to. I am going to start living my life as close as I can to the ideal day that I have envisioned. From there, anything will be possible.

My Vision

I am a firm believer in vision collages. I think that they can help to motivate you when you are working towards a goal, and even help you determine what your goals are.

My current vision collage was made several months ago, before the move to Washington was even planned. I was struggling to determine where I wanted to go on my path, which road I should take next. So instead of a collage made with a clear goal in mind and images to foster that goal, my collage is composed of images that touch me or move in various ways. I don’t have a picture of my current collage yet, so I can’t post one here. I’ll try to take one soon and get it posted, in the meantime, I’ll just tell you about what is there…

Featured throughout my collage is water… waterfalls, rivers, the ocean, etc. There is even water in the background of several of the other pictures. I have pictures of happy couples, hiking, riding a zipline, horseback riding and butterflies. There are also pictures of athletic women doing yoga or kickboxing, women reading and writing. There are pictures of healthy food, various decor ideas and clothing I like. Then there are quotes and phrases, sometimes just single words. Here are my favorites:

“Find the happy in every day”
“Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thereau
“The decision to let go may be the most important one you ever make.”
“Life is full of celebrations”

This collage is truly reflective of where I am now on my journey and what I have come to see as critical elements in my life… being near water, healthy food and activity, adventure and new paths. I can’t wait to see where my next vision collage takes me!

The Bright Side?

Yesterday was another successful day, though kind of frustrating as well. My interview went well, I think. Now I need to wait to see if I am called for a second interview. The frustrating part in all of this is that I had to dedicate 4 1/2 hours for a 15 minute interview. I have tried looking on the bright side of this not having a car situation, but it’s very difficult. Here are the positives, and the responses to them…

1. Not having a car provides an opportunity for exercise… there are no stores or anything within walking distance so I need to take the bus. The closest bus stop is a mile away, up and over a hill. If I did decide to attempt to walk to the closest store which is a couple of miles away, the return trip would be all uphill. And when I get home I get to add some extra adrenalin pumping by crossing a busy 4 lane street with no light.

2. Not having a car allows me to save money… I am saving by not needing to buy gas and by not being able to run out to the store whenever I get the urge for something. I also can’t buy as much when I’m out because I have to carry it to the closest bus stop by the store and then that mile up and over the hill to home.

3. Not having a car means I only go where I need to go during the day… Because the buses only come once every hour and it takes 30 minutes to walk to the bus stop, I have to plan out all of my trips. This cuts back on the number of places I go because I try to fit everything in together without having to get on and off the bus at different stops. Plus the return bus generally arrives 30 minutes after I get dropped off, so I have to plan for a quick trip or a longer trip… or sit waiting for the bus. My excursions usually take an hour, so I have 30 minutes to kill for the return bus. The other factor is that the bus runs from about 7am to 7pm, so anything earlier or later requires special planning.

Basically not having a car means I pretty much stay home all day unless there is somewhere I need to go (like to cash my check or for an interview). I usually jump at the chance to go to the grocery store ( or wherever) when my friend that I lives with comes home. I am using the time at home to study, read, workout and play with the animals. I go into town generally once a week right now, though when I’m working again (hopefully very soon) I will be going much more often of course. And honestly if the bus stop was more convenient and the buses came more frequently (like every 30 minutes maybe) or ran at all on Sundays (no buses at all that day), it would be much less of a hassle. But I am a positive person, so I can work with it until another solution comes along (that is until I get a car).

Baby Steps

Yesterday went well overall. I actually exercised, getting in about 35 minutes of cardio and some core work. I drew up some goals, both long and short-term. I have a 2 month goal and a 5 year goal right now (along with a few various goals in the middle). Today I’m going to take my 2 month goal and break it down into steps. I will continue doing this each day until all of my goals are broken down into manageable steps. And I will do something each day to move me closer to my goals.

Today I actually have a job interview. I’m almost afraid to get my hopes up too high at this point since I have been disappointed so many times in the past. In the beginning every time I went on an interview (which to be honest didn’t happen all that often), I was sure that I was going to get the job. But a couple of years later, I no longer think like that anymore. I go in, do my best and hope. At least I’ve been getting more interviews since coming to Washington. I’ve had as many interviews up here in a month and a half than I had in San Diego in a year and a half. I have 18 more weeks of UEI, so I really hope that something positive happens soon… (or that I win big in Vegas lol).

I am making positive progress so far today and am keeping my spirits up. As long as I remain focused and committed to myself, I should be able to pull all of this off… with the help of my friends of course!