Mission 33 Before 33: A partial success…

A few months ago I made a list of 33 fun, easy, inexpensive (or free!) things I wanted to do before my 33rd birthday.  I started out trying to write about them as I crossed them off, but that got too confusing after only like five things, so I decided to do them all here in one place.

Thursday was my 33rd birthday!  I’ve marked most of the things off my list, but there are a bunch that I haven’t gotten to yet.  But that’s okay–that just gives me a few more things to look forward to doing!

1.   Go hiking.  We live about 30 minutes from some hiking trails (hiking trails–“not suitable for running” according to the park ranger that I asked at the headquarters when I stopped to get a map), and I’ve never been on any of them.  Fix that.  And see if the park ranger really knew what he was talking about.  Scope out possible running trails.

      Okay, I’m not starting off on a good note here, as I didn’t get the #1 thing on the list done.  Our only chance is on the weekends, and the weekends the past couple of months (really ever since I made this list) have been BUSY, as is always the case this time of year.  This is still at the top of my to-do list, but it’ll likely be a few more weeks before I get around to it.

2.   Spend an afternoon checking out all the independently owned shops on court square downtown.

      What better day to do this than Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Turns out the shops here in town didn’t feel the same way.  I didn’t make it downtown until about 2:00 (as evidenced by the clock tower below), and over half of the shops were already closed!  It was the Christmas open house weekend for Pete’s sake, and even Santa had already packed up his shit and gone home!  I went into a few stores, but I didn’t buy anything.  Unless you’re in the market for incredibly overpriced women’s clothing ($150 for a shirt?  Screw you.) or country craft-style decor, downtown Paris apparently isn’t the place to shop.  It was kind of festive feeling though with all the storefronts decorated for the season.

Bottom left – Santa’s shack locked up tight

3.   Make a vegan dessert and sneak it into the family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner so they can eat it and then I can give them hell about it when they like it, completely invalidating their “My God, you must eat rabbit food all the time,” way of thinking.

       I made a totally kick-ass French silk pie thingie at Thanksgiving and took it to my in-laws’.  It was a hit, but it never came up that it was vegan.  I made it again for Christmas at my parents’.  Everyone there knew it was vegan and liked it anyway.  So yay!

Silkened tofu blended with melted chocolate chips and a little vanilla in an Oreo crust with crushed Oreos sprinkled on top.

4.   Book next year’s vacation to the Dominican Republic with my bestie and her hubby!

       Okay, it’s not booked yet but it’s still in the plans and we’ll make the reservations just as soon as everyone finds out their work/school schedules so we can nail down a date!  It’s looking like August.

5.   Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.

       Done!  Read about it here.

6.   Take a vacation day just for the hell of it and do whatever I want to do that day.  And I’m not allowed to clean or do laundry or take an animal to the vet or get my teeth cleaned or any of that other crap that I always end up doing when I have a day off.

       I took off the day after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t go shopping with the masses.  The only crowd I fought was the one on couch, consisting of me, two dogs, and one cat.  I did absolutely nothing productive all day long.  I slept until 8:30 (after getting up briefly at 6:00 to feed a cat that feared she may starve to death before dawn), watched Rock of Ages (cheesy plot, great music) and Paranormal Activity 4 (hilarious!), did a little online shopping, went for a short run, went back to the in-laws’ to eat leftovers… the perfectly lazy day.  I thoroughly enjoyed every second!  And I guess Thursday could count toward this one too.  I never work on my birthday!  It’s my own little personal holiday!

7.   Get a massage.

      Nope, didn’t do this one either.  I thought about calling to see if I could get in on Thursday while I was off, but then decided I didn’t feel like getting out of my pajamas or shaving my legs.

8.   Pick out colors to paint the living room, dining room/kitchen, and hallways.  If we get it DONE, even better, but I’ll be happy just forming a plan.

      We were going to hold off on this one because we had decided to just redo the whole living room, new furniture and all.  The plan was to get new furniture in the spring and THEN pick colors to go with whatever furniture we got.  Well, yesterday we were in Nashville for my birthday celebration and decided to just look in some furniture stores to try to start getting some ideas of what we wanted… damned if we didn’t end up finding and buying something right then.  So we’ll have the furniture in here in a couple of weeks and can start choosing colors adding in the accents then.

9.   Run a holiday-themed race.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fall between now and my birthday, so surely I can find one of those!

      I ran the Santa Hustle Smokies Half Marathon with the bestie!

10.  Volunteer with an animal rescue.

      I haven’t done this one yet either.  I emailed the one here in town asking about their need for volunteers and they told me that the inmates took care of everything for them.  They said they would definitely keep my name and call on me for adoption events in the spring.  I’m not planning on stopping there though.  This is a matter that always has been important to me, and is becoming more and more so lately.  I want to get involved.  It’s just a matter of finding where and how I can be most useful.

11.  Go to a Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never been to one, and I hear people rave about them all the time.  There’s one a couple of hours from here, so maybe I can do this in conjunction with some Christmas shopping.

       I finally went to a TJs yesterday while we were in Nashville!  I gotta admit, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.  I guess I was expecting something more like Whole Foods.  I did get some good stuff though… HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOO cilantro and jalapeno hummus!!!!!!

12.  Do something fun on New Year’s Eve.  We’ve spent the last three at home by ourselves.

      We went to a private party at some friends’ lake house and had a freaking blast.  Friends and food and alcohol and live music.  I can’t think of a better way to close out an awesome year and bring in a new one.  This little hottie is the local kid we hired for music.  I’m not putting his name here because I don’t want local folks to come across this blog when they google him, but look for this face on the cover of an album someday!  He’s already making a name for himself in Nashville!

13.  Channel my inner child and go play laser tag.  There’s a place here in town that opened a couple of years ago that has indoor go carts, laser tag, and all that other stuff kids (and by “kids” I mean 32-year-old women) like.  I’ve been wanting to go but I’ve been afraid I’d be the only adult there.  Screw it.  Go anyway.

      The weekend we were in Sevierville for the Santa Hustle, there was a huge arcade in our resort.  And, YEP, they had laser tag!  So fun!!!

At our “base” receiving instructions.

14.  Go to a comedy show.

      Never made it happen.  We checked into going Zanies the weekend of D’s birthday, but we had never heard of the guy scheduled to be there.  We looked him up on You Tube to see what his comedy was like.  Yeah… not our kind of guy.  He was pretty down on whitey.  I wouldn’t have been comfortable there.

15.  Unplug.  Go one full day with no phone, no laptop, no Facebook, no texting, no TV, no Netflix.  Music is okay.

      Didn’t and not gonna.  I don’t know what possessed me to put this on my list anyway.  Those are all my favorite things.

16.  Go to a second-hand store.

      One of the stores I went to when I was downtown for Small Business Saturday was a consignment shop for furniture and decor.  I didn’t buy anything, but it was a super cool store!  I’ll have to remember to check back in there periodically.

17.  Do at least one thing this Christmas season to bring joy to myself.  I’ve hated every second of the last few Christmases because of the added job pressures and financial strain.  I’m sure all that stuff won’t just magically disappear this year, but I will do ONE fun Christmasy thing this year.

      This ended up being a repeat of #18 below.  I had so much fun marking that one off my list that I did it again for this one!  When I was telling a friend about it, she said it sounded fun, so we booked ourselves for a class to paint a Christmas tree!  Everyone was very much in the Christmas spirit.  There was Christmas music playing, apple cider flowing, just a very Christmasy feeling all around.  It was perfect for putting/keeping me in the holiday spirit.

18.  Go to a canvas painting class at the new place in town.

       Done!  See it here!

19.  Go see This is 40 when it comes out.

       D and I caught this one on opening weekend.  LOVED IT!

20.  Also Breaking Dawn Part 2.

       My sister and I saw this the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The ending was a trip!!!

21.  Teach Harley a new command.

      I really haven’t put any focus on this one at all.  I actually even forgot it was on my list until not long ago.  We were playing around the other night, though, and I was trying to get him to catch stuff.  He’s always sucked at that.  Bella can catch a treat thrown to her from clear across the room, but Harley won’t even attempt to catch anything thrown to him.  He will watch you, know it’s in your hand, see you getting ready to throw it, and then watch it come straight at his face, but still let it bop him in the head.  It ends up looking much like this.

22.  Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.

       Done.  Here.

23.  Go somewhere directly after work for happy hour.

       One Friday afternoon after a particularly hectic day at work, one of the girls said, “Man, I could use a drink!”  That’s what got the ball rolling.  An hour later, three of us were sitting at the American Legion with beer in hand.  It was only like 4:30 in the afternoon, so it was totally empty.  Other than two older men at the bar, we were the only ones in there, meaning we had the jukebox and the pool table all to ourselves.  It was fantastic.

24.  See a live band.

      I’m counting our New Year’s Eve shindig for this one, too.  And we saw the same guy again the very next weekend at a bar when we were out for a friend’s birthday celebration.

25.  Plant some trees in our back yard this fall.

       Well, this one didn’t technically get completed.  We did our research and decided what we wanted to plant, and when we went to the nursery they told us we had probably waited a little late in the fall to plant.  We should have done it six weeks before the first hard frost.  This was in mid-October and although we hadn’t had a frost yet, we knew we probably would within the next six weeks, so we decided not to chance it and put this one off until spring.  And it’s a good thing we did because we got our first decent frost just a couple of weeks later.

26.  Read a book.  I’m open to suggestions.

       Done.  Here.

27.  Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.

       I’ve actually done this a couple of times!  I told you about one here, and then we did it again the weekend before Thanksgiving.  That was D’s birthday weekend, and his parents wanted to take us out to eat.  They took us to Patti’s 1880’s Settlement.  It was really pretty cool!  And they were already all decorated for Christmas.  It was a little gaudy for my taste but still very festive!

28.  Have a sisters’ night out.  Or night in.

       Kim came up one Saturday night and we went out to eat, to the movies, and then came back to the house and I introduced her to Glee.  Since she’s as big (okay, bigger) a music nerd as I am, I knew she’d love it.  She did.

29.  Attempt to make an Indian dish.

       I found a recipe for vegan matar paneer that sounded good, so I made that one night last week.  It was really, really tasty!!!

30.  Swing in the park.

       I was running through the park at about mile 7 of a 12-mile run a few weeks before St. Jude when I did this.  I had no intentions of stopping in the middle of my run when I started it that morning, but when I ran past the swing sets that’s exactly what I did.  There were no kids around, but there was a bunch of teenagers playing flag football across the field.  I just closed my eyes and swung (swinged?  swang?  Nothing sounds right!) and listened to the game and felt the wind in my hair and felt my stomach catch when I got going real high… I truly felt like a kid.  Positively care-free.  I don’t know how long I stayed and didn’t care.  It was perfect and a perfect example of why I did this whole “33 things” thing.  To remind me it’s the little things in life.

31.  Visit a different winery.

      Not yet.  I’ve passed a few billboards for wineries on the interstate, but it’s always been when we were in a hurry to get somewhere or in a hurry to get home.  It’ll be easier to do now that we’re past the super busy holiday season.

32.  Find a sitter for the animals and get out of town with the hubs for a weekend.  We missed out on our late-summer vacation, but surely we can sneak away for a couple of days.

       Again, our weekend in Sevierville took care of this one, too.

33.  Do something with a friend.  I don’t care what–lunch date, movie, pedicure, whatever–just ONE thing with a friend.

       The entire St. Jude Marathon weekend was spent with friends.  The highlight for me was getting out the night after the race and just having drinks with friends.  Good times, good times…that’s what it’s all about.

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Five Down, Twenty-Eight to Go!

A few weeks ago, I made a list of 33 fun things I want to do before I turn 33.  I’m slowly chiseling away at that little list!  In addition to the two I told you about here, I’ve recently knocked off three more.

22.  Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.

I did the best I could with this one.  I tried to get one at our local shop the night of the canvas painting class but didn’t because they did not have a nondairy milk option.  I was pretty miffed about that.  I can maybe see charging a little extra for soy or almond or whatever, but to not even offer one???  Crazy.  So I fulfilled #22 at Starbucks.  And I learned something in the process.  I ordered a grande soy pumpkin spice latte with no whip cream, paid, waited, and then when the barrista handed me my drink, he asked…

Barrista:  Did you know the the pumpkin spice flavor we use has trace dairy in it?
Me:  Shit.  No.  I did not know that.
Barrista:  Are you allergic?
Me:  Nah, it’s an ethical choice for me.
Barista:  Yeah, me too.  Vegan for five years.

We went on to chat a few minutes about the vegan lifestyle and snags that trip up new herbies.  He was super cool.

The sneaky dairy in stuff like this is why I will never be 100% vegan! I would drive myself bonkers.

26.  Read a book.

A lady at work recommended and loaned me Hostile Witness by William Lashner.  It took me a while to get into it–about 100 pages or so.  Just when I was about to give up on feeling this one, something finally clicked and it turned out to be a pretty good read.

27.  Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.

A new place opened up in Clarksville that looked like fun.  The Tilted Kilt.  We went this past Saturday night.  It was an awesome sports bar–kind of a cross between an Irish-themed Hooters and Buffalo Wild Wings.  The atmosphere was fun and the food was great.  (Yep, they even had an easily veganizable Spicy Black Bean wrap!)  I just wish we had waited until a later date to go.  They only opened on Monday, so their first weekend was kind of a clusterfuck.  When we first put our name on the list, we were told it would be 45 minutes, but that 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half wait, and then we got a green waitress.  Like GREEN green.  Like she told us to bear with her because it was her first night ever as a waitress green.  But overall it was fun!  It would have been even better if I hadn’t had to get up and run 19 miles the next morning and could have had a cold one or few, but there’s plenty of time for that when marathon training is over!

Two Down!

Did you see my 33 Before 33 post?  If not (and if you’re too lazy to click the link that I so conveniently just supplied for you) it was a list of 33 fun things I want to do before I turn 33 in January.  This weekend I crossed two things off that list!

#18  Go to a canvas painting class at the new place downtown.

Saturday was the first day of fall, and the canvas cafe appropriately hosted a class painting whimsical pumpkins.  It was so much fun!  There was one painting already done hanging up as an example, and the instructor painted another one in front of the class as she instructed us on what to do.

Who doesn’t have a mini self  photo shoot in their truck when they get somewhere early? It’s normal. Trust me. Hell, I was just excited to be going somewhere not in work or running clothes, with my hair looking decent and makeup on all at the same time.  It doesn’t happen often.
The arteests
While we were letting our pumpkins dry.

My friend Becky was in the class too with a girl she works with! A fun coincidence. She took this picture of me taking a picture of my canvas.

Getting started

At this point I joked that it looked like we were painting a picture of the red monster from Bugs Bunny.  Becky had no idea what I was talking about.  I was so disappointed in her.  I even googled it and showed her a picture on my phone and she still didn’t recognize it.  Please tell me you remember this character.

My finished product

Class photo.  Me standing on the far left, Becky standing on the far right, her other friend kneeling below her.

We had an absolute ball.  For 30 bucks, you just can’t beat it.  They even allow you to bring in your own wine!  Becky and her friend brought a couple of bottles and offered to share, but I knew I had a long run coming up the next morning, so I wisely passed.  I’ll definitely be doing this again though (maybe marking #17 off my list when they start doing the Christmas classes!), and there will be wine.  Oh, yes. There WILL be wine.

#5    Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.

I knocked this one off on a 15-mile long run starting at my driveway and ending on the same highway 15 miles from where I started.  It was a fantastic run with some beautiful sights.  I’ve driven that stretch of highway hundreds of times and never noticed now pretty it is.  I had my phone in my SPIbelt and thought a couple of times about taking it out and snapping some pictures to share, but I just didn’t want to stop running long enough.  I was in my zone and loving it, and when that happens you don’t interrupt it.  On my final fuel break at mile 12 I took it out long enough to tell Siri to text D to pick me up in 30 minutes.  The only picture I took was of the city limits sign so I could post this to Facebook:

Hey, what’s the point of doing it if you can’t publicly brag about it on Facebook?

33 Before 33

It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling pretty down lately.  As hard as I’m trying not to, I find myself focusing on the negative more than is healthy.  Focusing on all the things I can’t control and do due to whatever circumstance… lack of time, lack of funds, etc.  Laura inspired me with this post, a list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30 in October.  Nothing life altering or earth shattering.  Thirty very specific, very doable things that will make her happy.  Since I need something positive to focus on, I’m doing the same thing.  Except I’m already 30, so it’s 33 before 33!

  1. Go hiking.  We live about 30 minutes from some hiking trails (hiking trails–not suitable for running according to the park ranger that I asked at the headquarters when I stopped to get a map), and I’ve never been on any of them.  Fix that.  And see if the park ranger really knew what he was talking about.  Scope out possible running trails.
  2. Spend a Saturday afternoon checking out all the independently owned shops on court square downtown.
  3. Make a vegan dessert and sneak it into the family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner so they can eat it and then I can give them hell about it when they like it, completely invalidating their “My God, you must just eat rabbit food all the time,” way of thinking.
  4. Book next year’s vacation to the Dominican Republic with my bestie and her hubby!
  5. Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.
  6. Take a vacation day just for the hell of it and do whatever I want to do that day.  And I’m not allowed to clean or do laundry or take an animal to the vet or get my teeth cleaned or any of that other crap that I always end up doing when I have a day off.
  7. Get a massage.  Most likely in conjunction with #6.
  8. Pick out colors to paint the living room, dining room/kitchen, and hallways.  If we get it DONE, even better, but I’ll be happy just forming a plan.
  9. Run a holiday-themed race.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fall between now and my birthday, so surely I can find one of those!
  10. Volunteer with an animal rescue.  
  11. Go to a Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never been to one, and I hear people rave about them all the time.  There’s one a couple of hours from here, so maybe I can do this in conjunction with some Christmas shopping.
  12. Do something fun on New Year’s Eve.  We’ve spent the last three at home by ourselves.
  13. Channel my inner child and go play laser tag.  There’s a place here in town that opened a couple of years ago that has indoor go carts, laser tag, and all that other stuff kids (and by “kids” I mean 32-year-old women) like.  I’ve been wanting to go but I’ve been afraid I’d be the only adult there.  Screw it.  Go anyway.
  14. Go to a comedy show.
  15. Unplug.  Go one full day with no phone, no laptop, no Facebook, no texting, no TV, no Netflix.  Music is okay.
  16. Go to a second-hand store.
  17. Do at least one thing this Christmas season to bring joy to myself.  I’ve hated every second of the last few Christmases because of the added job pressures and financial strain.  I’m sure all that stuff won’t just magically disappear this year, but I will do ONE fun Christmasy thing this year.
  18. Go to a canvas painting class at the new place downtown.
  19. Go see This is 40 when it comes out.
  20. Also Breaking Dawn Part 2.
  21. Teach Harley a new command.
  22. Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.
  23. Go somewhere directly after work for happy hour.
  24. See a live band.
  25. Plant some trees in our back yard this fall.
  26. Read a book.  I’m open to suggestions.
  27. Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.
  28. Have a sisters’ night out.  Or night in.
  29. Attempt to make an Indian dish.
  30. Swing in the park.
  31. Visit a different winery.
  32. Find a sitter for the animals and get out of town with the hubs for a weekend.  We missed out on our late-summer vacation, but surely we can sneak away for a couple of days.
  33. Do something with a friend.  I don’t care what–lunch date, movie, pedicure, whatever–just ONE thing with a friend.  
So there we go.  I’m already excited about making plans to do some of these things!  Ahhhhh, something pleasant to focus on.  Just what the doctor ordered right now…