101 in 1001: Results

Okay, so I set out to accomplish 101 things in 1001 days quite a while ago…

I was inspired by this: 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days

and my deadline was: Tuesday, March 19, 2013.

I didn’t accomplish 23 items at all,

and I mostly accomplished 2,

but I completely accomplished 76 items in 1001!

I think that’s a pretty good success rate. It helped that a lot of my goals were travel and wedding related and that my honeymoon and wedding fell into that span of days, but of course I planned my list that way. :) I’m a little surprised that I was able to cross so many items off my list, and I’m a little surprised by some of the items that I didn’t end up crossing off my list in time. It was definitely a motivator to do more and to remember to do specific things while on vacation, and I think I’ll take some time next week to set up my next 101 in 1001 list, this time centered around the first 1001 days of my child’s life. :)

Without further adieu:

My  101  76  in  1001

1. Watch my sister perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York It was so cool! 11.24.11

2. Speak to the representatives of the government about something I’m passionate about Done! Attended meeting at town hall with representatives and Senator Walker and spoke out to them about the awful and detrimental education reforms our stupid superintendent is planning 1.8.10

3. Clean up the garage Finished 6.29.10

4. Own a Nook Merry Christmas from my Hubby! 12.25.10

5. Buy a digital SLR Yay! Canon 60D! 11.14.11

6. Take tons of photographs on my honeymoon Europe trip and prevent my camera from being stolen (it happened on my last overseas trip) Hooray! 8.7.10

7. Keep a diary/journal on the honeymoon Europe trip Hooray! 8.7.10

8. Watch the list of movies on the green post-it note in the living room So far we’ve checked off Charlie Bartlett, The Counterfeiters, The Namesake, and Fools Gold…

9. Catch up on my collage/quotes book 7.05.12

10. Catch a fish

11. Revisit the Two Heart River in the U.P.

12.Plant and grow flowers Done! Gladiolis in the front yard are in bloom! 8.1.11

13. Create a family tree

14. Read something by Tolstoy  10.31.11-11.1.11 “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”- read and taught :)
15. Try Indian food
16.Teach Feeny to come when called 2.19.11 This one has been a work in progress, but yesterday at the park (with distractions all around like ducks and people) I got 20 feet away before stopping and calling him, and he came directly to me! Hooray!
17. Win a game of Apples to Apples Beat my cousin, her sister, her husband, and my sister 6.18.10

18. Help with the farming at my in-laws by helping with the pigs Done! Yuck! That was a very smelly and interesting experience. Plus, I helped twice! More so one time than the other… 12.30.10

19. Touch Juliet’s wall in Verona and leave a message Done! 7.30.10

20. Sing  “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music” in Austria Done! 8.4.10




21. Drink beer in Germany Done! 8.5.10

22. Try spaghetti in Italy Done! 7. 26.10

23. See the leaning tower in Pisa Done! 7.28.10

24. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain Done! 7.29.10

25. Take a picture with the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that is in the picture of my dad and I when I’m about 1 yr old 6.29.12

26. See a band perform who I’ve never seen before Radiohead 6.5.2012!!!

27. Cry over something wonderful Hearing my baby’s heartbeat for the first time and sharing the news with my family. 10.19.12

28. Meet a new friend Yay for new work buddies! 10.30.10

29. Revisit the museums, aquarium, and Navy Pier in Chicago with my husband.  4.7.12

30. Eat at Kitsch’n in Chicago again- but be alive this time to enjoy it  4.7.12

31. Eat NY pizza in New York Blarney Stone- pizza and Magners 11. 25.11

32. Have my husband dip and kiss me in Times Square like in that awesome D-day picture He’s such a trooper :) I love him. 11.26.11

33. Clean out my leftover boxes from my parents’ basement 7.15.12 They’re cleaned out, but there’s still remaining in storage there…

34. Watch a meteor shower with my husband Perseids! 8.?.12

35. Write my siblings letters of love and gratitude

36. Write my parents letters of love and gratitude Made a book for my daddy for Christmas instead of writing it in a letter. :) 12.25.10 Made a book for my mommy 12.25.12

37. Help with the farming one year at my father in law’s by driving the tractor

38. Volunteer at a soup kitchen/food pantry Volunteered for Smorgasbord at our church 4.29.11

39. Sign up for the donor list Changed my notifications on my drivers license when I renewed it and signed up for the bone marrow donor list at Be the Match 1.9.11

40. Donate blood (if they’ll let me this time) I almost fainted! Done! 11.30.11

41. Take a daily multivitamin at least 5 days of the week 1.6.10 started taking prenatal vitamin gummies-yum! Hello, Folic Acid!

42. Floss at least twice a week Hooray for hygiene!

43. Plant bulbs  Yay! Gladiolas! “Gladiolis!” 5.19.11 and 6.2.11

44. Ice skate with my husband Rockafeller Center! Woot woot! NYC! Husbands first time skating ever! 11.24.11

45. Write my husband a letter telling him all of the things I love about him  I made the note into a cootie catcher too! 5.11.12

46. Go sledding with my husband

47. Organize a family event

48. Re-learn how to drive a stick shift

49. Learn how to make queso blanco Done! Total fail, need to try again…

50. Learn how to make guacamole

51. Learn how to make chimichangas

52. Make homemade playdough and play with it with my nephew  Done! What a little giggle monster he was! 9.24.11

53. Make another gingerbread house

54. Make my husband an “I Heart Hippos” shirt Ordered from cafepress.com 6.29.10

55. Get a very small tattoo of the mitten Done! OUCH! (Not really, but I was a big baby about it.)  12.22.10

Thanks John for the excellent and swift work!

I <3 Michigan! That little red dot is a heart on Detroit.

56. Feel really truly beautiful in nothing at all Pregnancy made me appreciate and love my body in a way I never anticipated. 3.19.13

57. Relearn how to play euchre Done! Thanks Barb! 11.24.10

58. Send at least one piece of mail to someone I love at least once a month Success! Thank you Hallmark Rewards and the many friends I’m blessed with; the rewards program combined with the many birthdays I have to celebrate have kept me consistently meeting this goal!

59. Finish the scarf I started knitting in 12th grade Started working on it again at Thanksgiving… 11.24.10

60. Get large prints of honeymoon pictures and replace the Halsey pictures in the nice frames

61. Drink less pop. Hubby and I vowed to only drink pop outside of the house (which is essentially only when we are out to eat/on vacation). Yay! 1.1.11

62. Spring clean in a ridiculously meticulous fashion Started by weeding and preening the garden and cleaning out the fridge, freezer, and pantry…5.31.11 Done! 6.5.11

63. Build a large sandcastle

64. Take my nephews to the Indianapolis Zoo (I’ve never been there either!)

65. Ride in a gondola Done! Honeymoon 7.30.10

66. Throw a fancy dinner party

67. Teach my sister to ski 2.10.11 Success! She’s better at it than me! We both made it down Buck at Crystal Mountain Resort without dying!

68. Surprise my fiance with a very big gift Wedding present to him 8.23.10

69. Try sushi Tried a piece at China 8 Buffet- not so fond of it… 5.23.11

70. Stain and finish my rocking chair Finished but still in the garage 6.027.10

71. Stain and finish my grandmother’s vanity Finished and moved into the house 6.27.10

72. Buy a house Theodore! 7.12.12

73. Refinish the record cabinet my mother made

74. Get pregnant 7.?.12

75. Do something others would call “crazy” with my husband White water rafting? Eating rattlesnake? 6.17-18.12

76. Road trip with my little sister

77. Dance (ballroom style) with my husband in front of a crowd (of at least 100) without falling Done! 7.24.10

78. Marry my fiance Done! 7.24.10

79. Own and train a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Owning, working on the training part…9.25.10 Trained! He can sit, shake, lay down, wait for his food, and walk on a leash! Good boy, Feeny! 12.01.10

80. Grow another pumpkin over 100 lbs

81. Successfully grow a good sized watermelon

82. Pay my respects at Ground Zero in New York 11.25.11 I’d like to go back to see the memorial when it is finished.

83. Finish one Sudoku puzzle by myself Finished in 30 minutes 55 seconds on 12.25.10 on my new Nook

84. Try a new sport/adventurous activity White water rafting! 6.17.12

85. Write a letter to the editor

86. Finish the embroidered jean quilt I started making in college

87. Write Ms. G a thank you letter for inspiring me to teach 12.3.10 Her response: “What a wonderful Christmastime present to get in touch with me.  Thank you for your kind comments.  Those mean so much as you will learn during your career.  That’s fantastic that you became a teacher.  Where are you teaching English? Please feel free to write back and fill me in on what you’ve been doing. Ms. G”

88. Obtain another full time teaching job Yay for employment! 7.1.10

89. Spend an entire afternoon in bed with my husband I’m particularly proud of  myself for not planning this one and just letting it happen. :) It was the best day in a long while! 2.20.11

90. Have silly wedding pictures taken Done! 7.24.10

91. Get a pedicure and manicure before the one for the wedding Done and it felt marvelous 6.29.10

92. Plant the flowers in the front yard Planted lilies 6.23.10

93. Fix the giant bare spots in the yard We’ve tried everything. 7.15.10 Update: Grass has grown! IT’S A MIRACLE! 10.8.11

94. Get rid of the crickets in the bathroom I’ve done as much as possible 7.15.10 None have been sighted since December of 2010. Success!

95. Construct a boarder for the garden in the backyard Finished 6.24.10

96. Finish writing the first batch of thank-you notes before the next wedding shower Finished 6.24.10

97. Finish writing all possible thank-you notes before the wedding Done! 7.20.10

98. Decide on flowers for the wedding Dahlias, spray roses, Stargazer lilies, stock, orchids, and stephanotis 6.27.10

99. Add at least one more personal touch to the wedding plans Mom’s Mother Mary Charm onto bouquet, even though I forgot to actually hook it on; it was in my purse! 7.14.10

100. Find something old for the wedding day Mom’s diamond studs 6.27.10

101. Find something borrowed for the wedding day Mom’s diamond studs 6.27.10

Back Again

I spent most of the summer away from home or working at my summer job or packing or moving homes or unpacking. I’ve barely stayed still for longer than the hours in which I sleep. Suddenly, school is starting tomorrow, and I feel like I never had a chance to re-energize for the school year.

I spent several hours in my classroom today getting things ready for the year. I worked swiftly, purposefully, productively. Freshmen orientation was going on, so a few of my honors kids stopped in shyly to see the room and giggle when they saw I was there. I love interacting with the kids, getting to know them, helping them to learn and grow into purposeful and educated human beings. Then I sat there for a minute in my chair, looked out into the empty classroom, and remembered how it feels to sit there after school in the empty room with nothing but piles of papers to be graded. I let the anxiety and stress wash over me, pull me under for a second, then recede with the consciousness of my responsibility as a community member, as a wife, as a human being. This is my job. It is work. It’s not supposed to always be fun or exciting. There’s a reason I am paid for this.

I’ve done a fine job of getting things done all summer long. I will not let procrastination get in the way of my life this year. I will grade every day there is grading during the week. I will reserve my weekends for myself and my husband. I will not allow myself to screw myself over when it comes to time. After all, it goes by so quickly.

Pretty Things

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Gotta love Pinterest. This is my wedding bouquet encased in glass Christmas ornaments. I am going to see if I can dry a fresh orchid in one of the ornaments too, as you can see. I reconstructed the rose petals in one to look like a full rose. Hard work but beautiful results.


I sit, and I make lists, and I can’t stop thinking of everything that I should be doing instead of sitting here writing this, but I don’t care. I sit here. I stay stagnant. I look at the mess around me and realize just how representative it is of my life this past few weeks: the photo of my friend’s daughter sitting on my coffee table when it should really be hanging on the fridge, which needs cleaning on the inside and out, the bags of almonds and pretzels and a box of cookies left out from late night snacking from the couch where I never seem to be able to leave, the love note to my husband turned cootie-catcher nestled in what is supposed to be a dip dish or a candy dish that is never used for entertaining because we rarely have visitors, a folder full of houses we hoped would be our next move but continue to disappoint us in the awkwardness of the front living room or the limited space in the kitchen I so desperately want to have space in, a bag with gold ribbon and empty graduation cards waiting to be filled out and handed out at the numerous grad parties ascending on my schedule in the next two weeks, a straw cowgirl hat hanging from  the corner of a letter stand that I bought to wear on our trip out west, winter coats hanging off the back of the front door because I just haven’t put them away yet, the dryer ball perched on the shelf, which Feeny found last week when he felt like acting like a cat for a few hours by batting the ball across the living room floor that is coated in his fur yet again, birthday cards from our birthdays at the end of April and the beginning of May lined along the mantle of the fireplace that we haven’t used once in the two years we’ve lived in this teeny, tiny house, clothes hanging on the drying rack in the kitchen because apparently I like to show off my underwear to the neighbors for weeks at a time, grabbing clothes off the rack when I need them instead of stowing them in the closet and drawers I spent so much time organizing a few weeks ago, shoes from the last day of school, shoes from when I exercised with Feeny and Whitney, shoes from work, shoes from hiking, and flip flops from this weekend strewn around the record cabinet that I swore I’d refinish last year because it’s been so long since it has been used, and if only it looked nicer, maybe I’d find a place to display it better and maybe I’d play all those records I bought because I just had to get them before they were gone.

This is my life. Love, words, plans, stuff, food, things being left everywhere because I’ve been too busy seeing, doing, loving, eating, pretending that when I got off work for the summer I’d be motivated to get things (myself) organized, cleaned, in their place. We leave in two weeks for a 15 day trip out west. I have a feeling I’m going to come home to a house that looks similar to this one, with the exception of different stuff strewn about it. I tell myself that when we move, when we have more space, I’ll keep it clean. I’ll be a better housewife. The dishes will stay done when we have a dishwasher. The clothes will be put away when I have a laundry line outside. The snacks will stay in the kitchen when we have a big enough kitchen to eat in. The papers will stay organized when we have an office. I’ll be healthier when I have more space to live, move, breathe.

We all know I’m lying. I know it’ll take time for me to rest enough to feel motivated again, to regain my composure, my sanity, my sense of self, my self-assurance that despite not being constantly tied to my job and my students that I still have value and worth and a purpose outside of my classroom..that I can still be superwoman without my grown-up job being front and center.

Eventually, I’ll find a rhythm. Eventually, I’ll find myself again. Until then, I’ll continue to live in the chaos of my house and my mind, snuggled in close to my husband who loves me despite the mess around him and next to him because he too knows that it takes me a little while to unwind from the storm that the end of the school year brings.


The nice thing about teaching seniors is that at the end of the year, they tend to be more appreciative of their teachers and are sad to say goodbye because 1. their high school journey is over, and 2. they’re terrified of college. Another nice thing about teaching seniors is that the ones who drive me crazy are leaving and will most likely never return. I’ll probably tear up for both reasons at graduation. They’ve outgrown me, and I’ve outgrown them.


We’ve been house hunting. It’s a lot of fun, and at the same time, it’s frustrating and obnoxious how much people think their house is worth when it’s clearly not. Hopefully, we’ll find something we love soon. I feel like we’ve outgrown the house we’re in. It’s time to move on.

Things I Will Do Next Year To Be A Better Teacher

It’s almost the end of the school year. I have so much I want to do better next year. I have so much I want to change.

1. Review and change all assessments to better reflect a wider range of types and depths of questions. If this means adding short answer types/essays, then so be it.

2. Incorporate more difficult writing into the freshmen curriculum for semester 2 and your own version of “You Must Read This” by altering the choice reading project to include a persuasive analysis.

3. Begin doing grammar/punctuation work at the very beginning of the year with the freshmen. Work it into the schedule. Start the SAT Q of the day at the beginning of the year too. Give them a routine they can rely on so that the incessant chatter ceases when the bell rings.

4. Be less big sister and more strict, scary teacher with the seniors right off the bat, especially because these kids have already had you as a teacher. Lay down the law and don’t try to comfort them that this year will all be okay and that you’ll hold their hands through the work. DON’T hold their hands. DON’T give so many examples. Let them figure it out on their own. Let them grow. Let them be independent. If necessary, let them fail. This is not the year for hand-holding like in previous years.

5. Provide an assignment calendar for the freshmen too, not just the seniors. It’ll keep them accountable for assignments in a way they previously haven’t been responsible for.

6. Change the syllabus to be more straightforward and concise. No one reads a five page document. NO ONE.

7. Add more activities/analysis to the 1984 unit and move the unit to where we do not have block scheduling going on! Move the Literacy Portfolio unit to April and give them more time in class with computers.

8. Take down the individual calendars in the room and put up the big senior calendar. Mark all senior project dates on the calendar.

9. Write the standards being addressed for the unit on the whiteboard by the filing cabinet. Refer to it in class when starting a new unit.

10. Fix desk area so that you are facing the kids and the door not the back corner. Buy cable extension ports if necessary.

11. Move center table out or to the right by the door to give yourself more space on the board.

12. Move WOW words area to the cabinets- challenge them to fill all cabinet space by the end of the year. Use 10-20 of the words each semester on the final exam.

13. Find/purchase filing system to provide extras of forms.

14. Reorganize large filing cabinet to reflect current classes not previous.

15. Backup all files onto home laptop!


Today, I contemplated quitting more seriously than I ever have before. I’m so overwhelmed. I keep messing up. I keep approaching things the wrong way. I try to hold my head up, and then I get smashed into the ground again. I put more hours in this year than I ever have before. I put more effort and attention to detail in my grading than ever before, and I’m still failing in my eyes. The next month and a half could not go by any faster.


When I prayed for clarity on whether or not I should continue in this field of work, was I asking God to show me all of the reasons why I shouldn’t? If so, is this a test for me to determine if its worth this? Is it all worth this kind of anguish and frustration and sadness?

Success is Mine

I never think that I can do something until I’ve already done it, and it’s all over with.

Everything feels so huge and monumentally impossible until I’ve climbed over that mountain and reached the bottom of the other side.


I hate grading with a fiery passion, but I feel so accomplished when I can sit back and say, “Yes, I graded/edited 968 pages of research papers this month.”

Hope for the Hopeless

I get all worked up about how ill prepared my students are for college and life after high school…

They don’t care. They don’t put in effort. How will that change in college? It won’t. We all know it won’t. What kind of jobs are these kids going to be able to keep when they turn in plagiarized work and sass back the teacher? None, I tell you. Haters of Obama: don’t blame the jobless rate on the economy, blame it on the lazy young people trying to get a job with a barely above average grade point average and lethargic work ethic. If coming to school high is okay, why wouldn’t they think coming to work high is okay too? Brain cells? Who needs them?! Everything is stupid. Everything is pointless. We’re all just trying to ruin their lives and ruin their fun. Copying isn’t cheating; it’s creative studying; it’s protecting one’s grade; it’s stupid busy work anyway, right? Who cares? Why do teachers care so much? It’s not THEIR grade. It’s not THEIR integrity being called into question here. Senioritis is apparently a pandemic that excuses them all from turning things in or putting in effort. The school year is only 47 school days away from ending, why care now when they haven’t cared all year? They’re accepted at colleges. They have their scholarships. No one looks at second semester grades senior year, right? College will be easy. College allows them to make their own schedule, sleep in, party hard, live life with no consequences, right? RIGHT?

Then, I remember who I was at 18…


…and I shut my damn mouth.

We’ll be okay, right?

Our future leaders and policy makers and policemen and politicians and doctors and nurses and teachers, they’ll all grow up, just like we did, right?


I’m a pretty brave individual. I kill my own spiders. I’ve lived alone in a strange city. I’m not afraid to talk to strangers. I try new foods and go new places and am fairly adventurous. However, when my husband said to me a few days ago, “Wow. You just picked up your last pack of pills for a while, huh?” I felt a mixture of excitement and extreme panic. After skimming through the pregnancy book I bought months ago in preparation for this time, I very confidently feel like backing out of this idea that has been mainly mine for so long. What had I been thinking?

In one month we’ll stop preventing and join the cult of TTCers (that’s “trying to conceive” for those of you not thinking of joining the club yet). Suddenly, the main concern in my life will be what my basal body temperature is and what day of my cycle I’m on. While I originally somehow deluded myself into thinking I’d be able to take on this job with the ease and grace of walking down a flight of stairs in running shoes, I know that I won’t be able to just “stop preventing” and that my crazy mind will immediately shift into “trying to conceive” the day I stop taking my pills.

As I have been the one actively campaigning for this moment in our lives, I realize how suddenly unfair it is for me to have wanted my husband to be ready for this madness before this time. Now that he’s well acquainted with all of my kinds of crazy, he’s finally ready to see what kind of crazy I’ll be when you add double the amount of hormones to my system and an uncontrollable growing force in my uterus. (TMI?) Poor guy. This why I love him and want to have his babies in the first place.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that starting in April, I’ll be at the mercy of mother nature and God. I’ll try to keep my frustration at my bodily functions during the process to myself. I wouldn’t want to turn into a mommy blogger before I’m even a mommy…God, this is terrifying.


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