Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Trying Something New - April

I can't say my attempts to try something new went so well last month. I started off with the best of intentions, having learned in January and February that I needed to plan something every day because if I didn't, the day would go by and I'd be scrambling for something new late at night. But often I reached too far, and the "new thing" didn't fit in with the way my day unfolded and so I'd still be left scrambling. So instead of planning a whole month in advance, I think it's best to do a few days at a time. Here is how it worked out for April:
  1. Play a prank for April Fool's Day. My sons and I have had fun pranking each other through the years, and I was really excited about this year's installment. I wanted something lighthearted and came up with a pan of "brown Es" - pieces of paper with the 5th letter of the alphabet printed in brown magic marker that I placed in the rectangular dish I usually use for making the chocolaty confection called brownies. I covered the dish with aluminum foil and placed it on the kitchen counter. When asked what was in the pan, I said "brown Es" and invited each family member to try one. Not exactly the laugh-out-loud hit that I wanted, but it did produce a few wan smiles.
  2. Try a new diet. I'm constantly trying new things to lose those stubborn last 10 pounds. Today's attempt was based on Self magazine's Drop 10 program. When I get organized, I'm going to do it for more than just a day!
  3. Attend an insider's talk at the Met Museum. I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend who volunteers at the Met to attend a presentation by William Kentridge about the origins of his video installation The Refusal of Time. Wow, it was amazing! I am finding that I am increasingly drawn to conceptual art, to appreciate the abstractions and intellectualizing that go into these works, and to enjoy my attempts to perceive the artist's message rather than just admire a pretty picture.
  4. Hear Bob Pittman speak at NYU. I've been on the email list at Stern for a while but never have gone to hear any of the lectures or presentations unless they were directly related to my studies or work. So I decided to change that and invited my honey along to make a night of it. Glad I did because it was an interesting talk and opened my eyes to the possibility of attending more of these.
  5. Collect on bet. Back in March I won the family stock challenge by devising a portfolio of companies that outperformed everyone else's. Since I very rarely win any of the many, many wagers with hubby and the kids, I was rather jazzed about my success. Sadly, I had trouble collecting on this bet--it took the family more than a month to pay up! But today, they finally did.
  6. Taste wild boar salami. This was a special from FreshDirect. It was chewy, fatty, and a bit gamey. Can't say B loved it either.
  7. Try 2-hour housecleaning service. Got an email offer and decided to use it. Can't say the short period of time with someone who didn't know her way around the apartment or what to expect made a huge difference, but she did scrub the bathrooms and the experience convinced me it's time to get a housekeeper again.
  8. Visit Trinity School. Next fall we'll have one son applying to college and the other applying to high school. I was able to accomplish a little on both fronts when one of the private schools that may be in contention hosted a panel of college admission officers.
  9. Explore college admissions consultant idea. Floated the question of whether many families use education consultants (and was rebuffed; apparently no one admits to it) at a school grade breakfast meeting and later, at lunchtime, when interviewing possible candidates, was assured that many, many families do.
  10. Arranged 2 coffees about college. So fun to learn more about colleges from friends who have been to or have knowledge of the places on B's list. This is  really the best part of the process!
  11. See K pitch in the middle school league. I know that the position can be full of stress so I was happy to see him bravely give it a shot.
  12. Shop at the Union Square market. I've been  there with school groups, but this was a good chance to buy bread and  fruit on my own.
  13. Run a half marathon with only 14 miles of training (cumulative) under my belt. Not only did I finish (I wasn't sure I could) but my time wasn't remarkably longer than races I've trained for extensively. And I wasn't even amazingly sore afterward.
  14. Have dinner with D's colleagues. We used to socialize with work people all the time, but at D's last few jobs that just hasn't been the case. Is this the new business reality, that people don't stick around long enough to establish long-standing relationships? Hope not! At any rate, it was a fun meal at a favorite local spot and even a nice opportunity to wear my new tan Max de Carlo pointy-toe kitten heels.
  15. Prep for painting. The work involved in emptying shelves, taking pictures off walls, etc. is the reason that we've been postponing this work for years. And it did take considerable time...
  16. Have painters start. The first day was all prep, but the new wall color comes soon!
  17. Compliment a stranger. Many times I've admired someone's work, or outfit, or whatever and it just seemed too awkward to say something to a stranger. But today when a nanny on the bus I was on worked hard to instill good manners in her charge, I thought she deserved recognition for her efforts.
  18. Propose books to editor. My first pitch! Not really a resounding success, but since I had asked only for an informational meeting, I shouldn't be too disappointed. And I got lots of good advice!
  19. Attend Easter Vigil service. A year ago, when I learned about this service, which is the transition from the despair of Good Friday to the joy of Easter morning, I thought it would be good to check it out. And I wasn't disappointed--a very moving service and I can see why several folks said it was there favorite of the year. Another first: I read one of the lessons.
  20. Tweak favorite pumpkin bread recipe. Not only is it Easter Sunday, but it is also K's birthday. So lots of baking to do in celebration, including a variation on an old standby (tried coconut instead of dried fruit and nuts).
  21. Take control. I grew up in a household where getting what you want was hardly considered a virtue. We never returned or exchanged gifts, no matter how much we wished we could. We never sent things back in a restaurant even if the order was wrong. We were taught to "live and let live" "let sleeping dogs lie" and so on. So to have to complain, cajole, nag, wheedle, use both the carrot and stick with a vendor is hardly second nature. But I persisted--and got the better service I deserved from a contractor who was ignoring me.
  22. Learn about screen writing. Lots going on and without the "new thing" challenge, I might have skipped this presentation at B's school. But I'd love my WWII project to proceed and this was a useful introduction to the topic.
  23. Consign items on Threadflip. I signed up for the full-service option from this online consignment site. All I need to do is fill and ship the bag they sent, they'll photograph, price and post my items: black Coach briefcase, plaid wide-leg pants, black 3D top with sheer mesh sleeves and back, black short-sleeve button-up blouse, Joseph Ribkoff black and white bubble-hem dress. I'll get 60% of the revenue from of whatever sells. Should be easy-peasy. I also looked into the Fashion Project but their list of accepted brands was too limited for me.
  24. Save a life. Saved J from choking when he practically inhaled a bag of treats. The steroids the poor pup is taking are just making him so unbelievable hungry he just can't handle it!
  25. Read the original Clifford books. One of the recommendations from my editor friend is to read lots and lots of children's books. It's turning into a fun assignment!
  26. Visit Staten Island Yankee stadium where  we got to see B's baseball team play for the first time this season.
  27. Eat baked eggs at the Roasted Pepper in Mamaroneck.
  28. Go to an event at the Club. My first time back since D renewed his membership.
  29. Let B be in charge. For a while, I've known intellectually that he needs to own his college application process. But actually letting him take control--and skipping a college fair where I could have learned more about the schools he's considering--still wasn't easy.
  30. Consciously decide not to enter contest. Usually I procrastinate my way out of writing contests (and other opportunities). But this time, I knew it wasn't for me.
Want to see the lists of all the new things I've tried this year? See my lists from JanuaryFebruary and March.

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