Thursday, June 5, 2014

Trying Something New - June

My determination to try something new every day this year continues! Here's what I tried in June:
  1. Weigh in at lowest point since having kids. The upside to not feeling well.
  2. Buy tuxedo for B. My baby is growing up! I still remember the proms I attended so vividly - hard to believe they were decades ago! And now it is his turn!
  3. Wear a slim-fit knit dress. I have long loved the look of a sleek knit dress with a belted waist, but even at my skinniest, I never felt it looked right on me. But finally I've found the perfect, effortless dress (and the invention of light-weight spanx helps hide the lumps and bumps without being too constricting).
  4. Wear new color combo and mixed prints. I admit it: I often get stuck in a rut with regard to what I wear, dressing so conservatively that even I am often bored by my outfits. So in an attempt to break out of my rut, I tried both a snazzy new color combo (blue/turquoise/purple) and mixed prints (large floral scarf, striped fabric shoes). It woke me up!
  5. Don't interrupt. My kids complain all the time that I interrupt them. And sadly, they are right. So I vowed to go a whole day without interrupting anyone, posting signs all around our home to remind me (since other vows - like improving my posture or not calling J "pumpkin" were hardly a success because I kept forgetting). It worked!
  6. Sport a dragon. My younger son's school team mascot is the dragon. I'm too old (and not rah-rah enough) to wear team merchandise, although I generally do try to show my support by wearing the school color (red) to games. But I've been thinking that it would be fun to wear a subtle piece of jewelry, too. Most of the dragon jewelry I found was too gaudy, goth or expensive, but I finally bought a pretty gold brooch - and a friend saw it and made the connection right away.
  7. Paint my toenails a different color. I've done red and pink of course. Even deep blue. So I decided it was time for something else. Maybe sparkles, I thought. What I chose, though, while at the nail salon was a beautiful deep purple with an almost iridescent sheen. 
  8. Co-host a hall party. With 10 kids, 7 dogs, and a plethora of neighbors who often hang out in the hall just to chat, our floor is a fun place to be. When the family across the hall from us announced that they were moving out of the building to a house in the suburbs, we knew that we'd have to mark this bittersweet event with a bit of a shindig. So we wheeled a bar-cart out of apartment, set up a card-table with goodies contributed by the neighbors and raised a glass in a toast of friendship. And they say that New Yorkers don't know their neighbors!
  9. Attend a Hudson Union event. I joined this society at the invitation of my alumni organization. I've perused listings of their events with interest for several months, but frankly, it was my determination to find "something new" that made me take the plunge and sign up to meet Oliver North. He was promoting his new book of course, but his talk was full of humor and surprisingly devoid of controversy.
  10. Cancel NYT subscription. I've read the Times almost every day since I was a freshman in college. It used to be my go-to source of info. But as I'm online more and more, reading a newspaper in the morning seems more and more like a rehash of what I already know, and if I'm going to read anything paper-based in the morning, I find myself reaching for the WSJ. I've also found that the Times has lost a fair amount of its objective reporting - opinions seem to be creeping into all sorts of articles lately. It seemed like time to stop paying for something that isn't offering me much value - and so I did.
  11. Participate in a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. GMA featured a clip about how hundreds of us set a new record for most people jumping on mini trampolines at once this morning. It was great to be a part of it!
  12. Commit to being a writer. Changed my occupation and joined writing groups on Linkedin. Now I just have to get something published (besides my travel writing)!
  13. Try Thai eggplant. These little suckers don't look like any other eggplant I've ever seen. They are green and round, about the size of a clementine. Inside, the flesh cooks up soft like a regular oblong aubergine, but the Thais are considerably more seedy. Not really a winner.
  14. Smoke a cigar. My family was totally against this attempt, asserting that they don't find it at all attractive or appropriate for women to smoke cigars. But I persisted, wanting to see what all the fuss was about -- why do guys like cigars so much? Having smoked an entire cigar, I still don't know the answer. They are better, perhaps, than cigarettes (which I tried once or twice in college) because you aren't supposed to bring the smoke into your lungs, but the tobacco taste is not at all pleasant, and the having smoke even just in my mouth isn't really fun and still made me cough.
  15. Shoot a 9 mm handgun. Ok we are 0-for-3 the last several days. I've tried skeet shooting with a 22 handgun and rifle and wasn't enamored of the experience, but didn't hate it the way that I really hated shooting the 9 mm. I found this bigger piece was just too intimidating for me. The sound, the explosion of fire from the barrel, and the spent brass that spews out were all so frightening that I didn't even notice the kick (although I assume it was significant since even the 22 recoil is a bit much). If there is a zombie apocalypse, I'm a goner!
  16. Use extended warranty to get a new fridge. Most financial experts say that purchasing an extended warranty plan is a waste of money. And for most smaller electronics, I'm inclined to agree. But we bought 2 extra years of coverage when we bought our fridge 3 years ago, and when it started to make a weird sound 6 months ago, I was glad we did. We called the service number and they cheerfully agreed to send someone out to check on the noise. He said it was probably a filter problem and urged me to replace it which I did. But the noise continued so I called again. The second guy thought it was a problem of water pressure. So I had the building maintenance team check it out. The water pressure was fine and the noise continued. And so it went for 6 months, with each repairman insisting that it wasn't a problem they needed to fix for some reason or another. Most recently, I was told that it was a normal noise - just Freon moving through the tubes - and that it had always been there since we bought it but I must not have noticed it for the first 2 1/2 years. Interestingly, the click of Freon moving through the tubes isn't one of the dozen or so sounds the manual lists as "normal." So we went back to the retailer and asked for a replacement. They agreed and I expect the new fridge on Wednesday. I'm still a little skeptical that the ending will be completely happy... we'll know in a few days.
  17. Explain to YS why I disapprove of swearing. Since he says he's never heard my harangue about the evils of bad language, here are my reasons for encouraging my kids to keep it clean: 1. Swearing is often inappropriate - e.g. school, interviews, websites that result in search for your name, etc. - and can prevent you from having opportunities. 2. Cursing shows a lack of creativity - lots of other words serve as synonyms and can be used for emphasis. 3. Gratuitous use of swear words makes you seem less intelligent and less educated. 4. Using profanity shows lack of respect - it demonstrates that you don't care enough to control yourself. 5. Swearing can be hurtful - such as calling someone illegitimate, questioning their manhood, etc. 6. Cursing can be habit-forming - then you may slip up to someone who is offended; or the swears may not be as effective as an emphatic, or as a pain/stress reducer. 7. Bad language is bad manners - it makes people uncomfortable, both the bodily function words and the profane. 8. In some cases, you can get into serious trouble (see the history of "dirty words" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_dirty_words).
  18. Volunteer at MS graduation. I'm considerably less involved in my sons' schools than I used to be. At one point I was president of the PTA and knew everything that was going on. No longer. When my OS moved into middle school, he made it clear that he didn't want me around as much; I gradually withdrew from the leadership of my YS's K-8 school as other demands on my time became more persistent. But when the invitation to help out with 8th graduation appeared in my in-box, it seemed like the perfect time to get involved again. My volunteer effort isn't without self-interest, of course: YS will be graduating next spring, so I got a good preview of what to expect (the girls looked beautiful and sophisticated in their dresses; the boys seemed awkward and uncomfortable in their suits; the MS chorus sounded great, especially in their rendition of Pharrell Williams' "Happy"; a good photo slideshow with pics from the last 9 years is guaranteed to bring laughter and tears; having an after-party onsite, open to all, makes the event more festive).
  19. Apply for a writing job. I've struggled since college to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I've drifted through a number of corporate and entrepreneurial ventures, liking some more than others, but for one reason or another, always moving on to something else. One constant has been that many of my most satisfying accomplishments throughout my worklife have involved producing a written product or promotional materials. So I'm searching for work as a writer and applied for my first job as such.
  20. Be a Linkedin coach. I've been on LinkedIn  for several years and even managed a corporate page and group as part of a social media gig, but I still feel a bit like a newbie most days. So it ironic that I found myself coaching someone else through setting up a page and establishing contacts.
  21. Take a self-guided tour of B.C. Pretty campus, but I can't say I (or OS) fell in love with it to the degree that it overcame other misgivings we had about the suitability of the program for him.
  22. Take a personalized tour of B.U. So fun to see the campus through my niece's eyes.
  23. Buy an Isaac Mizrahi purse. I've long loved his style, color-sense, and overall pizzazz. Back when he was designing for Target, I purchased a few things, but now am looking for something a bit more upmarket. Got the bag on sale (online of course!). I hope I adore it as much as I think I will!
  24. Get organized with command hooks. Since getting my new shelves in my laundry/utility closet, I've been determined to keep it as attractive and organized as my bedroom closet. For starters, I put everything away neatly in bins. Then I bought color-coordinated mop/broom/dustpan. And finally, I used nifty command hooks so it is easy to hang the mop/broom/dustpan in its place.
  25. Get ready to write. Gotta get serious about my writing, so I am both querying agents and reading writing tips to push me to sticking with my 1000+ words/day goal.
  26. Start learning Italian at Duolingo.com. Speaking Italian has long been on my life list, and this web site has an easy step-by-step format.
  27. Eat roasted radishes and passion fruit. I've never really liked radishes but I thought that maybe if I cooked them, it would be different. It wasn't. But passion fruit juice sure is tasty over vanilla ice cream!
  28. Try Mango Nectarines. These look like green nectarines; they taste like melon - sweet and juicy. I also checked out Last.fm as another way to listen to music online; it is different from my favorite, Rhapsody, in that it shows videos and builds a "radio station" based on what you like.
  29. Visit Governors Island. Ever since this former Army base and Coast Guard station was acquired by NY State and NYC and opened to the general public, I've been interested in taking the ferry over for a look. So today we did. Fascinating history and wonderful transformation into a park. Bonus: stopped by the National Museum of the American Indian.
  30. Sell photos on stock sites. I've long thought I should try to monetize content that we retained ownership of after selling our web site. Uploading some pix to BigStock is a first step.
Want learn about all the new things I've tried this year? See my lists from JanuaryFebruary, MarchApril and May.

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