Thursday, June 5, 2014

Trying Something New - May

You'd think that five months into this project I would have a better handle about what works and what doesn't in making sure that I always try a "new thing" each day. And yet you'd be wrong.

Taking a look at the original list of ideas that I composed when I conceived this project, I can see that if I don't plan better, I'm going to have a lot of little, opportunistic "new things" that just sort of happened, but not as many of the more meaningful things that I think I'd really like to try at least once. I hope to continue to enjoy the occasional recognition that yes, I did a little something differently and that's good, but mostly focus much harder on achieving things that are really and truly "new."
  1. Send B to college. OK right now it is just for the summer; he was officially accepted into a great program at UPenn today. But I am starting to think about what our empty nest will look like; that will truly be a "new thing." 
  2. Oops! Not sure I did anything new.
  3. Polished all the little silver pieces. I regularly polish (or pay someone to polish) the tea set, various silver frames and even the silver-plate flatware. But a few lackadaisical attempts at spiffing up the heavily tarnished doodads like the set of blue and white porcelain-fragment boxes and vintage salt & pepper shakers had all but convinced me that these pieces were destined to wear the patina of time forever. But today I really put some effort into getting the shine back (scrubbing hard and even using q tips) and I was rewarded with like-new pieces.
  4. Make a new dish. Created a new recipe: chicken with pineapple salsa. Not all of my dinner-time inventions have been a success with all members of the family, but thankfully, this one was.
  5. Teach J a new trick: wave. While we were confined to K's room during the painting process, I leafed through some of the dog training books and realized this would be an easy adaptation of shaking hands, which he already does well. So with just a few attempts, he mastered this new trick.
  6. Attend a lacrosse game. I've never watched or played lacrosse but today I went to K's first game. Love that it is a fast-paced game - so much more fun than watching baseball!
  7. Rearrange kitchen counters. Putting everything away after the apartment was painted gave me a chance to rethink how I really want to get - and stay- organized in the kitchen.
  8. Have lunch with brother-in-law R. I'm really glad I dropped everything to make this happen - it was a lovely opportunity to get to know him better.
  9. Enjoy flowers on kitchen table. I am lucky that DH often brings me bouquets. Where to enjoy them the most? I usually opt for the dining room table or the foyer, but today I squeezed them onto the kitchen table to brighten up our meal.
  10. Have dinner at the Frieze Art FairI loved the fair last year and so was eager to go again. But how to make it seem new and special? How about trying their new dinner option and while there, making sure that I tried something on the menu I've never tasted before? The result: nettle crostini at Marlow & Sons (I'm not sure which of the herbaceous toppings was the nettle; mustard seed was overwhelming flavor). As before, I especially enjoyed conceptual pieces throughout the fair. This year I noticed lots of pieces with words. And an amazing  rain storm really made it obvious that we were only in a tent. 
  11. Go to the Cirque du Soleil. Just amazing.
  12. Oops! Not sure I did anything new.
  13. Use only the stairs; avoid the elevator. I think I did pretty well, considering how often J and I go in and out. The only exception was when the building staff was mopping staircase and asked me to take the elevator instead.
  14. Be spontaneous. I'm trying to stay out of the same old, same old rut. So when E invited me to join her for dinner (a spur of the moment thing) I gladly said yes and was glad I did.
  15. Learn something new. An email from a friend made me wonder and so I did a little research and yes, the Bronx Science mascot is Wolverines.
  16. Get a new hairstyle. I've now got side-swept bangs like Reese Witherspoon.
  17. Run the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Running a half marathon in each of the five boroughs has long been on my life list. I've done Manhattan, now Brooklyn, and hope to run Staten Island in the fall.
  18. Explore Huntsman Hall. There have been a fair amount of changes since we were at Wharton. This lovely new building is one of the most obvious.
  19. Go solo to cocktail party. DH joined me at the last moment, but I was glad that I was brave enough to plan to go alone.
  20. Talk openly about college counselors. I'm determined to make this a less shameful topic, so when asked (even ever so subtly) by other parents I vow to volunteer who we're using and how we chose them, as I did today.
  21. Cash in GC from Horchow. I've always been pretty lucky - and today I got to use some new winnings to buy pretty things for our apartment.
  22. Go to bed before dinner. I doubt I ever even did this as a child, never mind as an adult, when missing the evening meal required letting family fend for themselves. But I was unbelievably tired and hoped to make a fast recovery from the bug that ailed me.
  23. Wonder if I'm losing my memory. I've had occasional "senior moments" for years, but I still can't believe I unwittingly duplicated a Father's Day gift to DH. Usually I put such though into these - and keep better track. Thankfully, I caught the error before the big day, but it still makes me worry...
  24. Style bedroom bookcase. For years, we just stuffed books into our big bookcases, so today I made them look attractive using my collection of blue/white porcelain pieces as well as bits of red to echo the window treatments (which coordinated with the rug we got rid of).
  25. Try an acupuncture trick to increase energy. It is said that if you rub the edges of your ears between two fingers from the very top all the way to the bottom a few times, you will increase your energy and enhance your sense of wakefulness. Apparently, this is related to the idea that in traditional Chinese medicine, the upper part of the body is associated with more active energies. Did it work? Maybe not as much as doing some jumping jacks, but possibly more than a cuppa joe.
  26. Listen to friend's radio interview. Fascinating stuff - and something to consider as I attempt to promote my own projects.
  27. Hang prints 57 inches from the floor. Will do this for everything I put up post-painting; and will go back and rehang other things that are too high.
  28. Try to banish all negative thoughts. These tips helped. 
  29. Ask for help. Too often, I try to go it on my own. I seem to have internalized my parents' opinion that independence and self-reliance was prized over many other attributes, although even as I follow their lead, I can see how foolish it is to always be re-inventing the wheel yourself. So when I received the happy news that I am now the parent of football captain, I reached out to a mom who also held that position to ask for advice.
  30. Create a To-Do list. I've long relied on these for specific events and projects, but I've now started a comprehensive list of everything, big and small, that I have going on in an attempt to ensure it all gets done.
  31. Drink a Limocello shot at a 30th reunion party. Great celebration; head-aching aftermath.
Want to learn about all the new things I've tried this year? See my lists from JanuaryFebruary, March and April.

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