101 in 1001 Update: 8 Down, Lots More to Go!

Recently, I started the "101 in 1001" challenge, which you can read more about here.  I will be posting updates every few months on my progress, and thought this weekend would be a good time to do that!  Since my first post, I have gotten 8 of my to-do list items down, and started a whole bunch more.  It feels good to check things off the list!  Read on for all the gorey/ awesome details, and to see my list again.  Still looking for help on a few of these :)

1. Learn how to play chess.

2. Go to a book signing.

3. Submit a photo or spread to a magazine.

4. Cook a four course meal…without poisoning anyone eating it.

5. Take a Jasmine Star workshop.

6. Smoke a Cuban cigar… because deep down I am a 75 year old man.

7. Trace the Irish roots of my name and see if I have any relatives still living in Ireland.

8. Get a massage.  I have never had one before and I imagine they are very enjoyable.

9. Start an antique camera collection for decoration.

10. Read the Bible.

11. Learn how to use a round brush.  I am seriously challenged when it comes to hand/ hair coordination, and I think it would really help my bouffant.

12. Stay at a bed and breakfast.

13. Go to a driving range with my Dad and try not to humiliate myself too much.

14. Leave 100% tip for a great server.

15. Write 10 “just because” letters to friends or family. (0/10)

16. Write a love letter.

17. Collect every Paul Simon album, cause the man is pretty much the bees knees.

18. Watch the sun set over the ocean, stay up all night talking, and watch the sun rise at another spot close by.  This might be tricky because it means that someone will have to put up with me for a solid 10 hours, but I’ll put it down anyways.

19. Bring flowers to the cemetery once a month for the length of the challenge. (1/33)

20. Volunteer photography services for at least 5 charities (2/5)

21. Register to vote (I know, I know…. I am a little tardy to the party, but better late than never right?)

The last week in May I headed over to the town hall and registered myself to vote.  There was really no excuse for me not being registered before (okay, there was- pure laziness, but my parents always tell me that’s not ACTUALLY an excuse) and was really swayed when Obama was elected.  To see this historic moment happen in my lifetime, and to know that I had absolutely NOTHING to do with it really made me feel like a huge schmuck.  Really, just a huge, ginormous loser.  So I registered myself as a Democrat and will vote at the next election!  It was kind of awkward a few days later when I was telling my family I finally registered, and my uncle says “Thank God!  Another person to help us battle these Democrats.”  UNCOMFORTABLE.

22. Plant a garden of Gerber daisies.

23. Finish at least 3 scrapbooks for myself (0/3)

24. Update my resume and change the formatting so it looks bad-ass.  And by that I mean more professional.

I have wanted to update my resume, for, like, ever.  No joke, it was the same format as the one they helped me make in the Career Services of BSC when I was a junior in college.  That was 7 years ago and I WORK AT A STAFFING AGENCY.  My resume should at least be as good looking as the candidates we get, if not better because of all the resources I have.  But I put off asking my boss because I didn’t want her to think I was quitting or something.  Finally I broke down and asked her to help me with the re-formatting, after countless assurances that I wouldn’t quit and run off to Vegas and become a showgirl (although it does sound tempting… and I guess I wouldn’t even need a resume for that right?).  Anyways, she helped me and now I love the formatting.  It looks much more professional and maybe it will help me get a job easier when I move to Vermont in 2 years!

25. Commission one piece of artwork from Mark Gallagher.

26. Read an entire newspaper from front to back.

27. Wash and clean the interior and exterior of my car.

28. Take a writing class.

29. Buy a GPS, so I can stop being the cool kid with the Mapquest directions strewn about my vehicle.

Oh dear Lord.  The drama of my trip to Best Buy.  Okay, so my sister and I bought my mom a computer for Mother’s Day, so she can troll though EHarmony and Match.com on her own hardware and not mine :)  So I was planning on getting just the computer and a GPS for myself.  But then…. I wandered a little ways into the TV on DVD aisle and saw that every season of Law and Order: SVU was on sale for $20.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  Do you know how many hours of Elliot Stabler that is?  I immediately loaded my arms with each season they had (which was 6 seasons…blast them for not having them all… and yes I just said blast) and headed to the register…. Only while I was on my way over there, I figured it’s not like I’m not already racking up a credit card bill here… why not a few more DVD’s?  So long story short (too late) my total bill at Best Buy was a whopping $967.83… but I now have a GPS I loooooove and no more Mapquest directions littering my car!

30. Go to a tarot card reader.

31. Walk the entire Freedom Trail.

32. Write to my favorite singer, actor and author to tell them how they have inspired me. (0/3)

33. Go on a first date… and maybe that will lead to a second?

34. Learn how to bake muffins or cupcakes.  I’m a good baker, but basically anything in tins has eluded me up until now.

35. Have a girls night with my sister and stepsister and try to get to know them better.

36. Learn at least one really funny joke.  The last one I was able to retain was in 3rd grade, and isn’t really funny to twenty-somethings.  Or even 3rd graders, I’m sure.

37. Complete photo project of Southie.

38. Purchase small business insurance.

39. Celebrate one Festivus- complete with pole and the Airing of Grievances.

40. Create a mosaic mirror.

41. Make a funky necklace that I can actually wear.

42. Volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas at a local soup kitchen.

43. Complete 3 Better Photo online courses (0/3)

44. Take my mom out to dinner “just cause”.

45. Have my old sorority shirts made into a quilt.  I don’t chide myself into thinking I could ever sew something likes this myself, but just the simple task of getting them together and finally getting this done is enough for me.

50. Save $5,000 before moving to Vermont.

51. Join a book club.

52. Have a bonfire and toast marshmallows over the old memories I don’t need anymore:)

53. Go white water rafting in Maine or Vermont.

54. Go skiing again.  I used to be really good, then I got cocky and went down a black diamond at about 100 miles an hour and broke my arm in 7 places, and I never went back.  Would really like to get over the fear and at least try a bunny hill or something.

55. Tell myself I am beautiful at least once a week… and BELIEVE IT.

56. Go to a comedy show and laugh out loud with my friends.  Jenn, I see Harrison Stebbins in our future:)

57. Try fifteen different kinds of martinis (3/15)

58. Work on New England photography project.

59. Drink Moonshine.  My relatives in Tennessee have already agreed to help me with this when I go down in July  :)

60. Add song lyrics to my tattoo.

61. Have my contracts reviewed by a lawyer.

62. Pay a toll for a stranger.

I laugh just thinking about this one.  It was a Sunday night and I was heading back from a fabulous, amazing weekend at Jenn’s wedding.  Seriously, one of the most perfect weekends of my life, so I was still on a high.  I decided it would be a perfect time for a random act of kindness, and when I got off the Mass Pike at the West Springfield exit I decided to give the toll-taker a $10, even though my total was only $2.  He was a younger guy on his cell phone (clearly very committed to his job) and I asked if it would be okay to pay for a couple of people behind me.  He barely looked at me and said “How many cars are with you?”  I said “None.”  This started to get his attention and he said “Well who are you paying for?”  And I said “However many people $8 will buy.”  There was a blank stare.  You could actually hear a girl from his cell phone being like “What’s going on?  Where’d you go?”  A good 10 seconds go by and he says “So wait, you’re just being nice?  I don’t get it.” HAHA.  I told him yes, I am just being nice, so please let whoever this covers through.  He said he would and I proceeded on my way.  Now, this random act of kindness would have gone off PERFECTLY had it not been for the idiot who was blocking my ramp, talking to another car.  I tried to wait, I really did.  But who blocks an on-ramp to a highway right off the Pike?!?!  I was really doing them a favor by honking.  They could have been rammed by a big truck and killed!  So I mean I guess you could count that as two random acts of kindness?  Okay fine, I feel like I cancelled out my good act with a bad one, so I may have to pay another toll for someone else, but it was still a funny way to end the weekend.

63. Send a birthday card to 5 different people I have fallen out of touch with. (0/5)

64. Go to a clam or lobster bake.  Kind of sad that this would be like a life goal, but really I’ve never been and can’t imagine anything better in the summer than good seafood and beers with my friends on the ocean somewhere.

65. Make a Christmas tree ornament.  I own about 300 but have never attempted a homemade one.

66. Read 5 books that have won either the Pulitzer Prize or the Nobel Peace Prize. (1/5)

67. Photograph someone who has inspired me.

68. See three musicals that I’ve never seen (aka I need to stop seeing Rent, Sound of Music and Phantom of the Opera REPEATEDLY every year) (1/3)

69. Go horseback riding.  I haven’t been since I was 11 and got the worst hay fever EVER.  I really need to get back in the saddle again…pun totally intended.

70. Go to the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  I have literally been to Vermont every summer since I was in the womb, and I have never been there.  It is a travesty.  Especially since I have this image of Christopher Plummer working as the concierge, and it just makes me want to go there even more.

71. Take 3 photography workshops or seminars. (0/3)

72. Make at least 5 new wedding albums to show clients. (0/5)

73. Spend a summer day antiquing, garage saling, and flea marketing for some cheap finds.  And yes, I just turned flea marketing into a verb.  Cause that’s how I roll.

75. Change old picture frames out with new pictures.  Sounds ridiculous, but I literally still have some picture frames filled with pictures from my high school prom.  It’s a problem.

I finally hunkered down and went through all my pictures taken in the past 3 years.  I picked my favorites and ordered them on Snapfish, and even ordered some of the whole bridal party from Jenn’s wedding!  I haven’t gotten the wedding ones yet, but everything else is already changed out and I am no longer staring at pictures of myself from my prom- yay!

76. Take a trip to the Harpoon brewery in Vermont.  I’ve been a “Friend of Harpoon” for four years and have yet to visit anywhere except the Boston brewery.  Some friend I am.

77. Watch every Anne of Green Gables movie.  You can stop judging me now.

78. Go swimming on New Year’s Day at the L Street Bath House.

79. Buy a Cape Cod bracelet.  I have always wanted one and think they’re gorgeous but have just never gotten around to getting one.  No time like the present!

DONE and DONE!  Quite literally, since I bought 2 :)  As I have mentioned a million times, the weekend of Jenn’s wedding was quite simply amazing.  No boy drama, lots of fun with friends, and a beautiful couple promising to love each other (and the Celtics) forever… what could be more perfect?  We stayed in Plymouth the weekend of the wedding, and by the time we left the Cabby Shack on Sunday afternoon, I knew I wanted to buy my first Cape Cod bracelet immediately to commemorate the weekend.  What started out as a simple search lead to an all out detective-style hunt for a Cape Cod bracelet, but Amy and I finally found one at Miller’s General Store, right below Isaac’s where we had Jenn’s bridal shower!  I thought that would be my only one for awhile, if not forever, but then the very next weekend I was back in the Cape for another great weekend, and I couldn’t resist.  My friend Derek and I were walking around P-Town when we passed Christof’s, a high-end jewelry boutique that Amy had told me about.  Right in the front, they had a table full of Cape Cod jewelry, all 25% off.  Um helllllo?  Clearly I could not pass this up.  So I left poor Derek outside (at least I had left him with my German roasted nuts from the Nut House…. yuuuuummmm heaven) and I went in and mulled over my second Cape Cod bracelet.  My choice was a little pricey but I honestly love it, and it looks so good with my first one.  And not even a week later, I got a CARD from Christof’s thanking me for my purchase.  For real?  Cutest thing EVER.  But I still want to go to Eden's and get a bracelet as well... if I am going to have collection I have to make sure I have an original!!!

80. Attend a photography exhibit.

81. Take iron for a week and then donate blood.

82. Find a photography mentor.

83. Bring in donuts/ coffee for co-workers, along with a note for each one telling them why I appreciate them.

84. Attend church every Sunday for a month.

85. Pop some champagne, light some candles, and take a bubble bath.  Alone.  Sexy, I know.

86. Go to a Cape Cod League baseball game.

87. Take Lola for a hike.

89. Go strawberry picking and make fresh strawberry shortcake (and by that I mean the dessert AND the drink…. yummmmm)

90. Take a “me” day and organize my life: get rid of stuff I don’t need, catch myself up on photo editing and archiving, catch up with all the people I wish I could talk to more, etc.  End the day feeling relaxed and rejuvenated that I was so productive.

91. Have a girls wine and cheese night at the Melting Pot.

92. Go to Canal Street in NYC for a new knock-off bag.

Dear Canal Street,  I love you, in all your glorious sketchiness.  Love, Me.   (end of love letter)  The first weekend in May I headed to NYC to visit my friend Michelle before she moves back to Israel, and it was a great weekend in the city.  I can’t tell you how much fun we had dancing til all hours of the night at the Joshua Tree and taking pictures around the city.  When I first arrived on Saturday we headed straight to Canal to get me a new bag.  And by that I mean 3 new bags.  Okay, okay, so I went a little crazy, but I LOVE CANAL STREET.  Honestly, The sketchy people, the sketchy knock-offs, the sketchy vans and back rooms that hold those knock-offs….it’s always like a little adventure when I go there.  It’s so funny to me because anywhere else in the world, you would run if someone tried to get you to get inside their van or go to a dark backroom in the basement of a shop.  But Canal Street?  No problem, please lead me down to this dark alley, sketchy man!  Oh, you want me to get into this scary, beat-up van with no windows?  Sure, why not!  This time I got three Coach knock-offs for myself and a Louis for my stepmom.  A very productive trip, if I do say so myself!

93. Take at least 5 landscape photos that I am proud enough of to put on the wall.

94. Finish at least the “biographies” section of my book project.

95. Attend a film or book festival.

96. Use a Christmas-y picture I have taken myself for my Christmas cards.

97. E-mail one photographer per month to compliment their work and introduce myself. (0/33)

98. Participate in a day of drinking with friends, for no particular reason except that it’s Saturday and we’re happy to be alive!

99. Ride on a train.  I’ve never been on one before!

At the end of the my NYC weekend, I headed to Penn Station for my train back to West Springfield.  I have been on the subway a million times, but I wanted to take an actual train ride, with seats and a food car and all that fun stuff.  And honestly, the train did not disappoint.  Compared to the sketchy bus ride to the city, which included a toothless man who kept telling me I was gorgeous (p.s. I was in my pajamas), the train was like the mecca of all transportation.  I can’t tell you how nice people were.  I didn’t have to lift my bag once (thank god, since for two days in NYC I had packed enough for a year abroad) and the middle-aged man next to me was literally the nicest man alive.  Halfway through the train ride home, I was reading my book in the dimming light, and he reached over and said “I’m sorry miss, it’s the father in me- do you mind if I turn on your reading light?  You’ll kill your eyes that way.”  Um PRECIOUS.  All in all, the train was a great experience, and I can’t even describe the view of the sun setting over the city as we left the station.  It was breathtaking.  Have you ever had a moment where you just close your eyes and pray that you can always remember what you just saw or did, that you can always remember just how you felt in that moment?  Seeing the city in the perfect sunlight was one of those moments for me.  Incredible.

100. For every task I don’t complete, I will donate $20 to the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund.

101. For every task I do complete, I will save $10 for my trip to Europe.

I was also able to start a couple of my 101 things this past month as well.  I brought flowers to the cemetery (#19), which I want to get better at doing, even after this 101 thing is over.  When I was in Cape Cod visiting Derek, we went to the Wellfleet flea market, and I spotted an antique camera that I was so excited about.  It turned out it was a movie camera, which wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but for $3 I thought it couldn’t hurt.  So technically, that was my start to #9 :)  I was most excited about starting #20, volunteering for 5 charities.  The first one I signed up for is OpLove, which I blogged about here.  I cannot wait for my first OpLove session- I have been wanting to give back to military families for so long now, so I am excited to have the chance to do it in my own way.  I also volunteered for Rays of Hope, a walk supporting a cure for breast cancer.  The walk is in October, but I will be photographing rally events a few times this summer leading up to photographing the actual walk.  I am so excited to be part of Rays of Hope.  Having a stepmom who is a survivor and having an aunt going through treatment right now, I feel very close to this cause and I am so excited to meet more amazing women at these events.

I also started #57, and have tried 3 different kinds of martinis.  The first was at the Outback, where I tried a blueberry martini.  Nothing too exciting about it but it was my first blueberry, so it counts!  I also tried an Orange Sunrise in NYC, which was so strong Avi had to finish it for me (weak, I know) and a cucumber martini at Jenn’s rehearsal dinner that was PURE GIN.  I started reading my Nobel Peace Prize/ Pulitzer books (#66), beginning with Angela’s Ashes.  What an AMAZING memoir.  I can’t believe that I hadn’t read this book before, given my penchant for reading about Irish suffering, but this book was unbelievable; tragic and moving while still being heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny in some parts (Question Quigley... loooooooved him!).  I didn’t want to put it down, and I immediately picked up the sequel ‘Tis (another flea market find for $2!).  I also picked out the other 4 books that I am going to read to complete #66.  I started #68 by seeing The Lion King on Broadway with Michelle and Avi.  It was awesome but I think I am definitely more interested in “people” drama than animals :)  I felt like I would have appreciated it a lot more at 10 years old, but of course, anything on Broadway is amazing.  I also started #97 and have e-mailed two photographers recently introducing myself and complimenting their work!