Sunday, August 1, 2010
List Update -- So Much to Do, So Little Time
When I was in graduate school I read both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. They both bothered me a lot, though I couldn't say exactly why. Now thirty-seven New Things into my list later I think I have some evidence to articulate an argument that Rand is wrong. I think self-reliance is overrated (and we Americans WAY overestimate our capacities in that regard anyway), and there's nothing wrong with asking for help to learn something new, or exploring the world with others. I've spent the last half-year doing exactly that, and I am happy to report that I have a debt of favors a mile long, but it's matched with a ton of great memories and shared experiences. And front and center in my indebtedness column are Leah and Siham, with whom I collectively came up with the idea of 52 New Things. Since we started talking about it back in late October, we've been getting together at least every couple of months to compare lists, update each other and figure out new fun things to add.
The weekend before I flew to Scotland was one of our summer meet-ups and, on top of having a fabulous time, we did some overhauling and what follows is the list update. First, I should note that the two of them made a great suggestion that I happily agreed with, which is to extend the list "year" to February 28, 2011. That's the anniversary of our first collective trip, to Bar Harbor to see the sunrise at the earliest point on the east coast. It's also when Leah and Siham formalized their lists. AND extending the date opens up all kinds of fun winter possiblities, so I think it's an all-around marvelous idea.
So, what I've done below as the first list (without comments, since every one of them has a post) are the 37 New Things that I've done so far. They're in blue. Then I have a mixed list of uncompleted new things that are either in-process (green) or not yet begun (red). I know not all of them are going to happen, and new ideas will pop up to be added or substituted. So, the list is, as always, open for new suggestions, especially given the two additional months that just got tacked on to the "year".
Here's what's already happened:
1. Start a blog
2. Go to Nepal
3. Try rock climbing
4. Try ice climbing
5. Try snow shoe hiking
6. Learn to make fresh mozarella
7. Go cross country skiing
8. Take a Penguin Plunge
9. Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center
10. Hike Camel's Hump in all four seasons (in process -- winter and spring hiked)
11. Try skate skiing
12. See a Bar Harbor sunrise
13. Try snowboarding
14. Do a winter sport at night
15. Cook an Indian meal
16. Go downhill skiing
17. Participate in a contra dance
18. Visit the Vermont Veterans Militia Museum
19. Learn to change a bike tire
20. Learn to make a chocolate souffle
21. Visit the Washington Monument at Night
22. Take a ballet class
23. Eat a Vermonster
24. Go bird watching
25. Spend an afternoon watching car racing
26. Learn to change a car tire
27. Visit the Dominican Republic
28. Visit the Basque Block
29. Try glass blowing
30. Visit Jordan
31. Visit Jerusalem
32. Give a talk in Uganda
33. Visit Egypt
34. See a band at Nectar's and eat at Pizza on Earth
35. Go to the Rokeby Museum
36. Try haggis.
37. Go sea kayaking.
Here's what's in the works:
10. Hike Camel's Hump in all four seasons. Just had to list this one again in order to note that two awesome hikes are yet to come. For the summer hike, which had to be postponed, the plan is to go up by moonlight and back down with the sunrise. And for the fall one, my sister and brother in law and their daughter, my favorite two-year on the planet, (aka Katrinka, Brian and Tigist) are coming to town, and we'll do the hike on October 16.
38. Go punting. As my friend Lilly recently pointed out to me,"you must go punting on the Cam. That is what one does in Cambridge".
39. Go to Denmark. Another new country opportunity just begging to be taken since we'll be in England anyway to give a paper at this conference at Cambridge University.
40. Go to Sweden or Norway. If you're going to be in Denmark, doesn't it make sense to see another new country as well?
41. Drawing or painting class. Not sure when, but if I can find a shortish evening one, I'd still like to do it.
42. Power point. Still haven't gotten beyond the basics on this, and really, really should.
43. Learn to use tools. I need to find out a good way to do this. Thanks to Jamila's dad and grand-dad, I do now have a stud finder for putting nails in my walls, which is an improvement because a year ago I never heard of one.
44. Surfing. If I can find the time while the weather's still warm, Leah is still willing to line us up with equipment and lessons to try it out.
45. Bake croissants. My friend Dean is still willing to teach me, but the Back Door Bakery is temporarily closed while Dean and Patti get used to life with their wonderful new son, Henry.
46. Brew beer. Still haven't taken Dan, Derek or John up on their offers to teach me, but I plan to.
47. Star gazing. Really want to do this one, and my friend and colleague John is the perfect person to lead a session, but I need to get my act together and try to schedule it.
48. Learn to play an instrument. Don't know when or what, but it's still a possibility.
49. 24 hours in the city that never sleeps. I really, really want to do this, and there are some great students and former students who are totally up for it, but it's going to be a challenge to fit into a weekend in the late summer or early fall.
50. Go to Quebec City. Leah, Siham and I are DEFINITELY doing this one as one of our fall activities.
51. Hike Mount Washington. My friend, colleague and fellow list-maker Kristin, is willing to do this one with me (and possibly Annemieke as well), and we just need to grab two consecutive days and go.
52. Do nothing. Suggested by my former student Madison, I find this intriguing,and have also found it interesting that I haven't actually picked a day to (not) do it. But I definitely will.
53. Hike one of the 46 Adirondack Peaks over 4000 feet. The only one I've ever done is Cascade, and Ashley and Luke have both volunteered to do another with me.
54. Take a martial arts class. Maybe at the Y, maybe in Winooski. We'll see.
55. Go to Alaska. Don't know if this is going to happen or not, but Alaska is the only state I've never been to, so I'd like to if I can swing it.
56. Falconry. Still need to do some research on this one, though former student Kim thought she had a lead for me.
57. Meet-up in Latin America. The boys are still planning to do their bike through the continent and Siham and I are still planning to fly down and meet up with them. The year extension will make that easier.
58. Take a flying lesson. Don't know if I can swing it, but still very interested if I can.
59. Knit a pair of mittens. Did the first one with my sister Katrinka's help, but forgot how to do the thumb. When they come in October she can show me again.
60. Learn to say I love you in 52 languages. It's getting harder; if people know languages not already listed, help me out, please!
61. Go to a classical music concert. My talented musician friend Annemieke is on this one, and I'm sure it will happen soon.
62. Go camping in Vermont. Given the speed by which the summer is flying by, I'm thinking it might turn out to be winter camping, which could also be very cool.
63. Go dog sledding. Stole this one off my friend Kristin's list, and think it would be tons of fun.
64. Learn to do a single jump and a one-footed spin on ice skates. I've fallen woefully behind in my work on this one, but once I'm done with this trip, skating goes back to the top of my agenda.
65. Get a tattoo. Hopefully Kristin is still on board to do this one together on our shared birthday (December 10).
As I noted at the top of this post, Siham, Leah and I usually get together every few months and revise our lists, and do something on them together. So, I thought I'd put in a few photos from our get-togethers. There's one of me in my Halloween costume (I was the State of Vermont) that Leah and Siham were helping me put together the night the list idea was born. Then there's one from our trip to Cadillac Mountain on Bar Harbor to watch the sunrise, and one from their weekend visit in May to see another of our close friends, Jamila, who came to Vermont for the month of May. And there's one of Leah and I taking a break from list revising to eat ice cream on the outside deck of Das Bierhaus. The non-sequiter is a picture of Tigist wearing the dress I bought her when I was in Jordan. Couldn't resist throwing it in.
So, that's the line-up for the rest of the year as it stands right now. If you have an idea or want to participate in anything on it, please reply to this post or shoot me an email. Lots of great stuff in store for the second half of 2010!