Friday, September 18, 2009

List 2.0!

Here's my new list. It's shorter than the previous one, but maybe that means I'll hit a higher percentage overall in the end. It took me a while to publish this. I've actually already accomplished a couple of things (going to Berkeley Springs and canning salsa). Maybe I'll hit a higher percentage of accomplishments this time around.

By July 14, 2011:

1. Take a trip to a country outside of North America
2. Go fruit picking
3. Plant a row for the hungry
4. Get a manicure/pedicure
5. Shoot a gun
6. Can my own salsa
7. Go camping
8. Bake bread
9. Take pictures with the SLR camera and print at least two of my own pictures to hang in our house
10. Visit 2 new national parks I haven't seen before
11. Tour 2 breweries I haven't been to before
12. Go to Berkeley Springs, WV
13. Complete a sewing project
14. Do a scotch tasting
15. Eat oysters
16. Complete four landscaping projects
17. Take another trip with friends
18. Write a personal email to catch up with friends at least once a month
19. See a movie at AFI Silver
20. Make our house more energy efficient
21. Brew beer
22. Go back to Wolf Trap to see a concert and have a picnic
23. Learn basic bicycle repair
24. Sleep under the stars somewhere without a lot of light pollution.
25. Obtain a graduate certificate or take at least three graduate-level courses toward another degree.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

The traditional gift for the two-year anniversary is cotton and the modern gift is china. What's the post-modern gift? Goal-attainment.

Well, my two year wedding anniversary is in two days. I suppose I need to account for how my list went.

Overall, I had some good adventures these past couple of years. The list gave me things to look forward to and pushed me to try to do things I wouldn't normally do at times. I'd say there was more excitement for the list at first and that has waned as time went on, however. It was also easier to focus on the list for the first few months when I didn't have a full-time job. I don't know if two years was a good time frame or not. It did take me a while to achieve some of the things on the list, so I suppose it needed to be longer than a year or a few months.

I estimate that I have completed 72-80% of the the things on my list, depending on how credit is given. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Maybe it's average?

Here are some of the things that weren't completed:
4. Write a song
I did start a few times. I recorded a guitar riff I had made up onto my computer. I wrote myself a few little ideas for lyrics. It never came together.

5. Go canoeing.
I went tubing a couple of times instead. I would still like to get out in a canoe at some point, however. I wonder if it's more common to canoe in Wisconsin than out here on the East Coast.

6. Visit either Mexico or the Caribbean
I think I put this on the list thinking Jake and I might do one of these for our honeymoon. However, I did go on the Costa Rica trip. That was cool.

14. Learn to tell five more good jokes
I'm not entirely sure why this didn't happen. I only count learning one more joke in two years. That's pretty pathetic. Maybe my sense of humor isn't broad enough to find a lot of things funny. I read through jokes trying to think if I even considered them funny and mostly I didn't. Someone tell me a funny joke so I can memorize it!

17. Gain the upper body strength to do a pull-up
I'm pretty sure I thought this was not going to happen even as I wrote it into my list.

18. Stop being overweight.
As of last summer, I had lost 10 lbs. since the start of the list which was pointed out to me at a doctor's appointment. However, since last summer, I gained it all back. Eh, oh well.

24. See at least 5 new states I haven’t visited before
I wound up short one state. I thought I was going to get to go to Arizona on a helicopter ride, but because of flight delays out to Vegas I had to miss that. I also briefly thought that I'd get to go to Georgia for work, but that didn't happen either.

33. Write either my Congressman or Senator at least 3 times about issues I care about (using my own words, not form emails)
Yup, just didn't do this.

34. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine
I think I may have started once or twice. Huh, I wonder why I haven't been able to get fired up enough about anything to do this.

35. Go to another continent besides North America
Again, just didn't happen. I really need more vacation time. And, you know, more money.

These are some things that are questionable as to whether I completed:
25. Throw a dinner party
We did have a party at our house where we invited over a bunch of people, I made a couple of salads, and we grilled. I'm not sure if this counts as a "dinner party". I suppose it might.

40. Trace Jake’s and my ancestry at least back to Europe on each side to have a family tree for our children
After our wedding, I did pull together most of this. We have it in a booklet in our house. It's good enough for now, I suppose.

39. Make Jake go to see a musical with me
Jake and I are seeing a musical on July 17th, which is three days after our actual anniversary. However, it is also in celebration of our anniversary, so maybe it can count?

47. Go to a book signing and get a signed copy of a book
I've been to a couple of book talks/signings since I made the list. I even stood there while Jake got a signed copy of a book by Amy Goodman for his mom. But, I didn't do anything to get my own signed copy of a book.

Some of the things on my list I wound up doing more than once. I saw a couple of shows at the Birchmere and I hiked in Great Falls on two separate occasions. I suppose I don't get double credit for those things.

So, what's next? I'm in the process of making another list. I have a few ideas I'm working on and hopefully I'll publish that soon. It'll probably be for another two-year time frame. I'm open to suggestions. What's something awesome I should do before 2011?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Fertility Rates by Education Level

I just read that women in Ethiopia who haven't gone to school have an average of six children, while the women who have a secondary education have two children. This made me wonder what the stats are for women in the US. I'd definitely think that women with less education probably tend to have more kids, but how many more? I asked Jake what he thought the difference was, and his initial response was that he thought that women with a high school diploma probably have, on average, 1 more kid than women with a bachelor's. I wonder if it is even that high...That difference of four kids in Ethiopia is incredibly high. I suppose that was surprising.

I'm not sure where to look up number of kids by education level in the United States. Does anyone have suggestions about places to look? I sort of doubt that it's within Census information at all. It'd be a bit tricky to get accurate information on this. The numbers might change generationally, and a final number of children couldn't be calculated until a woman has finished her reproductive years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Worlds are colliding.

Some days (a lot of days actually), I think I have too many worlds colliding.  I think I need to try to stop having that happen so much.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April has pretty much flown by...

It feels like the month just started and now all of the sudden it's the 30th. Yeah, my age went up by a year at the start of the month and that hasn't even registered with me. I'm trying to think what even happened this month.

We did have plenty of visitors this month and got plenty of baseball in as well, I suppose. My parents were here at the beginning of the month. We saw an exhibition game at the Nationals Stadium with them. Last weekend, Maria and Rexx came to stay with us. We took a drive up to Baltimore with them to see an Orioles game at Camden Yards.

We got to a few things out in the yard and garden. We bought a push mower thinking that we'd use that for our yard, but that turned out to be a lot of work. So, we wound up getting the riding lawnmower left behind by our house's previous residents repaired so that we could cut our grass. Jake spent a ton of time planting arborvitaes along one of our fence lines one weekend. Maria told me that arborvitae means "tree of life", which she thinks comes from some stranded explorers needing to subsist on eating tree bark at one point in time.

We got a patio set for outside. We grilled twice this month. Once on our own and once with Maria and Rexx. Yeah, I'm ready to get some use out of the outdoor area at our house.

I think the dog put on four pounds in the last month. Should that concern me? I'm pretty sure she was a healthy weight when we got her, so I'm afraid I've been overfeeding/underexercising her. We have a vet appointment for her on Monday, so I suppose that is one thing I can ask about when we go in. We never did get her medical records from the animal rescue league, even though we've been bothering them to send them. I hope she's not going to have to get a whole bunch of shots or something when we take her in.

Huh. I guess when I sit down to think about it, a lot has actually happened this April. Well, I got my blog entry in for the month! I guess I need to make my May Day plans for tomorrow now!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We have a new member of our family!

Here's our new dog! She's a hound/beagle mix we've named Lainey:

Also, I started a new blog. It's called Dose of Cute. You all should send me things to include on it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How much is that doggie in the window?

It's been a struggle to adopt a dog. It's starting to feel like we're in some sort of competition where judges are looking to eliminate us.

One of first steps we took toward our dog search was showing up at an adoption event at Petco about a month ago. It was totally chaotic. There were people and dogs everywhere. It was not clear who was a volunteer and who wasn't. We did finally track down a volunteer who told us that if we were interested in a dog at the event, we needed to fill out an application and a vet check, sit down for separate interviews, set up a home visit, sign a contract in blood, etc., etc. At that point, we decided that we weren't ready to do all the paperwork or anything, especially since we didn't have a particular dog in mind.

So, we've followed up by looking online for dogs that look interesting. Jake has sent out several emails and has also filled out a couple of applications. He hasn't even had a response to some of his emails. One place in Maryland rejected our application. They didn't even tell Jake why at first. Jake just got a response that basically just said, "Nope, you are rejected." So, Jake followed up and asked about it and they responded that it was because Jake said on the application that our backyard fence is four feet high. They said that it needed to be at least five feet high or the dog might be able to get out.

Then, we saw this dog, named "Joey":

Jake filled out an application, and we got a response to come to the next adoption event to meet him. We showed up, and the volunteers there told us we needed to wander around to try to find him ourselves. When we did find the dog, a couple and their teenage son were also there looking at the dog. We walked up and said that we had filled out the paperwork for Joey online. The family that was there said that they had also filled out the forms. They then launched into a story about how their terrier had recently passed away. The son was kneeling down on the ground with his camera phone, flashing Joey a picture of their previous dog. The volunteer standing around told us that Joey was very hesitant, has a lot of separation anxiety, and would do best in a house with another dog. Well, Jake and I did say that we both work and couldn't be at home with the dog all day long. The other family brought up that the husband had a home office and Joey could just curl up by his feet all day long. It seemed as though the volunteer was trying to steer us away from going through with the rest of the application process. It did feel pretty hopeless with this other family standing right there trying to sound like a better fit the whole time. Joey does have a brother, who had just received medical attention the same week we went in. We didn't go through the whole interview process for Joey, because it seemed pretty futile to us. We said we'd wait to see when Joey's brother becomes available, which the volunteers seemed to think would be in a week or two. It's been two weeks, we've sent follow-up emails, and haven't heard anything back from the animal rescue team. So, yeah, I think we've been rejected from the dog adoption an email saying "You have been rejected" pretty much does sum it up. I think if we get another one of those emails, our next step is just to drive to West Virginia or Kentucky and pick up a dog from the side of the road somewhere.