Sunday, June 30, 2013

101 in 1001

Time for a new 101 in 1001 list! This time around, I've opted to keep the list free from my explanations. for why particular things are on the list. I'll probably go into those in more detail as each month passes, or in a yearly check-in.

This list will finish on March 27, 2016.

Without further ado:

Reading, Writing, and Watching

1) Read all of Shakespeare's works.
All's Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
The Tragedy of Coriolanus
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
The First part of King Henry the Fourth
The Second part of King Henry the Fourth
The Life of King Henry the Fifth
The First part of King Henry the Sixth
The Second part of King Henry the Sixth
The Third part of King Henry the Sixth
The Life of King Henry the Eighth
The Life and Death of Julius Caesar
The Life and Death of King John
King Lear
Loves Labours Lost
The Tragedy of Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello, the Moore of Venice
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Life and Death of Richard the Second
The Life and Death of Richard the Third
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Winter's Tale
A Lover's Complaint
The Passionate Pilgrim
The Phoenix & The Turtle
The Rape of Lucrece
The Argument
The Sonnets (154)
Venus &Adonis

2) Read ten canonical works from the Bloom canon. 
1) James Wilcox Modern Baptists (August '13)

3) Memorize seven great poems. 

4) Read the Bible and the Qur'an.

5) Read at least six major philosophers from different schools of thought.

6) Read five biographies. 
1) Former U.S. president
2) Foreign leader
3) Activist
4) Game-changer
5) Someone else!

7) Submit one poem and one piece of non-fiction for publication. 

8) Write or expand a Wikipedia article. 

9) Watch one movie for each of AFI's fifty screen legends.
Humphrey Bogart
Katharine Hepburn
Cary Grant
Bette Davis Deception (July '13)
James Stewart
Audrey Hepburn
Marlon Brando
Ingrid Bergman
Fred Astaire The Gay Divorcee (July '13)
Greta Garbo
Henry Fonda
Marilyn Monroe Some Like It Hot (July '13)
Clark Gable
Elizabeth Taylor
James Cagney
Judy Garland
Spencer Tracy
Marlene Dietrich
Charlie Chaplin
Joan Crawford
Gary Cooper
Barbara Stanwyck
Gregory Peck
Claudette Colbert
John Wayne
Grace Kelly
Laurence Olivier
Ginger Rogers
Gene Kelly
Mae West
Orson Welles
Vivien Leigh
Kirk Douglas
Lillian Gish
James Dean
Shirley Temple
Burt Lancaster
Rita Hayworth
The Marx Brothers
Lauren Bacall
Buster Keaton
Sophia Loren
Sidney Poitier
Jean Harlow
Robert Mitchum
Carole Lombard
Edward G. Robinson
Mary Pickford
William Holden
Ava Gardner

10) See ten films from foreign countries. 

11) Read an etiquette guide.

Culture and Creativity 

12) Go to the opera.

13) Paint a picture.

14) Take dancing lessons. 

15) Take some sort of creative class (painting, sewing, photography, etc.). 

16) Complete 5 photo projects. 

17) Learn to use camera in manual mode. 

18) Learn to correctly shuffle a deck of cards. 

19) Learn to play poker. 

20) Go to Plan B bike workshop/Ladies' Night. 

21) Learn to play basic chords on guitar. 

22) Become a certified SCUBA diver.

Health and Fitness 

23) Ride bike to work at least two times a month:
July ’13- XX
August ’13-
September ’13-
October ’13-
November ’13-
December ’13-
January ’14-
February ‘14
March ’14-
April ’14-
May ’14-
June ’14-
July ‘14
August ’14-
September ’14-
October ’14-
November ’14-
December ’14-
January ’15-
February ’15-
March ’15-
April ’15-
May ’15-
June ’15-
July ’15-
August ’15-
September ’15-
October ’15-
November ’15-
December ’15-
January ’16-
February ’16-
March ’16-

24) Run a ten-minute mile. 

25) Lose thirty pounds. 

26) Join a gym. (August 2013)

27) Participate in ten 5Ks. 

28) Do a seven-day cleanse. 

29) Complete a fitness program. 

Food and Cooking 

30) Cook an entire cookbook. 

31) Learn to break down a chicken. 

32) Make a recipe book. 

33) Have a tasting contest of something. 

34) Host a holiday dinner. 

35) Bake ten cakes.

36) Can/preserve five foods. 
1) Fig preserves (July '13)
2) Yellow heirloom tomatoes (July '13)

37) Learn to boil crawfish from my dad. 

38) Eat at three old-school New Orleans restaurants. 
1) Tujague's (August '13)

39) Make and serve a seven-course meal with recipes from famous chefs.


40) Get married. 

41) Make a family tree that goes five generations back. 


42) Create a joint budget. 

43) Save at least $1500 a year. 

44) Pay off all credit card debt. 

45) Pay off half of student loan. 

46) Get a new car.  (July 2013)

47) Start house-buying search. 

48) Start a new 401k. 


49) Organize a drive for a shelter. 

50) Donate $100/year to charity. 

51) Volunteer somewhere new.

Crafting and Home Improvement 

52) Crochet a granny-square a day for one month. 

53) Complete ten Pinterest crafts. 

54) Sew five things from a pattern. 
1) Chill Dress (August '13)

55) Knit a blanket.

56) Make throw pillows. 

57) Restore a piece of used furniture. 

58) Reupholster dining room chairs. 

59) Build a piece of furniture. 

60) Embroider pillow cases. 

61) Learn calligraphy. 

62) Make a set of jewelry. 

63) Keep a tree alive for at least one year.

64) Redesign guest bathroom. (July 2013)

65) Catalog all books. 

66) Catalog all records. 

67) Catalog all DVDs. 

68) Clean out basement.


69) Learn a programming language. 

70) Move blog to webpage. 

71) Organize ALL computer files. 

72) Donate desktop computer. 


73) Buy a piece of designer clothing. 

74) Buy and wear a bikini. 

75) Try five new hairstyles. 

76) Enter entire wardrobe into Polyvore and edit. 


77) Ride a riverboat. 

78) Pick berries at a farm. 

79) Join a Mardi Gras walking krewe. 

80) Buy local or DIY all Christmas presents one year. 

81) Visit every bookstore in New Orleans. 

82) Join a community garden. 

83) Go to ten new Louisiana festivals. 

84) Visit a new town in Louisiana. 

85) Go to Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. 

86) Memorize every Louisiana parish. 

87) Get a "I'm a Cajun" driver's license. 


88) Visit another country. 

89) Visit three state parks. 

90) Visit a National Memorial.

Random Fun and Self-Improvement

91) Learn all football positions.

92) Ride a horse.

93) Make a habit of sending small gifts to friends (at least twice a year). 

94) Get another piercing. 

95) Get tarot cards read. 

96) Complete a book of crossword puzzles. 

97) Complete a 5000-piece puzzle.

98) Buy a lottery ticket twice a year. 

99) Learn the alphabet in ALS. 

100) Learn to say one phrase in seven different languages.

101) Host a fancy hat party. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A letter I can't or won't actually send.


When I told you I was engaged, you rolled your eyes. Literally, you rolled your eyes. This was a better outcome than what I expected, which is shocking to most everyone to whom I've told that story. 

Usually my response is to just say something along the lines of, "That's just my mom. She gets stressed out easily. She's still happy for me." The thing is, I believe that. I do think you're happy for me, or maybe I just need to believe that you are. But your happiness for me is blurred by a lens that has only gotten more opaque as the years have passed.

I wonder a lot lately when was the last time you were happy. I realize I can't remember anything in the past decade or so, so I wonder if you do. Was it when Paw Paw was still alive? I can think of times when you've had fun, but I don't remember the last time that you were deeply, joyously happy about something. That is a surprisingly difficult thing to admit. 

It has taken me many years to come to terms with your unhappiness. I'm probably still not there, but at least I have the perception and the toolkit to explain some of it and rationalize it to myself. I'm not quite sure WHY it's there, but based on things you've told me here and there, I have a feeling it began with a string of loves in your teenage years and really took root when you decided that you'd thrown away a lot of opportunities by marrying Daddy. You've told me countless times what you might have been if you'd gone to school--an art teacher, an architect. Even after going into the medical field, a kid at home and a drunk husband made you feel like you needed to be at home after work, instead of going to school for nursing. But even in my childhood years, I feel like you were happy sometimes. I remember dancing with you in the living room and I feel like that was happy. I want to know what broke and why it can't or won't be fixed. 

We've been fighting a lot about the wedding and it occurred to me that I'm a disappointment to you. You'd balk to hear this. You'd tell me how proud of me you are and how much you love me. I don't doubt those things, but I have to reconcile them with your disappointment. I am not who you want me to be. You rolled your eyes at my news because you imagined differently for me. Someone who could "take care of me," to use your words, someone with money who might support me while I got that Ph.D that you're still on me about. To you, my marriage means the end of my possibility too, means getting stuck in a rut that I will spend a lifetime sitting in, a rut so deep that it's not even worth it to expend energy to get out of. Is that how you feel? It's the closest I can imagine. 

You told me once that you wanted me to get my Ph.D because you knew, when I was a baby, that I would go on to do great things. You don't want to hear that people can do great things without a Ph.D, or that a Ph.D in my field would be useless to me, monetarily. You don't really even have a defined vision of "great," beyond "better off than me." You are not great, except through my achievements. I need to be great to somehow be worth all those lost opportunities. I don't think I'm capable of being that great. 

In a way, I think you think my marriage will make me sink lower than you, because I will still be worse off financially than you are. I think your desire to dictate every aspect of this wedding comes from the idea that you can at least make it what you want to see. Maybe that will be enough to make up for that potential greatness I'm flushing down the toilet. You are upset with me that I won't wear your wedding dress. I couldn't think up a better metaphor if I tried. Somewhere along the way (or maybe from the moment I was born), I turned into a vessel for all your lost hopes. I'm not the only person this has happened to--at this point it's a cliche. But it doesn't hurt any less to be held to a standard that judges me as unworthy for not meeting standards I've never been invested in. I quite honestly feel as though you love me less for not being good enough. It doesn't hurt me to not be good enough--I think (with the help of years of therapy, a lot of love, and the power of literature) that I'm just fine. But it hurts to think that you feel that way, that I have somehow thrown away the key that could even possibly unlock your door to happiness. 

Even before I could put those thoughts into words, I knew them on an instinctual level. It took me years to tell you I was going to therapy, because I knew you'd be disappointed in me for being so flawed and for thinking I was flawed. For not just getting over it. It is sickeningly ironic that you live in the kind of unhappiness you do without any help, just so as not to have to admit that you actually are unhappy. 

Years ago, you used to joke that you would never ask your patients, "How are you?" because it would turn into them rattling off their various ailments and complaints. I don't know how to tell you that you've turned into those people, without meaning to, without being old enough to be that damn miserable with life. 

I've had a buzzing tension headache for two weeks now. I suspect it has a lot to do with trying to shove down this rush of emotions and words that have come out of wounds long scarred, now ripped open. These are words I don't want to say to you, because I know you would only see them as a further burden, without ever acknowledging their meaning. I know you would cry and maybe you'd yell. I don't want to hurt you. I love you so much. I just wish that I could make you see. To see that your life is so rich, so full of love. To see that all I want from you at my wedding is to see you happy, for you to celebrate without barriers of anger, fear, and disappointment. You talk a lot of making the most of life, because you never know when you'll die. I don't understand how you can believe that, but treat every day like another step to the grave.

If anything, you've taught me that lesson. I don't always achieve it, but I try not to live in misery, because I don't want to bring down that burden on those who love me. I try to celebrate, to love, to experience, to be my very best, to see the best in people and in life. And I will always try, however useless it may be at this point, to make you see it too.

Love, me

Monday, June 24, 2013

Motley Monday Links

A capybara hugging a cheerful cat. My heart sings. (also, I may have started following the capybara on Facebook. :x) (also, here are more pictures of Gari the capybara! Yes, I'm obsessed.)

The merriest cemetery in the world!

Did the Catholic Church once sanction same-sex partnerships among monks in a type of marriage ceremony? The evidence for this theory is fairly strong, but not definitive.

Marlene Dietrich, Madonna, and "Double Drag." 

“Music journalists like Elvis Costello because music journalists look like Elvis Costello.”--catty!


"I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come."
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Being raised in an unstable household makes you understand that the world doesn’t exist to accommodate you, which is something a lot of people struggle to understand well into their adulthood. It makes you realize how quickly a situation can shift, how danger really is everywhere. But crises when they occur, do not catch you off guard; you have never believed you lived under a shelter of some essential benevolence. And an unstable childhood makes you appreciate calmness and not crave excitement.
-Curtis Sittenfeld

 The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness - genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource. When we devote our energy and time to trivial matters and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant, from that point, we perpetuate our own sadness and lose sight of the things that really make us happy and rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.
-Christopher Aiff

Monday, June 17, 2013

Motley Monday Links

Instead of focusing on the disgusting jokes some shitsmears in Atlanta made about Steve Gleason, check out Gleason's story in Sports Illustrated about living with ALS, not dying from ALS. Quote: "We cannot measure, verify or confirm meaning. We, as humans, create and apply meaning. When something happens to us, we become the author of meaning. The best philosophy I have adopted is to apply a useful and productive meaning."

Grandma's Kitchen, all over the world.

Apparently, Dame Judi Dench is a fan of subversive cross-stich, you fucking shit.

Yvette claims that the store had accommodated employees with minor disabilities in the past. "One woman, she hurt her shoulder," she says, angry tears filling her eyes. "They gave her a job re-shelving lighter items." Yvette says she also offered to work at the cash register or in the office of a different branch, to no avail. Eventually she was given meager disability payments for a portion of her pregnancy, and she spent the remainder on unpaid leave. Last month, Yvette left her job at the grocery chain.--why working class women are better off being disabled than pregnant.

Will the Krewe of Freret stop throwing Mardi Gras beads, in favor of locally-made throws?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Motley Monday Links

From creepy crusty to celebrated photographer: the Miroslav Tichý story.

I love illicit Old Hollywood gossip. Today: Rock Hudson's gay confession, Marilyn's death, Judy Garland's secret pill stashes, and more!

"Defendants’ motion is not supported by any affidavit or other evidence providing even one example of improper interference with an execution caused by or related to the dissemination of the current or any previous Louisiana execution protocol, or which shows that the defendants’ security concerns and the asserted risk of manipulation are more than mere speculation or conjecture"--Louisiana must reveal its lethal injection practices.

More evidence that childhood poverty should be treated as a disease, with all the political outcry and social movements to stop it that such a designation justifies.

A thoughtful meditation on the meaning of work from generation to generation and the search for fulfillment.

Friday, June 7, 2013

we know what we believe

Hanging out at Z'otz, drinking some mint iced coffee, mapping out my budget and guest list for THE WEDDING, and jamming out to the above on repeat. I was thinking earlier that I felt very collegiate. I couldn't quite place the feeling...was it just coffeeshops and summer and Mirah (always a collegiate throwback, despite the fact that I didn't start listening to her until mid-2008). But I think it's just that feeling of overwhelming newness. No frame of reference, fresh, exciting, a little nerve-wracking  but, at the heart of it, calm in my ability to steadily navigate.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

all the news, period.

You know how I keep hinting at big news? Most of my readers probably already know, but since more things keep happening, I'm just going to give you a blunt post and hopefully something later with details!

I got a new job. I'm now working for the Greater New Orleans Foundation and I love love love my job. I love working for a nonprofit. I love constantly learning. I love the people I work with.

I got engaged. I kind of can't believe it either. We used my great-grandmother's ring and everyone is happy and I'm currently drinking prosecco in my bed, because that's what fancy engaged ladies do, right?

Richie's going back to school. A gout flare up (yes, my fiance (AHHH) has gout and is clearly EIGHTY) convinced us that he's not going to be able to do manual labor forever, so it's time to move on up in the world. We'll see what construction management is like.

I got some sweet new sheets. Yeah!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Motley Monday Links

John Bunker is an apple detective, identifying obscure American apples and attempting to save varieties from extinction via industrialization.

Pretty sure the dolphins are going to eat these misguided hippies' baby.

A 10-15k year old mammoth was found in Siberia, with blood and muscle tissue intact.

Another reason to love living in Louisiana: Getting to put "I'm a Cajun" on your driver's license. 

Iraq's pavilion at the Biennale is sure to be fascinating. I can't even imagine how ten years of war and terrorism has manifested itself into Iraq's art.