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Ten Things Tuesday – July 5

5 Jul

Ten things I would do if I won the lottery:

1. Pay for school. This includes both my outstanding student loans and the ones that are inevitably coming up. Between college and grad school, I feel like I’m going to be paying off these degrees for the next 30 years. And being in a generous mood, I’d also pay for my brother’s school.

2. Pay off any debt or bills that my parents have. We don’t discuss their finances – just the ones relating to me – so I don’t know what that situation is. But I can imagine that a lottery win would not hurt that bank account.

3. Buy an awesome closet. And by this I mean both kickass clothes and precise, Ikea-worthy organization. Something like this:

4. Get a different car. Mine works just fine, but it’s almost 20 years old now. The air doesn’t work the best (and with global warming on the rise, summers aren’t fun), one of the windows doesn’t always cooperate, and I have to constantly keep track of the water level in the engine. I wouldn’t want anything fancy, just something that is a little nicer and newer than what I have now. Oh, and something that at least has a CD player. I know that technology is now outdated, but I’m still stuck with just a tape player.

5. Fund Full Moon projects. Pranks are fun, but not always cheap. I’d set up some kind of account for them to ensure a bright future full of fun. And beer.

6. Take an extended trip around the world. You know, take off a couple of years and just see the whole world. At the very least, I’d take my mom to Australia, where she’s always wanted to go. 

7. Donate money to worthy causes. Like Project Have Hope and The Harry Potter Alliance.

8. Buy a beach house. As much as I love living in the mountains, I’d also like to have a small beach house somewhere, because I love the ocean.

9. Create a concert ticket fund for everyone I want to see perform live. Look for that list in a few weeks.

10. Invest and save. I’m a big spender, for sure, so of course I want to make sure some of the money is there for the future. Can’t go crazy buying everything in sight, can you?

A Memoir I Didn’t Write

23 Jun

Apparently it’s all about books this week…

Plinky prompt of the day: You just signed a book deal. What’s the title of your masterpiece?

A Memoir I Didn’t Write

Stuff I Want Wednesday

22 Jun

I’ve started reading a new book that inspired today’s list: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, which is the true story of a notorious rare book thief who stole just for the pleasure of owning books, rather than monetary gain.

Even the cover makes me lusty for books. There’s a great passage in the book that sums up my feelings about reading quite nicely. It’s also a good argument for why I’ll never buy one of those e-reader things:

 “Too few people seem to realize that books have feelings. . . But if I know one thing better than another I know this, that my books know me and love me. When of a morning I awaken I cast my eyes about my room to see how fare my beloved treasures, and as I cry cheerily to them, ‘Good-day to you, sweet friends!’ how lovingly they beam upon me, and how glad they are that my repose has been unbroken.”
-Eugene Field, The Love Affairs of a Biliomaniac, quoted in The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, Allison Hoover Bartlett

Now tell me, Nook-ers and Kindle-ers of the world, do those little machines give you that same feeling? I don’t think so. Nothing but the tattered spines and well-worn pages of books  can recreate that feeling of camaraderie, of belonging, of satisfaction.

So what do I want today? Books, of course! I already own quite a few – probably more than is wise to take with me when I move. But this is a very specific kind of book collection today – rare and antiquated books. There’s just something so lovely about those glittering spines that makes them enticing and inviting, like old friends. Today I want my own library of beautiful books.

Just look at how pretty they all look, lined up together. It’s almost enough to make me want to become a notorious book thief myself.

And of course, the library that every girl saw and considered spending the rest of her life with an ugly beast as a good trade-off…

Checkup

18 Jun
I found this somewhere recently on a random blog; it had been copied from some magazine. Even though I’m pretty sure it was intended as a “live your best life in 2011” list, I think it’s appropriate to post now, midyear, as a way of checking up on how well we’re doing.
 
Health:
  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
  5. Play more games.
  6. Read more books than you did in 2010.
  7. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  8. Sleep for 7 hours.
  9. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
Personality:
  1. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems  are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
Society:
  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Life:
  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  4. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  5. The best is yet to come.
  6. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Ten Things Tuesday – May 10

10 May

Ten things that would make the world a better place:

1. If kids actually respected and obeyed their parents. But before that can happen, parents need to take charge of their kids’ behavior, discipline them, and care about what happens to them. If they did these things, and oh, I don’t know, acted like an actual parent, their kids would actually listen to them. I’m more than worried for the youth of this country, and I blame parents, mostly.

2. Secondly I blame video games. I think kids should quit playing so many video games and get outside more often. I have a big problem with really young kids who play violent video games. It does nothing but encourage rage, laziness, and easy distraction while completely ruining problem-solving skills.

3. An education system that actually serves kids. Lawmakers and politicians have gotten their hands far too deep into the education system, and it doesn’t really work anymore. No wonder so many kids and schools are failing – they rely on data and completely unrealistic expectations and evaluation systems. We forget that it’s people who need to benefit from education, and people that it affects. We’re not a number, or a textbook, or a test score. We are people who benefit from quality education.

4. An attitude of servitude and a willingness to volunteer. If people actually served each other, instead of their own interests, I think we’d be much more cooperative as a society. I realize that this is totally unrealistic, but I would love to see some kind of instituted service for everyone. Sure, sure, not everyone would appreciate it or enjoy it, but I think it would be highly beneficial. When you graduate high school, spend one year of your life dedicated to service learning, then go on to pursue an education or a career. See how your perspective changes then.

5. Being able to eat as much ice cream as you want, without getting sick or fat. Ice cream just makes you feel better, hands down. And how could that possibly make the world worse?

6. Handwritten letters. I do see the irony of this, as I type this sentence on my computer. We’ve forgotten the art of letter-writing, and conversing with others just because it makes us feel good to have someone to talk to and listen to. Now, we don’t even have enough time to write out a complete word in a text message – we have to abbreviate it into this nonsensical shorthand. We have all these forms of instant mass communication at our hands, and still we feel more disconnected than ever. Along those lines, we need to quit texting each other and actually have a conversation with a real, live person. Especially when you’re in the company of others, and all you can do is type away on your phone to people you’re not even with. As previously stated, we don’t even know how to talk to each other anymore.

7. Show respect for so-called “blue collar” jobs. You don’t want to pick up trash for a living? Fine, you don’t have to. You don’t know how to fix a car? That’s OK. But just because you’re highly educated, don’t undervalue or underestimate the value and importance of people able and willing to do these things. Someone has to get their hands dirty. While it probably won’t be me, I have a great respect for the people who do. I admire people who happily work in labor jobs that bring a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. These people are some of the happiest around. They do an honest day’s work at a job that truly needs doing. If we don’t have people to repair our roads, build houses, clean clogged pipes, and recycle garbage, our country’s infrastructure will collapse. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see what that looks like.

8. The three R’s. No, I’m not talking abour Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic (although we have forgotten the value of these things), but Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing. We’re terribly self-centered as a species; we think everything is here just for our exclusive benefit. We don’t often stop to consider the environmental consequences of our actions. While it’s nearly impossible to be environmentally-friendly in every single thing we do, there are some major things we can do to help out our dear old planet. Recycling things that can be used multiple times, reducing the amount we waste, and reusing things that can get a second life are all great ideas for positive impact on the environment.

9. Quit arguing about things that don’t matter and start to love people. Politicians, I’m looking at you. We’ve forgotten that we should love others, and treat them kindly, rather than looking for everything we don’t like or everything we want to change. Why can’t we all just get along?

10. Be thankful. Truly thankful. Not just going around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and saying one thing you’re thankful for that year, but really practicing thankfulness on a daily basis. Appreciating the things you have – material and intangible – helps us all to remember the less fortunate and ultimately makes us happier people. I think we tend to want less when we’re really thankful for what we already have. Let’s focus on that, rather than the have-nots.

Superhuman

9 May

Plinky prompt of the day: what superpower would you want?

When thinking about superheroes and their powers, I always debate on how I would answer this question. Sometimes I think I’d like to be invisible, but that sounds kind of emo. Sometimes I think I’d like to read minds, but that might make me really angry and jealous. Sometimes I think I’d like to be able to fly – it would be a convenient method of transportation, and very cost-effective. But then I think about teleportation – that would be even better!

So, what do I pick? I think I’d want the ability to remember things instantly, like in that movie Limitless. But, you know, without the super-dangerous drug. It would be so convenient to be able to learn languages instantly, to remember birthdays and recall cherished memories. Not to mention I’d be able to figure out how to becomem filthy rich and pay off all my student loans. Yes, a superhuman ability to remember everything would be ideal. That, and probably the flying thing. I just can’t give that one up.

Ten Things Tuesday – April 19

19 Apr

Today is my dad’s birthday. He’s very hard to buy presents for, and I had a difficult time picking out an appropriately funny card about getting older. This has inspired today’s list, which is a gathering of thoughts, quotes, and musings about aging and living life to the fullest.

1. I would rather be ashes than dust!
     I would rather that my spark should burn out
         in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
     I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
         of me in a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
     The function of man is to live, not to exist,
     I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. 
     I shall use my time.
                               – credited as Jack London’s “Credo,” debated authorship

This recently-discovered quote is an excellent reminder that we are given precious little time on Earth, and we should use every second we get. How many do I waste on meaningless things – watching TV, complaining, thinking about the things I wish I had? That seems infinitely less important when you consider all the things I could be doing. I could be painting masterpieces. I could be rafting a mountain river. I could be exploring a new place, or a long-forgotten one. I’m not doing these things, though. Instead I spend many waking hours perusing the internet, watching TV shoes that will not make me a better person, and coveting the things I want but cannot afford. That is no way to live. That is no way to use my time.

2. “The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.”   – William James

There is a difference between growing and aging. The process of aging just means you get older than you used to be. Growing implies changing for the better, evolving into something new. When you cease to grow, all you do is age. I’m a firm believer in always learning, always changing and adapting, always striving to be better. How else will you continue to evolve? If you stop this process, you become stagnant and that is when you become truly old. It’s that thirst for life and adventure that keep you young.

3. “The moment you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don’t understand, you are closer to understanding it all than at any other time.”   – Anonymous

I think this quote really sums up what I was trying to say about the last one, about never losing that sense of wonder. It’s impossible to know everything, and it seems that the more you find out, the less you know. Or the more you realize that you don’t know, if that makes sense. So many things we can’t make sense of that should be simple – that is what keeps us constantly looking for something.

4. “We are all of us failures–at least, the best of us are.”   – J.M. Barrie

A good reminder that failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Think of it as an alternative – a second chance. You didn’t succeed the first time – now is your chance to try again. Perhaps it’s even your chance to try something completely different, because your failure forces you to start down a new path.

5. “In the game of life there are no winners or losers. It does not matter if you get to the end before someone else does. All that matters is that you had a hell of a fun time getting to the end and you took a couple of good friends along for the ride.”   – Anonymous

If you can say this, you have truly lived.

6. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”   – JK Rowling

Sometimes I feel like I get so wrapped up in making plans and dreaming about the future that I don’t realize it when the future has become the present. Especially with working and graduate school, I feel like it’s been this far-off dream. Now that it’s really happening and coming up soon, I find myself not quite prepared for it. Forgetting to enjoy the moment doesn’t make it worthwhile. It is fun to dream, but not at the expense of actually having experiences.

7. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” –James Dean

There’s nothing wrong with making plans. I think that speaks highly of your ambition and your desire to achieve something. By dreaming, you say that you are looking to the future and imagining your life how you want it to be. You have hope that the future will be there for you. This is an admirable quality. In the meantime, living each day as if it’s your last will guarantee that you’ll have the best possible experience with what little time you are given. We’re not guaranteed a future; all we’re guaranteed is right now. Don’t waste it.

8. “No human, nor any living thing, survives long  under the eternal sky. The most beautiful women, the most learned men, even Mohammed, who heard Allah’s own voice, all did wither and die. All is temporary. The sky outlives everything. Even suffering.” –Bowa Johar

None of us escapes life alive. This is an obvious statement, but when you really think about it, it’s a dark reminder that you can survive anything except life. Nothing, not even suffering, lasts forever. The only thing that survives everyone and everything is the sky; it is always there, beyond anything you think you can’t handle. Go into everything knowing that you can survive anything except life itself, and that long after you are gone, the sky will still be there.

9. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”   – Maria Robinson

We cannot change the past, no matter how much we want to. I can’t tell you how many things I’d like to go back and do differently, especially knowing what I know now. That can never happen, though. What I can do, though, is change how today will end; I can determine the path that today takes.

10. “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.”   – Anonymous

A good quote to end today’s list with. If, at the end of your life, you have many memories worth reliving, you have lived a good life.