Tags: lifestyle

the torch-ginger

101 in 1001

Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson


Over nine months ago, I told the world that I would write a list that, in a process of incremental victories, would change my life.

Finally, on November 19th, in the earliest hours of the morning, listening to zordac's near-apnea, I wrote my list in a ten-inch, spiral bound school notebook (my current think-pad of choice).

The list is this: one hundred one things I will accomplish in one thousand one days. 101 in 1001. These items can be modest or they can be monumental. These tasks can affect just one person, or millions.

I know that my attitude and goals will change over the nearly three years that list is supposed to take, so I will allow myself to change some of the items. I can take any item off the list but only if I put one of equal difficulty and significance in its place.

I am including this on my LJ profile page and after a few days will put this entry at the top of my journal. Encouragement is always welcome; questions about why any item deserves to by on my list are also welcome. Please let me know if you choose to write your own 101 in 1001 or anything with a similar agenda.

My list is very personal. Many of my choices may seem unimportant, superfluous, and wasteful. Some acknowledge, unblinkingly, my most embarrassing weaknesses. All are things I have talked about doing without actually doing. They may not change the world, but doing these things will change me.
My 101 in 1001
1. Write this list.
2. Finish building Clay Canvas website (gratis, for a company I adore).
3. Learn to ballroom dance. - Took one class in Dec. 2008, will take more when another event calls for it.
4. Go out specifically to ballroom dance in public.
5. Finish curtains for living room. - Finished April 2009, added sheers to the list to go under them.
6. Complete one original piece of artwork.
7. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for three months.
8. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for six months.
9. Showcase artwork in a local arts and crafts festival.
10. Showcase artwork in a traditional art gallery.
11. Sell one piece of original artwork.
12. Learn to sing an Irish drinking song.
13. Learn to sing at least three Irish drinking songs.
14. Have a dress up portrait photography day.
15. Paint a studio photography background.
16. Make softboxes for studio photography (again).
17. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one month (with fewer than two off days).
18. Maintain a day sleep schedule for three months (with fewer than six off days).
19. Maintain a day sleep schedule for six months (with fewer than twelve off days).
20. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one year (with fewer than twenty-four off days).
21. Host another murder mystery party.
22. Write my own murder mystery scenario for at least ten players.
23. Write/script a dark, spooky, one-shot larp for three to six players.
24. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for one month.
25. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for three months.
26. Make dust ruffle Velcro attachment for master bedroom.
27. Paint the master bedroom.
28. Organize my office as a clean, flexible art studio, sewing room.
29. Touch up paint in living room and dining room.
30. Make/build canopy for master bed.
31. Get a job (small or big to supplement my self-employment income).
32. Help Jimmy pay off dining room table and chairs (must be completed by Nov. 2009). - Jimmy did this without my help; I need to add something to replace it.
33. Pay off credit card. - No more debt except student loans, March 2009
34. Get health insurance.
35. Keep kitchen clean for two weeks.
36. Keep kitchen clean for one month.
37. Keep kitchen clean for three months.
38. Visit both sides of my extended family at least six times a one year period.
39. Write a will, a living will, and last wishes and burial information.
40. Exercise every other day for two weeks.
41. Exercise every other day for one month.
42. Exercise every other day for three months.
43. Exercise every other day for six months.
44. Buy an alto or tenor recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
45. Learn to read music.
46. Learn to play three songs by heart on the recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
47. Play in a large main event poker tournament.
48. Hang artwork in the living room.
49. Hang artwork in the dining room.
50. Design and build/or have built a sideboard and cabinetry in the dining room.
51. Decorate guest bedroom.
52. Make curtains for master bedroom.
53. Make curtains for dining room.
54. Make curtains for guest bedroom.
55. Sew/drape another Halloween costume next fall.
56. Finally set up a Christmas tree.
57. Host Jimmy's family for a holiday celebration. Thanksgiving 2008
58. Host my family for a holiday celebration.
59. Learn to belly dance. - In the works! So far, I look ridiculous.
60. Design and build a website for my work and/or creative pursuits.
61. Trim hedges and shrubs in the early spring.
62. Write a complete outline for a novel or web comic.
63. Spend two hours per day for one week working on novel or web comic.
64. Spend two hours per day for two weeks working on novel or web comic.
65. Go to a storytelling convention.
66. Participate in one political demonstration.
67. Take a tap dancing class.
68. Color (or have colored) my hair a deep shade of red (similar to Debra Messing's).
69. Volunteer for one hour.
70. Volunteer for one hour per week for one month.
71. Design and apply full back henna tattoo for Tiffany.
72. Organize tools on sun porch.
73. Keep bedroom tidy for one month.
74. Keep bedroom tidy for three months.
75. Keep bedroom tidy for six months.
76. Get married? - Engaged June 18, 2009, wedding within a year or so.
77. Get pregnant? (If I choose to do this, it will be at the very end of the 1001 days).
78. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for two hours.
79. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours.
80. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a week.
81. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a three weeks.
82. Go without playing any pointless online games for one week.
83. Go without playing any pointless online games for two weeks.
84. Go without playing any pointless online games for one month.
85. Spend one week helping Grandma with her family photo project.
86. Attend a Renaissance Faire or Celtic Festival.
87. Save $1000.
88. Save $5000.
89. Save $10,000.
90. Go for one week without doing the tapping/syllable-counting fidget thing.
91. Lose ten pounds.
92. Lose twenty-five pounds.
93. Lose fifty pounds.
94. Lose seventy-five pounds.
95. Grow poker bankroll to $2500. - In progress.
96. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for one month.
97. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for three months.
98. Make a t-shirt quilt.
99. Complete (at least with a sketchy outline) my unfinished travel diaries.
100. Sort and organize my travel diaries and memorabilia.
101. Plan and go on another vacation with Jimmy.
I have also divided my 1001 days into trimesters. Deadlines help. My 1001 days started November 19th, 2008.
  • The first trimester will last 333 days and end on Sunday, October 18, 2009. I will be thirty years old.

  • The second trimester will last 334 days and end on Friday, September 17, 2010. I will be thirty-one years old.

  • The third trimester will last 334 days and end on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. I will be thirty-two years old.
the torch-ginger

Change of Heart

The very same weekend that I made this emotional post about my mother withholding family heirlooms because she felt it would be unsafe, she changed her mind.

Sunday morning as I was helping her with some boxes she was taking to charity, she said, "Do you still want the bedroom suite you grew up with? Do you still know of a place to get it repaired? Which weekend would it be good for me to bring them up to Water Valley?"

We talked for a little while, sitting cross-legged on the floor with trinkets and dusty tissue paper in our laps. I told her that I thought she had been using the furniture to show disapproval of Jimmy and my lifestyle. She assured me that she really likes Jimmy, she loves how he treats me, and was simply being "a realist" about the possible destruction should we break up. According to her words, and I believe her, the only thing concern she has about my relationship with Jimmy is her (well-founded) fear that we will never be physically healthy together because we enable each others' bad eating habits.

So, all that tension has evaporated after months of worry. Perhaps if I had brought it up myself or that I'd forced the issue, things might not have gone the same way.
the torch-ginger

To Write or to Sleep, Choices in an Alternative Lifestyle

I had a choice, this morning, to write or to take a nap that would complete the last phase of my sleep schedule shift. I, of course, took the less responsible path and stayed awake to write. "Responsible to whom?" I should ask, since I feel I owe it to myself to write. Is it baseless pride that I think myself talented and grieve for my lack of focus and clarity to make use of those talents? Perhaps that's my personal form of depression - grief for squandered time and missed opportunities.

Lack of sleep will make the rest of the day painfully long, especially while driving to Hattiesburg, having dinner with my family, and picking through some of the furniture my mother is giving away to charity. Saturday will be spent at my cousin Chris's wedding and visiting with my mother's extended family.

My mother is very generous to me, especially now that she married a doctor. At least once a year, we'll go on a little freebie trip to Tunica or the Coast casinos where the room and meals are nearly paid for, and she'll buy me a few clothes or get me a pedicure. Since her marriage, she has taken me to Britain, the Caribbean, and Vegas. Before she married a giving and wealthy husband, she raised me and my sister on a Mississippi teacher's salary and gave to us as much as she was able. I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have been raised by such a woman, and I hope I have many many more decades with her.

Mama has always been critical about issues that she thinks are unhealthy for me: my diet, my non-traditional income of websites and poker, my bouts of nocturnal living. She's a mom. She's loving, affectionate, and sensitive to my sensitivity to her criticism. :)

But she broke my heart a couple of weeks ago when her disapproval found a new venue. She told me that as long as I am living unmarried with a man, I will never be given any of our family's inherited antiques and furniture. Let me point out here she likes Jimmy; she has always liked Jimmy (at least she has said so), and she has never before expressed any misgivings or disapproval about my living with Jimmy before. She told me that she wants to give me furniture that she no longer needs but that Jimmy and I need for our house, but she doesn't feel like it's a safe environment for the furniture since I am unmarried. She would rather give that furniture to my sister or my step-brother or leave it in storage rather than risk it getting stolen by Jimmy. But she said that if our marriage hasn't happened by now (nearly six years), it'll never will. Thus, she's afraid that if Jimmy and I ever break up, he would keep the furniture and heirlooms that she had given me.

Let me make this clear. I care far, far less about things than I do about her approval of my life. It would be...nice...to have some furniture to fill this large house. Nearly all of our furniture is hand-me-down and doesn't fit. But I'd rather my mother didn't give me anything at all if she trusted me and approved of my lifestyle.

In a way, I understand her fear. People can do monstrous things to each other when they fall out of love. However, logically, marriage is no protection from barbaric behavior. Marriage didn't protect her from my father when he stole every typewriter, toaster, and box of silver dollars in the house. Marriage to Jimmy wouldn't stop him from burning every stick of furniture I owned. In fact, it's marriage itself that would give him partial ownership for the items I brought into this house unless they were detailed in a prenuptial agreement. As it stands, I am more protected now legally as a tenant. I have no lease, but everything that I brought into this house is mine and he has no legal claim to it.

When she first told me of her decision, I was so hurt I didn't say anything. And then I got a little angry at the presumptions of his potential behavior. Then I got even angrier because of the illogical preconception that marriage is the only protector of her furniture. A little teary but coherent and calm, I told her that I understood her fears but that I had many reasons to disagree with her. At the very least, evidence of Jimmy's conduct during his divorce speaks to his patience and character. Penny and he divided their belongings, he forfeited a great deal just to speed the separation, and he then took out an enormous loan to pay off everything that was jointly in their name.

Regardless of my opinions and the evidence for the goodness of Jimmy's character, I do know Jimmy could, on any whim or fancy that strikes him, kick me out onto the street (not that I think he would unless our relationship was over, and then he would not do so heartlessly). I am very painfully and keenly aware how precipitous my position here is. Every day I am reminded by some little thing that I am dependent on our love and Jimmy's good will to stay in this home. But I also know that if he were to kick me out, everything that I own should legally come with me. And I would rebuild my life somewhere else.

But now that I type this, I feel even worse. There is more I haven't said. When they've visited, Mama and Horace rarely stay with us no matter where we've lived (in the trailer, in Bill's house when we rented it, and in this giant house that Jimmy owns) opting instead to stay my Uncle Branton's nearby. Mama says it's because Horace enjoys Branton's company, but it's hard for me to believe that's the reason they choose to sleep elsewhere.

That said, I do want to get married. I want it, but I don't need it. The only demand I have ever made to Jimmy is that I refuse to have children with him unless we're married. I get a little sad at the idea that I might never be married or have children, but then I tell myself to buck up. I'm not going to give up Jimmy out of an egotistical need for legal confirmation and society's need for a piece of paper. A marriage license does not guarantee love or trust or a future. I guarantee it with my actions and Jimmy with his.

But my mother's decision still stands. I have told her that I respect her choice and that I don't want her to give me anything that she is uncomfortable with putting in my hands. I won't be getting any of the heirlooms she considers precious, even though they sit in storage. I, may, however, have some of the things she's giving away to charity, if I'd like to go through them. I wonder if I can swallow my pride enough to take some home.