Tuesday, March 26, 2013

List of Stuff to Do, Get, Be [Updated]

Written on the eve of my 51st birthday (last year, March 2012)

Reviewed shortly after my 52nd birthday (this year, 2013)

1. Get a desktop computer for making movies. (When I bought this laptop--MacBook Pro--I didn't realize it doesn't have enough oomph for editing anything but short movies.) (I can't do this until I get a job and pay off my credit card bills.)

Yes! I got a desktop Apple computer, suitable for heavy-duty video editing! 

I still prefer my laptop, but since I spilled coffee on it last year it's been a bit unreliable.

1a. Get a job and pay off my credit card bills.
Yes, I got a job as a nursing assistant and started to pay off my bills.  

Soon after I started work, however, my Uncle Tony died, alas, and left me in his will--enough to pay off my bills AND enough to live on when--alas, again--I injured my wrist tendons so badly I had to quit my job. 

Thank you, Uncle Tony!
2a. Make more little movies. 
Um... no. Not yet. Though I also bought a new video camera, I freaked out when I encountered technical difficulties right away and haven't touched it since.

2b. Edit some of the footage I already have, like my interview with my aunt and uncle, in their 80s, or video I shot during bink's DVD to ART project.
Not much: I did do a tiny bit--editing the interview with Tony a couple years before he died. Still have a lot of old video I would like to shape.

Meanwhile, I uploaded old family films (my father had them transferred to DVD a while back), and took some screencaps.

This is my sister (far left) on her fifth birthday, and three-year-old me.
Our parent behind the film camera had told us to go pick a peony.

Sister picked her flower properly, I pulled mine up by the roots.

And that's all you need to know about the difference between us.   


 2c. Scan old family photos and post them somewhere (for genealogical access?). 
Yay! Another yes!

I broke down and paid all of $100 for a printer/scanner. (Actually, it wasn't the money that deterred me, it was the size of the thing--takes up half my desk) 
Then I spent about a week scanning photos of my father's parents--immigrants from Sicily in the early 1900s–– & his nine siblings. 

Here's a favorite one: 
my grandparents Rosaria and Vincenzo (aka Sara and James), with other rels, eating spaghetti at the family apple farm they bought after WW2:

Then I posted the old photos on a Facebook page, and I spent some time trying to contact all of my 18 cousins (my father's generation wasn't very reproductive). 
Still can't find two of them... and a couple others wanted nothing to do with it.

The family is full of sharp edges and dull resentments, and it's pretty common that members stay far away from one another. NONETHELESS, I wanted to do what I could to share the historical bits I had, and some of the cousins were very appreciative.
3.  Work on creating film scores and capturing sounds. Collaborate with Marz, if she will. 
Marz did buy an audio recorder and has been recording musical sketches, so we could have fun putting images & sound together. 

4. Try surfing. I learned last year that people surf on Lake Superior, just a few hours north. But California looks nicer.
Still to come.

5. Attend Trek in the Park in Portland, OR. (This year they're doing "Journey to Babel," August 4-26, 2012, but I probably can't afford to go.)
YES! Awesome! Even before I got money from Uncle Tony, I'd made reservations to go to Portland. It was lovely--stayed in a great youth hostel and met up with my friend Denise, whom I hadn't seen in 7+ years. 

Would consider going again this year (2013)---for their fifth and last produciotn, they're putting on "The Trouble with Tribbles."

6. Attend Trek Fest in Riverside, Iowa, future birthplace of Captain Kirk. (This year, June 29-30, 2012: might be doable.)

Marz, Bink & I drove down to Riverside, stayed in the local casino, and Marz even won 1st place in the costume contest!
Wrote about it here: Trek Fest.

7. Go to London again! Maybe for my next birthday, 52 in 2013? (I was going to go for my 50th birthday but walked the Camino instead.) 

Not sure I want to go to London...  
I mean, of course I do! But I think I might rather spend the money to go somewhere I've never been.
After having so much fun exploring Portland, OR, (and even Riverside, Iowa), I think I'd like to see more of the USA. Like Philadelphia, where I could run up the Rocky steps!

Oh, wait! I just learned there is a John Snow Pub (above) in London, named after the doctor who discovered that cholera is waterborne (not airborne, as was thought during the 1854 cholera outbreak in London). 
Relevant to my new research in to history of sanitation, you see...
8. Attend a taping of the Colbert Report.
Actually, I don't want to anymore. 
I'd had a big crush on Stephen Colbert, but it passed. I think because I was slightly turned off by how he'll do anything for a laugh. Tho when he displayed his unadulterated fanboy love for William Shatner, I felt the old flame flicker again...

9. Make a C-KAPE (Captain Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence) badge and/or certificate.
Er ... um... 
*scuffles away*
Why, yes! I did make one. Yes, here it is... I had it right here all along! 

10. Revolutionize old age. I don't know what this means; the phrase just came to me. Maybe I mean my own aging. 
In process!
I am starting to volunteer at a local senior center---it caters mostly to frail elders, but it also  serves people 50+: that's me! 

I've started running. 
Or, rather, shuffle-trot-walking... 

Suffering a slow-to-heal, disabling injury (I couldn't use my hands for much at all) was an eye-opener: 
there really is an art to aging, which I'm just starting to learn. 
11. Choose generosity. Err on the side of abundance.

I decided, for instance, on principle not to unfriend anyone on FB, but rather to block them if they post icky things––like photos of abused animals, or rants about how Obama is a [fill in the blank].

I also sent my bro a Christmas card for the first time in years.  
He didn't respond, but the point is to be as kind as I can stand to be and to keep resentment at bay by practicing its opposite: letting go and moving on.
(Tho' sometimes I'm not sure if sending my brother a card is letting go or holding on too hard...)

12. Let other people solve their own puzzles.

Ditto: ongoing.

13. Learn photo manipulation on GIMP, which I just downloaded here: www.gimp.org/downloads (Thanks, Tintorera!) Aaargh! Already I cannot figure it out.
I did upload Photoshop Elements (lite) and gave it a trial run... also took a Dreamweaver class at community ed. It's all fairly easy, though futzy, but I realize I just don't love the techie stuff. 
Meanwhile, my new computer makes it easy to add text to and otherwise manipulate photos. It's all getting easier and easier for the non-techie like me.
14. Swimming at the YW. Just started... not sure if I like it. Keep going and find out.
I did keep at it for a little while but found it makes me dizzy!
Really--I think I am prone to this--I've always gotten sea-sick easily, like, in a hammock or a canoe--and I suffered through a 3-month bout of vertigo a few years ago. (Horrible!) 
14a. Buy a new swimming suit. Mine is so stretched out, the rear looks like baggy diapers.
Yes! I bought a cute old-fashioned looking one-piece, with a little front-panel skirt! for $5 at Savers thrift store. So I can at least sit in the whirlpool at the YW and take a dip in the pool.
15. I'm tired of my same old clothes. Try some fun new ones. Clothes shopping makes me nervous--could it be fun? Try thrift shops...? 
After my wrists were injured,  I pretty much went into a slump, physically. So I've gained weight and lost strength---just now starting to come back from that...
But in the meantime,  I've hardly felt like  clothes shopping---besides being plumper (disheartening in the dressing room), I couldn't even unhook my bra behind my back.

16. Write some fiction, which I've not done since high school. Try super short pieces (flash fiction) first.  
No movement on this. 

I haven't even written nonfiction for almost 2 years---hardly even e-mails--just posted images with 2-line captions on Facebook (a kind of writing: how can you entertain/inform people in a few words?).

Just recently I've started to blog again, which makes me happy. 
So... the jury's out on this one.

17. Wash the shower curtain.
You may think this is a piffling task, but I resist and even resent the physical upkeep of certain physical items.
Shower curtains are one of them.

HOWEVER---yes, I took down and washed the Finnish Marimekko poppy curtain! AND I replaced the clear plastic liner.  I even bought a new shower mat at Ikea.

18. Keep blogging. I just started again and it's a lot of work--I'd forgotten how much time and energy it takes. But I like it better than almost anything... at least, once its done.
Only recently have I had the time, desire, and energy again. 

Primarily I have been spending my energy on Marz for the past 20 months (a good thing!). Then, being injured kind of got me down.

Here I am, left, at my desk.

What's that you say? I'm not "writing" judging by the computer screen?

Well, we writers are always writing IN OUR BRAINS, if not onscreen...
19. Write my own book. Not sure what that'd be, but none of the books I've written are really mine--they all were written on contract, under constraints, for young readers. 
Nowhere close.
But, I have just accept another nonfiction book contract––

 for a YA (young adult) history of sanitation. 

It's been two years since I finished the history of social networking book. I drove myself crazy with that one, but I'm thrilled to be researching something new––and a relatively easy topic, too. 

Also, I'm volunteering to write some online newspaper articles.
We shall see...

19. Start a visual journal. It's been ages since I've made physical art––marks on paper––and I want to.
20. Buy some fresh oil pastels and some other art supplies. 
I'm putting 19 and 20 together.
around Christmastime I started watercoloring postcards, and for my birthday Marz gave me a set of Yarka watercolors--made in Saint Petersburg.

21. Try out new-to-me local hiking paths. I liked being in good walking shape after Camino, but I'm tired of walking around the lakes I've been walking around for 30 years.
Uh... Not exactly, no, not really---being a nursing assistant was so physical, I didn't want more exercise, and once I was injured, I didn't feel like exploring nature.

But I sort of did some equivalent stuff.   

For instance, Marz and I took the Greyhound bus to Duluth and biked on the 5-mile(?) trail from the Willard Munger Inn (loved it!) to the Buffalo House, where we ate sweet potato fries, artichoke dip, and chocolate thud cake (my name for it). 

Here's Marz in the Duluth bus station, heading home:

I did explore my city more, though (see #22). 
22. Move to a new city with cooler summers. (MAYBE. Not sure. Check places out.) Winters here are harsh and long but don't bother me all that much. The hideous humid hot summers, though, those really get to me. It would be hard to leave all my connections here, though... But the Internets make it much easier to keep in touch.

A-ha, yes, I did look into relocating and decided I don't want to. I came back from Portland, specifically, liking the Twin Cities MORE. 

I started taking field trips around town and taking photos, which I turned into the "What I Like in the Twin Cities" photo series.

I also went farther afield than usual. Through investigating setting up a videography business,
I took classes in parts of the cities I've rarely gone--specifically U Ave. in Saint Paul––and scouted around.

(My favorite find: The Best Steak House, near the state capital.)

Also, since Marz moved here July 2011, I've been inspired to show her places I like, which means revisiting places I haven't been in years, (like Seward Café, where I worked when I was her age), and also going with her to places I haven't been or doing things I've never done--like jumping off the bridge into Lake of the Isles (right), or attending a couple hearings at the Capitol.


So... wow! I'm pleased. Because I was kind of depressed this past winter, I felt like I'd done nothing at all. Turns out I was wrong.

Since I did so many of these, my new Thing to Do is...
make another list! 


LauraB said...

I just learned a lot about you that didn't know before- and that surprised me...
AND I just burst out laughing at the peony-picking-picture commentary- that's so true- the quintessential difference between you & your sister.
AND I just moved the coffee further away from my keyboard.
AND I love the photo of your spaghetti-eating relatives.
AND I'm inspired to write my own list, except maybe that would be just one more in a long list of things I've just been inspired to do in order to avoid doing my taxes.
ANYway, You DID A LOT!!!!!

Fresca said...

Hey, Laura:
I want to read YOUR list! You have two weeks to finish your taxes... plenty of time...

I'm surprised you learned anything about me you didn't already know. (I wonder what).

momo said...

I love looking back at old lists and seeing that I actually did things, even if I only worry about that one thing I didn't do. This is a great review. I especially congratulate you on the shower curtain thing, as that is also one of those jobs I hate.
I really love the paintings you have posted lately, and would love to see more.

Clair said...

Hey Fresca --
From one of your great elders:

Never forget what Bette Davis said about growing old: