stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Loose Ends

There are a few things that I want to have done and out of the way before my 1001 days get under way. Some of them are almost-finished projects from my last list. Some are just things that it would be good not to have to worry about when I'm trying to get on with the fun stuff.

Here's a list. I may well come back and add to it as I think of more things I'd like to get tidied away before I kick off.

- work out a budget
- finish putting together bottom layer of quilt; stich together and quilt the whole thing
- have all BookCrossing rings, boxes, etc, off my hands
- finish and post account of Camino de Santiago
- finish the Well of Loneliness with Zombies fic that was going so nicely back in ?June
- add remaining captions to Exeter photo album, and call it done
- get to the end of my diary, and acquire a nice A5 or bigger notebook to begin along with the 1001 days.

Depressing as the thought is, it would also help to have made a start on the Christmas cards.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Way way back in 2007, when I made my first list, the official Day Zero website looked something like this: a list of links to, well, lists. So I put my list up there with the rest of them, went away, had a stab at completing the tasks on it, and never looked at the site again.

It was a bit of a shock, then, when I started thinking about the new list, and came back to the site to find it looking like this. It was all shiny. It had things that you could click on and see how many other people were thinking of, for example, trying fifty different kinds of cake. It wanted me to log in - and, I will admit, this foxed me for a bit. It seemed odd, suddenly having to come up with a new username for a site that I'd been involved with for nearly three years. Still, I worked it out in the end.

Armed with my new username, I had a sniff around. It's very shiny. It has a list of recently added tasks. If you scroll down to the bottom of the home page, it shows you lists of the top 40 things 101ers want to write, of 24 things to watch, of 10 things 101ers DON'T want to do. It even has a list of the top 101 101 goals. (As that list stands at the moment, ten of the goals on there, or similar goals, appeared on my last list. Eight are on the longlist of potential new goals.)

So that's all very exciting. What's even more exciting is the fact that, once you've got yourself a username and logged yourself in, you can click on any of these goals, and the site will tell you how many people are doing it, who first added it, who's doing it, who wants to do it some day, and who's done it. It also gives you the option of saying you've done it, of putting it on your 'someday, maybe' list, or of putting it on your own list.

And that's great. There are tasks that are on other people's lists that I want to do - and there are tasks on other people's lists that I really would rather not. (Colour an entire colouring book, for example. I'm not sure I could come up with anything that would bore me more if I thought it out with both hands for a fortnight.) I can add the tasks I want to do, and leave the ones I don't. That's great.

Or at least, it would be great - if only. If only the clock didn't start ticking the day you signed up. Think about it. I am going to spend the next two and three quarter years of my life attending to this list, and the site wants me to come up with the whole list now? Not fair. I found the 'edit start date' button, but it's not obvious. As it is, the combination of idea overload, a list made in a hurry, and an immediate start date has resulted in lists that haven't been finished. Not tasks that haven't been finished. Lists. Fifteen items, maybe one of them done, seven hundred days to go, and no recent user activity. Frankly, I'm not surprised.

I've got a longlist of - well, I haven't actually counted it, but a lot of goals. (I'll post it in a few days, and request comments.) I'm not going to make my list by clicking indiscriminately on other people's goals. Oh, I'll certainly share goals with other people, but everything on my list will be something I really, truly, want to do.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a camera lens (101photography)
Two I Finished

No. 98: Another row of badges on the camp blanket
Photo )

Well, I tried to take a photo of the entire row, but I had to stand on the bed to do it, and the result was all wobbly and you couldn't see what the badges were - which, to my mind, takes all the fun out it. This, therefore, is a picture of the bottom right hand corner of the embellished portion of my camp blanket. Do you see Würzburg up there at the top right? That's the last badge I added to the blanket before starting 101 in 1001. Edinburgh, down at the bottom right, is the last one. Going by this picture, it looks as if I added two rows; actually, it was only one and a half.

I cheated a little bit - the lion is a cheat, and Snoopy was my reward to myself for finishing NaNoWriMo in 2008. Mostly, though, they're legitimate.

Even in this modest collection you can see evidence of some of the goals I finished. There are three of the cathedrals from no. 20 (the magenta cross of nails is from Coventry); there's Edinburgh - I'd never been to Scotland before, so that took care of no. 68; there's France (no. 39 - there's a badge for Paris off to the left, as well).

This goal was fun, though occasionally frustrating - you wouldn't believe how many touristy kickshaw shops I went into in Durham, looking for a badge. I don't think I'll put it on the next list, but that's because I suspect that it will happen all by itself, just so long as I make myself go to enough interesting places.

No. 18: Herb Garden
Photo )

From the very top left: rosemary, sage (two plants, one happier than the other), chervil, mint, oregano (or perhaps marjoram - it never had a label), parsley, dill (very weedy, but the only one I grew from seed), tarragon, lemon verbena, chives, thyme. Also included in the picture are a lot of dead ivy leaves, which drop off the tree above the herb patch quicker than I can pick them up.

Some of these plants came from the Guildford house, where they had been permanently in pots, and were put into the earth pretty much as soon as we moved. Most of those have responded very well - all apart from the rosemary, which received wisdom says is impossible to kill. None the less, I seem to be managing it. Oh well.

Others came from the herb stall at the Guildford summer festival, and a couple more, along with the lavender out the front, from Woking market.

It's not the beautiful Elizabethan knot garden I had in my mind, but it's herbs, and they're growing in my garden, and I cook with them. I don't think I can ask for much more, really.

Two I Didn't

No. 40: get photos printed and create album of university years

Photo )

This is an easy one, it's a cheap one, and it just didn't get done because I didn't get around to it. (The 101 in 1001 game is intended to facilitate the breeding of round tuits, but it didn't work on this one.) By the time the 1001 days were up I'd had the photos printed (thank you, Frank, for the Boots giftcard!) and bought an album. I'd blu-tacked quite a lot of the photos into the album.

I've now got all the photos I want in the right place, I've stuck most of them down with permanent adhesive dots (and run out of permanent adhesive dots) and begun on the captioning. There really isn't any reason why I now shouldn't get it done well before I start on the next list. I have other album projects in mind for that...

No. 9: finish patchwork quilt

Photo )

This is one of the great roll of projects begun, continued and... abandoned at Tolksoc. (Let us be honest here. The only person who ever finished much at Tolksoc was [ profile] jedda, and occasionally me, when I cheated and bought vital bits from the charity shops.) What, you may reasonably ask, has a patchwork quilt got to do with the immortal works of J. R. R. Tolkien? And I am bound to answer, Not much. However, after I'd dressed up as Eowyn for the 2004 party, and Ioreth for the 2005 one, and done my fairy godmother act on various other people's dresses, I'd had about as much of long skirts as I could cope with, so I got out my bag of silks.

Originally it was a collection of remnants from a Suffolk silk mill. Pretty much as soon as I got it I started cutting out diamonds and tacking them to templates. (This was, in fact, even before I went to university, and therefore began well before Tolksoc.) Then I lost interest and abandoned it for a while. In 2005 or 2006 I picked it up again, and that was what I did of a Wednesday evening: evensong, supper, snip and sew.

I think this one would have got finished had it not been for getting married last year. Making two bridesmaids' dresses took a lot of my sewing time, as did other pre-matrimonial tasks. As it was, there are offcuts from my wedding dress (gold) and my bridesmaids' dresses (royal blue) in there. I finished taking the templates out last week. Now all I have to do is put a bottom layer together, get a middle layer, sew the lot together, and quilt.

Not much, then!
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
Where did the last list go wrong?

Here's a selection of mistakes that I made while compiling or carrying out the last list, and some thoughts about how I'm going to avoid them this time.

Time and Money
Apart from the blessed three years of my degree, when my rent was paid for me and I occasionally had as few as four hours in a week when I had to be in a lecture theatre, my experience has been that when I have time I have no money, and when I have money I have no time. I didn't consider this when I was making up the last list, and had both some very time-consuming goals, and some very expensive ones.

Some didn't get done because I couldn't justify spending that much money on them. Some didn't get done because I was too busy working to earn the money to do them to be able to do them. When I had a month out of work and could have walked from St Bees to Robin Hood Bay, I couldn't have afforded to do it.

Interestingly, it wasn't on the whole the completely frivolous expensive goals that really stand out in my mind as having suffered from this. My tastes are, on the whole, inexpensive. (It helped that [ profile] countertony occasionally used my 101 in 1001 as a glorified wishlist - almost all the 'Buy X' goals that I completed were actually bought for me as presents.) No, it's boring, practical, old 'Pass driving test'.

Life Happens
...particularly when one of your goals is to make life happen. I should have known.

I made my list on the Isle of Wight. Actually, I didn't. I made it in Germany, but I had the Isle of Wight, my parents' houses, in mind, and it shows. I hadn't thought about what moving out (a goal that was very high up the list, and one that was completed within a month) would mean for it. It's not just things like 'Walk the Isle of Wight Coastal Path' - that was easy enough to swap out. It was things like 'get rid of a book every week'. For the six months that I was in The Bedsit I could have counted the books that I could have got rid of on one hand. And everything I said above, in spades: suddenly I was paying rent, and suddenly I had a lot less money to play with. And I didn't have much to play with in the first place.

Next time, I'll allow myself more wiggle room. I'll think more carefully about how I'm going to achieve my goals, and whether they're dependent upon my being resident in Surrey, in the UK, near London, or whatever. I'll bear in mind that I'm not even single in the legal sense any more, and that this will have a bearing on the things I choose to do.

Things Change, People Change

I covered 'things' above, I think. But people have also been known to change. Specifically, I changed during the 1001 days of the last list, and some things I wrote down at the beginning didn't really interest me at the end. I'm strongly considering leaving about ten goals blank when I write this list, and putting in new goals as I develop new skills and new interests. For example - earlier this year, in a last ditch attempt to get rid of some books, I joined - and immediately got hooked on leaving books in interesting places for other people to find. Now, that would have made a fantastic goal, if only I'd thought to make it one.

Chaucer's Too Big For My Handbag

Back to books again. I had some fairly ambitious reading projects on the last list. Three books by Dickens. The Faerie Queene. The Bible. Shakespeare's plays. The Canterbury Tales. Some of those I finished, and some I didn't.

The ones I didn't? It wasn't the language of centuries past that was difficult - it was reading it in a book that weighs more than two kilograms.

The ones I finished? They all came in volumes that were small enough to put in my handbag and read on the bus, or train, to work.

This is the same principle as eating the elephant: one bite at a time. One verse at a time - it becomes one chapter, or one scene, or one act, or one novel, or one play. If I'd bought a 'Complete Works of Shakespeare' I'd have been lost. Rather, I read All's Well That Ends Well, and then took it back to the library, and got out another one. Repeat that nearly forty times, and you've read the plays of Shakespeare.

If, on the other hand, the book is so big that you can really only read it in bed, you're cutting out a lot of potential reading time. I needed every minute of that reading time if I wanted to finish all those books, and I didn't get it, because I didn't think it through.

And, finally,

Writing Something On A List Doesn't Make It Happen

Not by itself. Writing it down is a useful first step, because if nothing else it reminds you that you want to do it, but it doesn't magically make anything happen. You also have to take the second step, and the third, and the fourthfifthsixthseventheighth and so on until it's done.

It sounds so obvious, but I swear that half the goals I didn't manage failed because I didn't take them any further than writing them down.

This time I'll have a better plan. No goal will make it onto the list until I have a reasonable idea not only of what it is and why I want to do it, but also how, when and where I'm going to do it.
stapsdoes101things: '101' superimposed on a stylised picture of a teapot (Default)
In the autumn of 2007, I spent two months au pairing my three small cousins in Germany. In my spare moments, between reading about die kleine Menschenzahnefresser and scraping dried Weetabix off the dining table, I put together a list of 101 things to do in the space of 1001 days. On the whole, they were things that I thought would help me to move on in my life.

And on the whole, they did. When I got back to the UK and the clock started I moved out of my father's house, I found myself a job, I got rid of a lot of junk and picked up some more junk. I also did some things that weren't on the list - I got engaged; I got married. In the course of that I managed a couple more tasks. Have a look here for assorted updates from the coalface.

On my 25th birthday, the 1001 days came to an end. I had completed 47 of the 101 things, and on balance I was quite pleased with that. OK, so it was a less than 50% success rate, but that's still 47 things I might not have got round to doing otherwise. That's not bad going.

And so here I am, ready to give it another go. Actually, I'm not quite ready. This time I want to do better. This time I'm aiming for 101 out of 101. This time I'm going to take my time over making my list; and I'm certainly not going to start it right in the middle of some fairly major life changes.

Last time I fixed the dates so I'd finish on a significant date: my 25th birthday. This time I don't have any convenient anniversaries that fall in about two and three quarter years' time. I don't really have any significant dates in the next few months, either. So when to start? The new year, of course -

- but which? In the course of everyday life, I find myself working on four different years: calendar, academic, church and financial. I thought I'd seen the last of the academic year when I graduated from university, but when you're married to a postgrad and you sing in a choir that relies on school-age children for the top line, the academic year retains its importance. However, that would mean beginning in early September, and I have quite a few other things to worry about in August.

I've never been much of a one for dates; it's as much as I can do to remember people's birthdays, and the fact that we turn the calendar over... isn't really very exciting. The financial year isn't very exciting, either, and besides, it's a long time until April.

I've decided to start on Advent Sunday, which this year falls on 28th November. In the Church, Advent is when everything starts getting interesting. [In the Northern hemisphere] it's dark and cold outside, but indoors people are doing their best to spread joy and light, preparing for the greatest joy and the greatest light. Advent is a time for looking forward, a time of hope, expectation, and preparation. Advent is going to be an excellent time to begin.

So is this blog going to be dead until November? No. I need a list first, and I'll be using the coming months to hash it out. I'll be doing that here.

August 2013

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