Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tag: You're It!

Photograph by Jacob Walsh
At the beginning of the year, I started tagging one of my Facebook friends each day. I explained it with my first post: 

"Last year, Matthew Allison tagged a different Facebook friend each year. He began each post with "(Over 365 Facebook friends, one tagged each day in 2013!)" and then shared some little bit about the person and how they knew each other. I don't have *that* many friends, so I plan to also tag pages that I follow. Since Matt is my inspiration, I'll begin with him. We both work at Queens Library, and we first met during a 'staff appreciation' event during National Library Week in 2007. He's super into skate boarding and writing, and I like how he balances being laid back yet dedicated to improvement. Determined yet accepting of life's twists and turns. Cheers!"

It's been a fun exercise in writing and in appreciation. I added the names of all my friends, along with certain pages and groups, to a spreadsheet and ordered it by first name. After starting with Matt, I selected each daily pick using the RANDOM.ORG True Random Number Generator and plugging in the spreadsheet row span. Once I feature a friend, I remove that person from the spreadsheet. I started with 270 friends, groups, or pages. My opening sentence is now: Over 365 Facebook friends, groups, or pages. One tagged each day in 2014!  Perhaps I will add new folks to the spreadsheet as I go along and perhaps I will stop once September is over.  

I keep thinking a number will come up and I'll groan, "Ugh, not that person!" Instead, each time I have been excited to see where my jumbled memories and mused tapping lead me. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

38 Things

Giant Kitten assists with writing.
Now that I'm 38, I made a list of 38 things to (maybe) do. 

1. Costa Rica
2. More! Canada! More!
3. Destination half-marathon

Health, Wellness, and General Good
4. Repeat vegan-for-a-month.
5. Volunteer with Healing Arts Initiative.
6. Go skiing or ice skating.
7. Join Citi Bike once stations arrive in neighborhood (Park Slope).

Organization and Finances 
8. 52 Week Money Challenge
9. Cut money on food in half.
10. Make more money.

Exploration and Learning
11. Knit!
12. Do book-a-day with mostly children's books.
13. Take children's literature, development, or services class.
14. Do book challenges.
15. The Great Saunter
16. Enjoy the fuck out of SXSWi.
17. Learn to draw comics.
18. Make pottery.
19. Take a sewing class with Megan.
20. Eat foods listed on 100 Foods To Eat Before You Die. 
21. Read a different best-selling author monthly.
22. Do crossword puzzles.
23. Watch AFI's 100 Years 100 Movies

24. Send holiday cards.
25. Facebook friend, page, and group tagging - one a day for 270 days. 
26. Dance, motherfucker, dance.
27. Find Susan a boyfriend.
28. Hack dating.
29. Get a boyfriend. 

30. Keep a diary, write a page a day, or update blog. 
31. Write letters.
32. NaNoWriMo -- this is the year!
33. Submit a Metropolitan Diary.
34. Edit Wikipedia entries

35. Rollovers
36. New glasses!
37. Stop dressing like a social studies teacher.
38. Lose 10%.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

37, er, 15 Things

With less than 24 hours until the unveiling of 38 Things (and my 38th birthday!), I present the 37 15 Things I accomplished this year.

4. Enter 12 races: Cherry Tree 10 Miler, NYC Half, Colon Cancer Challenge 15K, More Half, Brooklyn Half, Portugal Day (5 Miles), ALA Think Fit 5K Fun Run, MLB All-Star 5K, Queens 10K, Grete's Great Gallop, Staten Island Half,  and the best of all: PPTC Turkey Trot (5 Miles)!
5. Volunteer at races: See previous post.
6. Join a running club: Prospect Park Track Club.
7. Buy new running shoes: I bought TWO pairs.

Health, Wellness, and General Good
10. Eat more vegetables.
11. Drink more water.
12. Take lunch (at least 30 minutes) and break every day.
13. Be vegan for a month: This really deserves its own post, but I fell in love with the cookbook Isa Does It and I am committed to eating more vegan things and reviving vegan-for-a-month annually.

Organization and Finances
18. Purchase file cabinets: I selected a more economical model and I spent three days of my March vacation filing and organizing everything I own. I am pleased to report that if I am hit by a bus, my parents will be able to sift through my papers and possessions with ease. You're welcome, family.
20. Update resume: My lovely employer listed several positions recently. This inspired me to update my resume. I also produced a document of accomplishments and activities for my annual review that takes place in February.

24. Have fun with the Polite Society Adventure Club: This started strong and tapered off once Megan, Kelly, and I realized we were usually the only attendees of the events we planned. That said, I had tons of fun Bike the Branches, playing Twin Peaks Bingo at Videology, and visiting the New Museum for NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.
26. Celebrate as many birthdays as possible.

Exploration and Learning
28. Take Knife Skills class at Brooklyn Kitchen on 4/30: I might have forgotten all I learned. That's what handouts and YouTube are for, right?

35. Travel somewhere that requires a passport and is not related to a library conference: Montreal! I loved everything about my visit except maybe the excruciatingly long return train trip. Pro tip: If you're crossing a border, bring your damn passport.
37. Say "Yes!": Seeing Aimee Mann and Ted Leo ("The Both") at the Bell House with Jeff on 9/11.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

On the last day of the year, I lined up the items I would need for the night's race: fleece hat, wool scarf, gloves, and an empty Thermos. Instead of running New York Road Runners Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, I opted to volunteer for the event's festival. One of my 37 Things including volunteering at more races and (until the moment I arrived in Central Park), I had failed in this endeavor.

The volunteer coordinator described my mission:“Your job is to be helpful.” I donned on a bright orange vest that identified me as VOLUNTEER and walked the perimeter of the area surrounding the Bandshell and tried to look merry and bright. As a librarian, the “Ask Me Anything” conversation bubble floats permanently above my head. While the event does include a four-mile race around the park, tourists and spectators flock to the free outdoor dance party and midnight fireworks display. A large part of my "job" for the night included pointing people towards the port-a-pots, recommending where to stand for the fireworks, and directing the runners to the baggage check and starting line.

Even with the freezing weather and numb extremities, it was the perfect way to break in the new year: in a glorious park in an amazing city, supporting the running community and surrounded by people old and young, from near and far. I sipped watered-down hot chocolate, wiggled to the music, and tried desperately to help people find the nearest subway station. I always fail to exit the park in an efficient manner. I think I'm heading west only to find myself on the east side. Once I'm in the middle of the park, I forget the path that took me there. Despite this, I choose to believe that my vague pointing, thoughtful pauses, map glancing, and perky instructions led all to be where they intended. 

Happy New Year!