Wednesday, September 21, 2011

400 Days In

It's hard for me to grasp that I've been working on the DayZero project for just over a year now ... I'm still just as excited and motivated about achieving the goals I've set as I was in the beginning.  However, I'm also starting to hear that Jeopardy theme music in the back of my head as I wonder if I'll get them all in before my time runs out!

The last 100 days, basically this summer, have been filled with activities not related to my goals list.  I spent a great deal of time on the road to visit family in early June - which unfortunately broke up one of the long-term goals I had started.  I began again and then spent almost every free day this summer repairing and painting in my house - definitely things that needed to be done and I'm glad they are finished; however, it cut into the time I spent working on this list - and again, I had to restart the long-term goal after missing it several weeks.  Just as I finished painting, I completed the goal of auditioning for a community theater role - I'm enjoying the prospect of being back on stage, but the rehearsals (and learning lines) do take time away from other things.

So, I'm dubbing this past tenth of my time as the "lost days" and gearing up for tackling more projects as fall settles in.  I've been enjoying PostCrossings immensely ... in the past couple of days, I received postcards from four different countries!  I'm working on the walking goal intently, trying to increase my speed just a bit each day.  I have been working on each of the reading goals ... aiming to always have a book in my "to read" stack that fits into either the classic, Dewey, or new popular author categories.  The goal that I've had to keep restarting my clock on is playing my harp every week - the combination of being out of town on weekends or having furniture moved between rooms to the point of not having a place to sit and play was a bit frustrating - I'm telling myself just to look at it as more time to enjoy learning the instrument.  I started working on memorizing more poetry, but I think I need to get through the fall play and the lines that I need to know there before I return to that one. 

I also have decided to modify goal #28.  Originally, I was going to try to beat all of the levels in Zoo Tycoon, a computer game that I own and play sporadically.  However, I also play Zoo World on Facebook, and it seems to be eating up more and more of my time as I progress in levels.  So, I'm substituting beating the levels in Zoo Tycoon to finishing the highest achievement level (currently 105) in Zoo World, and then I plan to quit playing it entirely so I have more time in the mornings for other things.

Other things I'm working on, but not as extensively at the moment:  the photography course I'm taking, planning a trip to Mexico with a friend in February, weight loss (I'm an usherette in a wedding next August and the thought of those wedding photos is a great motivator), some stargazing to learn new constellations (after some time just fooling with it, I finally figured out last week how the StarWalk app I purchased last fall works, so I'm looking forward to some time later in the fall out under the night sky), and thinking about possible parties that could work into some of my goals.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

#35 - Winery Daytrip

I grew up in a family that almost never drank alcohol.  I'm not sure why ... there wasn't a family history of alcoholism, it wasn't against my parents' religion, and we certainly used plenty in the favored family holiday dish of sauerbraten ... my Dad even made wine from grapes on the farm starting when I was in my teens, but the family joke called it "cough medicine" and other than a small glass when someone had a cold or a taste test on a holiday, it wasn't served.  Consequently, when I hit adulthood, I didn't know much about mixed drinks, wine, or even beer.

Most of the time, this hole in my knowledge isn't a big deal - I've found a store that gives accurate shelf labels on the beverages they sell and feel confident using their serving suggestions.  Dinner guests at my house always have a choice between beverages and generally I'm drinking lemonade or sparkling juice or whatever rather than the wine on the table.  My close friends know that I am vehemently opposed to personally driving after having even a small glass of wine, and I'm okay with drinking water even if everyone else is having something "more adult" so they don't feel offended when I pass on a glass of something.  However, a couple of times, I've been embarrassed by my lack of knowledge ... a reader's theater session where I tripped over names of every single wine variety in my lines, some more casual friends who seem a bit perturbed when I stop after one glass, a fancy dinner out where I <gasp> reached for the wrong type of wine first and got teased.

The main building of the winery
So, I've started keeping track of wines that I try ... mostly to find out what I like but also to educate myself.  A perfect way to try a bunch of wines seemed to be to visit a winery and do a tasting.  So, my friend Nina (as designated driver) and I set out to the Forestedge Winery.  This winery is a bit out of the way (in the Cass Lake area), but they make fruit wines rather than the more common grape wines, and I wanted to try something a little harder to come by. 

Bistro seating area at the winery
The owners offer a free tasting and tour of the facilities to visitors.  Unfortunately, they only offer wines, so if you go and one member of your group is not drinking, that individual will not have options to try.  I got to taste far more varieties than I expected ... 10 in all.  And, since I admitted to not knowing much about wine, Paul also gave me a general lesson in tasting wines.  There was only one that I didn't particularly like - the Chokecherry variety ... which tastes like chokecherries right off the tree.  Since I grew up loving chokecherry jelly, I was expecting something much, much sweeter and less bitter.  The most unexpected variety was the Rhubarb wine; I don't like rhubarb and didn't expect to like the taste, but it was light and crisp and I think it would taste excellent with the white chocolate fruit tart that I sometimes make.  Two varieties tasted just like I expected ... Apple and Strawberry ... while I did purchase a bottle of the Apple; I left the Strawberry for someone else since I like my strawberries as fruit and not liquids.

John and Nina share a laugh by the bottling machine.
A monarch on the flowers
Look at how much he has in his cheeks!
After the tasting was over, we also were given a brief tour of the production area by John (another of the owners).  It was smaller than I expected, but everything was gleaming clean.  Then we wandered through the little gallery and took a look at the gardens.  The zinnias were in full bloom, and there were several butterflies basking on them.  A chipmunk was also busily collecting fallen acorns from the nearby oak trees. 

I did purchase some wines before we left ... my family will have the opportunity to taste the Rhubarb wine at Thanksgiving, one of my other goals is to host a tasting for friends and some will show up there, and the rest can wait in my basement for just the right occasion ...
A rainbow of fruit wine choices

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#18 - All the World's a Stage (and #64)

I love theater - watching or participating all the way from those elementary shows that invariably include some kid stealing the show by doing something embarrassingly wrong to full scale professional productions where you wonder how in the world they can do that.  I was involved with high school productions both on and back stage, but, other than attending shows (when I could afford it), it was another 15 or so years before I became directly involved with performances again.

Pirates of Penzance -
the 1st show I costumed for community theater
Kismet -
the most recent show I've costumed
A friend convinced me to join the local theater committee shortly after I moved here - I think I was appointed the committee secretary at the first meeting I attended - thanks Sarah ;).  However, being a part of the committee meant being in the loop ... and before too long I was asked to be part of a project matching actors with with first time directors.  I both directed a one-act (and discovered that I have almost zero interest in that particular facet on theater productions) and acted in a different piece.  After a bit more stage time in two other projects, the spring musical director asked if I would help with costumes despite my protests that I wasn't much of a seamstress.  That show - Pirates of Penzance - was one of the most enjoyable productions that I've ever been involved with.  Over the next few years, I became more involved with the costume aspects of community theater ... with lots of guidance from my friend Nina, I even have become a passable seamstress.  However, I don't really enjoy sewing, and costuming involves lots and lots of time - most of which was spent fretting over cutting patterns and my sewing machine rather than hanging out with everybody backstage.  So, after the year where I worked on two shows simultaneously (one for community theater and the other for the local elementary school) which is something I don't recommend for people who wish to remain sane, I decided I needed a break.

However, I've been thinking that I'd like to be out ON the stage again and decided to add auditioning to my DayZero list.  So, last week, I tried out for the fall show here.  It made me a bit nervous to be reading lines cold since I haven't actually auditioned for a part for over 20 years (I've just been asked to fill in gaps more recently), but I'm happy to report that I did receive a role.  The show is Almost, Maine, and the first rehearsal is tonight.  And, I should really be memorizing lines right now!

As a small side note, I also completed goal #64 last week.  It was one of my financial savings goals, so I'm not going to go into all the details.