Why Top 45?

These are the things that float to the top of my list of activities that I want to do for the year 2012 when I am 45 years old. The list is comprised of things that I have either never tried or have wanted to try and just didn't have the courage or time to do it. Follow along and watch my progress and feel free to comment or add words of encouragement to help keep me going for the next 365 days!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


It has been a great Thanksgiving week!

To start the weekend off right, I attended the Texas vs. Kansas State game on Saturday courtesy of my awesome neighbor Chris.

Chris has season tickets to UT Football games and she had an extra ticket so I got to tag along.  We started the evening tailgating with her regular group where I probably had one too many hard ciders and at least two too many chicken wings.  Even with the excess of food and drink and the Texas defeat, I had a fun time with Chris, Forest, Kay, Mike and Joan.  The picture above shows our view of the pregame festivities.  I felt quite nostalgic at this scene because I was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity, whose job it is to run the flag at the start of the game.  For some reason, I have not been really into UT sports and gradually the urge to participate in watching the games has come back and I am really enjoying being included in the festivities.  Even though we lost to KSU, the win against Texas A & M on Thanksgiving as the last game on our regular schedule against the Aggies, took the sting out of the home game loss in my mind.

To end this week of thanks, I attended the UT vs. Sam Houston State basketball at the Erwin Center courtesy of my neighbor Chris, again.

Since Chris was off enjoying a long holiday weekend with her extended family, she offered me the tickets so of course I had to oblige.  Alison and I started the evening at Haddington's http://www.haddingtonsrestaurant.com/eat/ for drinks and appetizers before heading to the game.  I ate some yummy grilled quail & risotto while Alison tried the truffled egg custard.  I don't know if that dish was good because she didn't share ; ), but since she ate the whole thing, I think it was.  After one or three drinks (I was driving so I was the 'one' and she was the 'three') we headed on over to the game.  We walked in just at the start and proceeded to watch SHSU take an early lead and it took both of us a few minutes to realize which team to cheer for because SHSU's color is orange.  Eventually we took the lead and kept it for the rest of the game winning by a score of 56-40.  I enjoy going to live games from time to time, but both Alison and I agree that if the hassle out weighs the pleasure, then sometime watching things on TV in the comfort of our homes is not such a bad thing.

This week's Longhorns' activities are just practice for 'the List' as I have a UT football game as one of the things I hope to do next year. 

I figure I am not cheating, just practicing for my year in 2012.

Happy Thanksgiving!


It is a rainy day here in Austin, this Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for so many things and the sound of rain here is definitely one of them.  I have been contemplative lately about some things in my life so I have not been posting much recently and will soon bring my attention back to my list because this year is rapidly coming to an end and then begins the adventure of next year.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Sorry for the brief delay in posting.   I find this time of year to be difficult for me because I need to look for motivation instead of hibernation.  On top of difficulty with the lack of sunlight, I have actually been busy with clients, which is great in this economy as a realtor, but it is keeping me from my training which in turn keeps me motivated.  Can you see the vicious cycle I am battling right now?

Seriously though, I did have to make a trip to the Texas Orthopedics to have my left foot looked at because it has been bothering me quite a bit for about two weeks.  Nothing showed up on the x-rays, but my lovely doctor suggested that I get some orthotics for my feet to help with arch support and metatarsal cushion.  I promptly bought several pairs for various shoes and along with the ibuprofen regimen, my feet are back to happy feet.  Now to do something about my schedule and getting to work out...

Thanksgiving is this coming week so my goal is to get back into the swing of swimming and getting to the gym the week after next....

I will finish the discussion of my list this week then be back online after the holiday weekend.

Feel free to leave a comment or a story about what keeps you motivated, I could use them this time of year!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just Because

 Just do it
  1. Blanton Opening – January (Go West! Exhibit opens Jan 14)
  2. AMOA Opening - ?
  3. Wine & Food Festival – La Dolce Vita October
  4. Opera – Turandot - April
  5. Broadway Across America – Wicked - January
  6. UT football game - November
  7. Symphony – December (Handel’s Messiah or Christmas Sing-Along)
  8. Ballet – Romeo & Juliet - May
  9. Paramount Theater show or movie - Summer
  10. Volunteer for Thanksgiving or Christmas
  11. Texas Advocacy Project Volunteer (Handbags for Hope?)
  12. SXSW - March
  13. Austin Film Festival - October

The biggest section of my list is titled, "Just Do It."  These items really are just showing up for an event or activity.  I have had a love of art for many, many years, so it isn't surprising that the list below is heavy on art or creative expression in many ways.  I plan on going to an opening at the University of Texas Blanton museum in January, and Austin Museum of Art opening to be determined and plan on at least one broadway, ballet, opera and symphony performance next year.  We are lucky in Austin because it is one of only a few cities in the United States that has a ballet, opera and symphony all in the city.  I have already bought my Wicked tickets and will be taking Nicole to see it.  As I mentioned previously, this will be my 4th time to see it and Nicole's second.  I splurged on really good seats saying that it will be the last time I see it, but I am not guaranteeing that.

I have been to La Dolce Vita before to help support the AMOA.  It is an awesome event held at Laguna Gloria Art Museum each year and I still remember the first time I attended, even though I don't recall how I fell asleep on my couch afterwards and didn't move until the next morning, sleeping through the night in my clothes...must have been the wine!  

Two Austin events that draw many people to Austin are SXSW and Austin Film Festival.  I have been to the music portion of SXSW several times and got away from attending due to the crowds.  This coming year, I really want to do all three parts including the interactive, movies and music.  As for the Austin Film Festival, they play some really unusual films and I think I would like to go to some of the events that are held around the city.  In a similar theme, the Paramount Theater has a summer movie series annually and they play all kinds of movies including Hitchcock and older Hollywood movies that you normally can't see on the big screen.

I added two volunteer projects to the list, HEB's Thanksgiving of Sharing and the Texas Advocacy Project's Handbags for Hope.  I have never done either of these events and they are causes that I want to support including feeding the homeless and helping women from abusive situations.

Last but not least, I will be going to at least one UT home game.  I am a Longhorn fan and try to get to one home game each year.  As I mentioned before, I am not into crowds all that much and like watching games from the comfort of my home, but it is good to do things outside our comfort level from time to time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Still Crazy - Paul Simon Inspires

Still Crazy After All These Years

Last night I had the awesome opportunity to see Paul Simon in concert at Cedar Park Center where there is not a bad seat in the house.

Several months ago I was watching my favorite show, CBS Sunday Morning, and drinking my coffee when a story about Paul Simon was featured.  I really enjoyed the story and the next morning I commented to my neighbor, John, about how much I enjoyed it and could not believe that Paul was 70 and still doing what he is doing.  John is a musician, so not surprisingly, he was sorry that he missed the story and I filled him in on as many details as I could remember thinking this thread would end there.  Serendipitously, a few mornings later, I was letting my radio/alarm set to KGSR wake me up and I heard Paul Simon singing Graceland.  As soon as the song ended, the D.J. announced the upcoming concert to Austin/Cedar Park.  When I mentioned this to John, he said that maybe we could all go to see him and I was quite excited because I had never seen Paul Simon in concert before.

Unfortunately, John couldn't make the concert, so I went with Suzy and Alison last night and we were not disappointed one bit!  Paul is an amazing performer, still has an amazing voice and really seems to enjoy playing his music as do all of the other musicians surrounding him onstage.  I kept remarking how great it was to see so many instruments being used along with so many talented individuals.  He sang lots of old songs along with some from his new album, So Beautiful or So What.  I especially liked the song Rewrite because I think, like many of us, we would love to rewrite parts of our lives that maybe didn't go as we had planned and in the end, we make peace with the past in order to move forward.  As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "I find that great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving."

Paul is quite an inspiration to me and really helps me see that my list of the Top 45 is not a task that is impossible to finish and is an adventure to get excited about and that age shouldn't stop us from setting goals and living our dreams.  It seems that Paul does not stand still and 'his direction' is forward.

Special thanks to Edie, John, Suzy and Alison for a great night!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fun Fest!

Below is my list of 'fun' things. 
  1. Passport Vacation
  2. Trip with Kim, Stacy and other peeps - August
  3. Paragliding - August
  4. Surfing lessons - August
  5. Snowboarding/snow ski - December
  6. Drink Chateau d’Yquem (Alternate?)
  7. Chicken Shit Bingo – January
  8. Zip lining in the Hill Country -March

These items are purely fun, pretty much no stress and just things that I have been wanting to try and just have never gotten around to it.

I have not been on a 'passport' vacation in a couple of years and I just renewed my passport so it is time to get some new stamps in it.  One of the determining factors on this one will be cost, but I might be able to get to Mexico for fairly cheap or even take a cruise which would require my passport for ports-of-call.  Regardless of the trip, my passport will be used next year.

I am planning a trip to San Diego to visit some friends and check off a few things on the list.  When I worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, I used to watch people paraglide in La Jolla.  I have been parasailing and LOVED it and the main thing that sticks in my mind from that experience is that when you are up high above the ocean, it is pure silence and so peaceful.  I won't be going solo, but they do offer tandem rides near where I used to work, so that is a no brainer.  Also, I never tried surfing when I lived in SoCal for three years so I am kind of going back in time to check it off.  To be honest, while living there, I didn't get in the water that much even though I spent a good bit of time on the beach.  The Pacific is pretty chilly and even for a water lover, I HATE cold water.  The trip is planned in August so hopefully the water will be at its warmest.  I have invited some of my peeps on this trip so it should be a lot of fun.

Last year, Nicole and I visited one of my former students who lives in the Denver area.  We had an incredible time playing in the snow and seeing wildlife.  Nicole is dying to go back and I plan on making a trip of it next December.  I have only snow skied once many years ago in Maine.  It was not the best experience because a) I had never skied before and the mountains were probably more ice than snow and b) it was so cold and windy that my eyes would tear up and then the moisture would freeze on my eyelashes making it difficult to see.   Nicole and I did some sledding last year and on the next trip, I want to try to snow ski or snow board at least one afternoon.

After reading 'The Help' in book club, we were going to go and try Chicken Shit Bingo after seeing the movie, but it was planned for the middle of summer and none of us really wanted to go sit outside in the 100+ heat to watch a chicken poop on a bingo board hoping they would do so on our chosen number.   We will now make it to CSB in the better weather that Austin has to offer and you can read a review of it on Yelp here http://www.yelp.com/biz/ginnys-little-longhorn-saloon-austin.

Another Austin area event will be zip lining in the Hill Country.  I have zip lined before in Jamaica and really enjoyed it, so it would be great to do it again.  You can see pictures here, http://www.wimberleyzipline.com/zipline-info/index.htm.  I had to change the date to March, because apparently they are closed until the end of February, but spring in Austin is amazing.

Finally, I have drink a Chateau d'Yquem with some friends on the list.  I listed it as "Alternate" because I am not sure if I can find a bottle that is in a price range I can afford so I will have to see.  If this doesn't work out, I will find a really good bottle of something and still toast with it when I make it to the end of the list.

If you want to take part in any of these things, let me know and I will give specific dates for the adventures.