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!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Apple Workshop - iPhone

To some people, this is like Mecca:

I spent a measly hour here taking an iPhone 4 workshop to help me learn the ins and outs of my new phone.  I say measly, not because the instruction was bad, on the contrary, it is just going to take many more hours to learn everything the iPhone can do.

Marv, our instructor, did a great job showing some of the neat tricks like using the '+' key to take photos instead of the 'button' on the screen as well as some cool ways to use the map to identify bad traffic areas to and from your destinations.  He touched a little on the Siri features and I am sure an hour alone could be dedicated to that.  I look forward to playing with it some more on all the free time that I have (that was stated with a little sarcasm, of course).

The final photo of the class is of my classmates who are all first-time iPhone owners.

Watch out here we come! 
(of course no texting while driving...)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Birthday Month

I have several friends who don't just celebrate their birthdays on one day, but spread it out over the entire month.  I guess I am kinda spreading it out over a year...

As my birthday month comes to a close, I realize that I hadn't really bought myself a gift, so today I did.  Drum roll please. . .

I will be taking an Apple class on Saturday, one of the items on my list, and will write more about my purchase then.

More to come. . . 

Monday, January 23, 2012


This email was in my inbox a couple of days ago...

I had to laugh because I don't really feel like I am "AARP" material but my great/grand niece, Grace made me feel otherwise.  My nephew, Matt, was in town visiting for the weekend introducing his fiancee, Cat, to the rest of us and his 6-year old daughter Grace came, too.  Nicole, Grace and I were driving to pick up two other cousins, Kali and Eileen, and the discussion turned to age.  I asked Grace how old she was now and she told me 6.  Being the polite young lady that she is, she asked me how old I was.  When I responded, "45," she laughed and said, "Really, how old are you?" and when I repeated, "45," she exclaimed, "WOW!"  I am trying to take it as a compliment that I don't look my age, but I think she was in disbelief that she knew someone that age.

As promised, here is a revised list of the Top 45 for this year.  Not much really has changed, but it helps me to revisit it and remember that I better keep my rear in gear to accomplish it all before December 31.  I did slightly change the SXSW part to only include the movie portion because I just don't think I will have the energy to do all three parts.  Plus, if I have to do something by myself, I don't mind and feel safe going to a movie theater alone, not so much going down 6th street to hear music.  I have accomplished two things already so I am on my way!

    •    Get physical exercise 5-6 times a week for 45 weeks - Ongoing
    •    Austin 5k - TBD
    •    Danskin Triathlon - June
    •    Austin Triathlon - September
    •    135/8 - Ongoing
    •    Masters swimming meet - TBD
    •    Diva Dash - April
    •    Change Hair - January
    •    Passport Vacation - TBD
    •    Trip to San Diego with Kim & Stacy and others – July/August
    •     Paragliding - August
    •     Surfing  - August
    •     Snowboarding/skiing – November/December
    •     Chicken S*&t Bingo - March
    •     Zip lining - March
    •     Make bed each weekday morning - Ongoing
    •     Plant garden/produce veggies and herbs - Spring
    •     Get an egg from hens - Spring
    •     Empty kitchen sink each weekday night - Ongoing
    •     Redecorate Nicole’s room for 10th birthday - June
    •     Blanton Opening - TBD
    •     AMOA Opening - Janauary
    •     Wine & Food Festival – La Dolce Vita – October
    •     Opera – Lucia di Lammermoor – February
    •     Broadway Across America – Wicked – February
    •     Ballet – Romeo & Juliet – May
    •     Paramount Theater – Summer
    •     UT Football home game - TBD
    •     Symphony - December
    •     Volunteer for Thanksgiving or Christmas
    •     Texas Advocacy Project – Handbags for Hope
    •     SXSW – Focus Movie – March
    •     Austin Film Festival – October
    •     One handwritten note a month to Nicole – Ongoing
    •     Creative Writing Class – DOM
    •     Photography Class - TBD
    •     Art Class - TBD
    •     Top 45 at 45 Blog – Ongoing
    •     Courage to Change Blog – Ongoing
    •     The Artist’s Way morning pages and art dates – Ongoing
    •     iPhone Apple class – January
    •     Practice French – Ongoing
    •     Whole Foods or Central Market Cooking class - TBD
    •     Organize Family Birthday Calendar
    •     Livestrong Challenge – October

As I mentioned in the last post, several items will be crossed off the end of this month/beginning of February...


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, I attended my first member-only preview at Laguna Gloria Art Museum with my friend, Greg.  The preview was featuring the artists Lauren Fenersterstock, Steve Wiman and Buster Graybill.

Of the two exhibits in the main building of Laguna Gloria, I preferred Steve's work.  While I found Lauren's work interesting and could appreciate the attention to detail and the many hours it must have taken her to complete some if it, after a while, it seemed a bit redundant.  My favorite was Steve Wiman's installations.  At one recent exhibit that you can see on his website, http://www.stevewiman.com/newworks.html , titled 'The Currency of Accumulation" and I especially like the symmetry that he is able to strike with his found objects.  It appears that the sphere is one of his favorite shapes and it comes in the form of string balls, ornaments, glass balls, metal balls, etc.  In the picture above, you can see part of his paint brush installation that creates an intriguing landscape.  For me, there was something peaceful in his creations maybe related to the objects, their textures or just their symmetry or it could just be I am familiar with it as Nicole likes to collect objects and often just leaves them lying around, like her crystal collection on the back porch.

The last installation we visited just as the Cedar pollen was taking over my nose, throat and head and causing me to sneeze incessantly, was that of Buster Graybill.  On his website at http://bustergraybill.com/home.html , he describes his work as "I harvest memories, stories, language and objects from the rich cultural geography of rural America and use it as creative fuel."  The installation was rather small and made up of some various sized metal feeders that he created that looked like large Everlasting Gobstoppers from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and photos or screens playing videos that he collected of animals feeding at the feeders he placed around the countryside.

You can see one of the videos here:

This particular video is titled Ramtastic and was originally exhibited at his Artspace exhibition titled "Tush Hog" in 2010.  Greg says he liked this exhibit the best because he was able to see some animals he has never seen before, I just liked it because the name of the video and his exhibition made me giggle.

Coming soon, I am going to enroll Nicole and I in an art class that they offer at The Art School for Parents and kids.  I figure it will be mush more fun checking off this item off my list if I do it with Nicole because she LOVES art.

Coming in the next couple of weeks:
Apple Class
Austin Lyric Opera - Lucia di Lammermoor

Friday, January 13, 2012

REaDy, set, . . .


I have been missing writing here, but I am just now recovered from the crazy birthday weekend, cedar fever and getting my house back in order after Christmas.

As I promised, below is a photo that sort of shows my new RED haircolor:

Well, the red is not as obvious in this picture as I had hoped, but this is the best photo so far.  This photo was taken in the Devo karaoke room at Highball.  My friend, Stacy (upper left-hand corner), came to Austin with David from California to celebrate both our birthdays, hers is the 9th and mine is the 3rd. Alison (right-hand corner in turquoice) and I discovered The Highball on New Year's Eve.  We started the night out with champagne at my place then headed to Highball to sing karaoke for two hours then to dance at the 80s Dance Party.  The two hours of singing flew by and we had to rush through several of the last songs in the queue so I could get to one of my favorite songs, My Own Worst Enemy, by Lit.

Some people may be surprised that this song is one of my favorites of all time because I am not a really big drinker, I don't black out while drinking and rarely do I forget what I say.  I do know that sometimes I can be my own worst enemy when things come out of my mouth that I regret down the road (usually hormone, not alcohol induced), those on the receiving end of those rants know who they are and I apologize to them for that.  This song also reminds me of when I lived in San Diego...I had a lot of fun living there and have happy memories of that time.  It is ironic that this video takes place in a bowling alley because Highball is a glorified bowling alley with Karaoke rooms and a dance area with a stage.  We danced close to closing time because every time we thought we would leave, another great 80s song would come on and we would rush back to the dance floor.  Unfortunately, I had to work Saturday morning so the fun had to end at some point.

On Saturday, we saw the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  I am still on the fence about which movie version I like better, but the book is still better than the movies in my opinion.  Sunday, I made a late lunch for several friends including more January birthday girls, Leann and Alise.  To celebrate, I made a German Chocolate cake from scratch.  I fell in love with this cake when I was in grade school because my best friend Kim's mom would make this cake for me from time to time.  I have made it so many times for others when they have requested it and decided it was time that I made it for my birthday.

It doesn't look great, but it tastes so good and then you crave it for days after.  Must be the 8 eggs, 3.5 sticks of butter, 4 cups of sugar and coconut and pecans that do it.  It was gone by Monday evening and probably a good thing because I need to start back to eating healthy to meet the rest of my goals for the year.

I am revising the list, just a little bit, and will post the update soon.  I have completed another task this week as well as keeping up with the 'ongoing' ones and will write about that this weekend.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life Happens....

John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  And in my case, when you live in Austin, Texas this time of year, 'life' comes in the form of Cedar Fever which leads to major sinus problems.  I, as most of you know, have some grand plans for myself in 2012, and I am going to have to pause a bit over the next couple of days to regain my strength and health.

Yesterday was my actual birthday and even with my head cold, I managed to take in a yoga class at the Y with my buddy Amy, meet a client and pool inspector to finalize a home purchase, attend an Al-Anon meeting to enrich my spirit and get love and support from friends, have lunch with Kellyn, rest a bit and have dinner with Amy, Alison, Will, my mom and 4 lovely young ladies, Charlotte, Violet, Julia and of course, Nicole.  Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for the heartfelt wishes of happiness on my special day.

All in all it was a lovely day and I look forward to the weekend when there will be more festivities.  I am keeping up with some of the ongoing tasks and as I mentioned in a previous post, can check off one of my tasks as I have colored my hair...for me it is a big deal, for some it may not seem all the different.  I will post an 'after' picture in a day or two when I feel up to taking a picture and my nose is not red from all the kleenex usage, but for now, below is the 'before' picture taken last week.  This picture is of me, Nicole and Fi-fie.  AKA Hosanna Pierre, Fi-fie is the Haitian woman who has been a member of our family since I was a year old.  She is one of the two cooks who taught me my way around the kitchen and to prepare yummy things for people with a lot of love and care.  She will be 98 in April and is as spry as they come. 

More to come. . .

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, I guess this is a belated Happy New Year post since it is actually January 2, 2012. 

This morning while laying in bed playing on my phone, I received the email below:

The title of the email is "Top 12 for 2012" and my initial reaction was, "Doh!" why didn't I think of that!?  NO!  I had to go and set up a list of 45 things I am going to try to accomplish in 2012.  Curse you CompUSA for taking my idea!

Seriously though, I saw the quote below on FB today and it is motivating me this morning.  I have already started the list and have a task to check off, just have to get the accompanying photo taken to post along with the item and will do so today to post either tonight or tomorrow.

I leave you with the thought for today:

"We will open the book.  It's pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Have a great day!