One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

#123 - You're on Candid Camera

You're not really on Candid Camera, but since nobody ever leaves any comments here I thought I'd install a site tracker that will tell me how many people are visiting this site. There's a website called that assigns unique counters to blog sites like this one, so I figured out how to sign up and hook it up this evening. So from now on, I can feel like I'm not just writing for me but I can see if anybody's paying attention! (It would be much easier if you just wrote to say hello once in a while.)

#122 - We ALL Love TV

A few days ago, my wonderful hubby introduced TLG to the magic that is the Disney/Pixar movie "Cars." Since then, that's absolutely all TLG is interested in doing while he's home, practically, is watch that movie. For some reason, until this morning, it's just worked out that he's watching the end of the movie right about the time we need to get ready to leave the house. But not today, oh no. Today I had to turn the movie off and endure almost 15 minutes of temper tantrum about how TLG wanted to keep watching! Now I see why the Baby Einstein/Elmo's World/Bob the Builder videos are all about 30 minutes... because he wanted nothing to do with me, breakfast, changing clothes or getting ready to go on time. This is a small new thing, to be sure, but I will have to plan my attack more carefully tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

#121 - A Sea of Strangers

Today I attended a "celebration of life" for someone I've only met once. This wonderful gentleman passed away last week and I only met him years ago at a work event. At the last minute today, I was asked to go to the celebration on behalf of my organization. It was heart-warming to see such a crowded room, but I felt out of place having only met him once. I felt slightly sheepish offering condolences to his son, but I'm still glad I went so that we could say "thank you" to his family for all he did for our community.

Monday, January 28, 2008

#120 - A Study in Light and Dark

Since we moved into our house almost two years ago, we have had plenty of power outages... enough to make me wonder if that's part of the reason the previous owners left. The most notable one so far was on Christmas Eve 2006, where we almost missed dinner because the power was out for a few hours during prime cooking time. So it was no surprise when the power outages woke us up this morning around 1:30am-ish and again about an hour (or so) later. But it still wasn't on when my surrogate alarm clock (wonderful husband-of-mine) woke me on time. So this morning I showered, did my hair and put on all my makeup by candlelight. I was worried that I couldn't see well enough to do my eyes like normal, but once the power came back at around 7:15am, I did a quick check and all looked OK. I guess all that practicing every day must have paid off in this case! TLG was quite unhappy that I couldn't serve him his normal morning sippy cup of warm milk and turn on the boob tube on time, but he was able to suffice with a few minutes of Sesame Street once the power came back on. So far tonight has been good (knock on wood) so I hope we'll all sleep better over night!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

#119 - 'Fraidy Cat

Tonight TLG and I were home alone. We've had some crazy weather these past few weeks and tonight it was incredibly windy. Tonight's new thing is: TLG and I (and our two dogs) were scared someone was breaking into our house. There wasn't anyone, of course, it was just our screen door flapping in the wind... but it did sound like someone was picking our lock and trying to come inside. This is new for me because growing up, my parents were always there to take care of me, and in our old house I never worried about anyone coming in (heck, our old house wasn't really worth their time anyways...) TLG could tell I was frightened tonight, and it made me feel better when the dogs posted themselves near the front door to protect us.

#118 - Memory Exercises

This evening I was talking to a family member who has noticed a change in her memory retention over the past few months. In an effort to help, I decided that a new thing for today would be to research short-term memory exercises. Unfortunately, many of the things I came up with are things that wouldn't help in my family member's case, including pneumonic devices, concentrating harder, and engaging your brain to remember simple things like numbers. There were also plenty of memory games like I played when I was young, using pictures, logos and audio clips... again, not terribly helpful in this case. I did stumble across a few studies about the links between exercise and short-term memory... if I lived closer to this family member, I'd volunteer to walk together, because really, who couldn't use a little more exercise?

#117 - The Stripper

A few posts ago, I mentioned that TLG had unzipped his p.j.s in the middle of the night and said he was too hot for the one-piece fleece number. So this morning, I went to check on him around 6:00am because I heard him singing "E-I-E-I-O" and found him without any p.j.s at all! TLG undressed himself in the middle of the night all by himself! I realize this is a new thing for him, not for me... but it was just so cute I thought it should count. I asked him if he was getting cold with no clothes on, and he pointed to his blanket and said "Warm blankie." So cute!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

#116 - Catching Up on Old TV

I fell in love with the TV show "Freaks and Geeks" when it aired in the fall of 1999. At the time, everyone kept comparing it to another short-lived show, "My So-Called Life," which starred Claire Danes and was cancelled before a full season could air on TV. Having never watched that show when it aired in the early '90s, I decided it was time... so today I watched the first three episodes of "My So-Called Life" which I rented from Netflix. It seems like a decent show, and I hope I'll like it even more as I continue, but so far it doesn't compare to "F&G." I loved every minute of that show, from the opening minutes of the pilot episode on, and I've tried to follow Judd Apatow and the actors from the show through their various projects over the years. I'm so glad most of the actors from that show have gone on to do great work all over the movies and TV (Linda Cardellini is now on "ER," Jason Segal is on "How I Met Your Mother," Seth Rogen starred in two huge hit movies last summer, and James Franco has been working in movies - most visibly in the Spider Man trilogy). I will continue to watch "MSCL" and hope that it will live up to the hype.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

#115 - Airing My Feelings

I'm a lurker on many websites every day. Many of them are news-related or entertainment-related (I know you are surprised about that). I was horrified yesterday afternoon when I first read that one of my favorite young actors, Heath Ledger, was found dead in his apartment in New York City. I've been thinking about it all day today and so tonight I came out of my shell and posted my thoughts on one of Entertainment Weekly's tribute sites. Of course I post regularly on the web - that isn't new - but when I do take a moment to look at the comments on some of my favorite sites (USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, People) I find that people are arrogant, bad with spelling and punctuation, or so adamant about their point that they ramble forever with no point at all! I don't want to be one of those people, so I don't ever put in my two cents. (I save it all for you, dear reader!) So in order to avoid becoming a rambling idiot, here's today's point: I thought Heath Ledger was a very talented young actor, and I'm very sad to think that his daughter (who is the same age as my little guy) will grow up not knowing her daddy. I am also sorry we won't get to see Mr. Ledger mature on the silver screen. How sad it is that another young life has been cut short.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

#114 - The Ropes

A new staff member started at work today, and I got to show her the ropes. I've never been in a position to show a new worker everything - from introducing them around to getting their office set up... all of it, down to what projects are in the works that they should take over. I have been SUPER excited to get this particular staff member on board and am gung-ho to get everything moving along. She'll be taking over some great, fun stuff I've been working on and I know the project will ultimately benefit greatly from having someone's full attention (as opposed to the meager time I've been able to give). It felt so good to welcome her to the staff and I know we're going to enjoy working together, so that made today's new thing even more exciting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

#113 - Snowball Fight!

As you'll see in my last post, TLG and I were experimenting with new things in the snow today. We also had our first ever snowball fight! Of course it was pretty one-sided, and I imagine once he gets older I'll have to watch my back... but today was really fun. We took turns throwing snow at each other, but TLG didn't really understand packing it into a ball first so it was more of a snow shower. We were also running up and down the driveway away from each other. For a day when I thought many of our neighbors would be home, we were the only ones in the front yard enjoying the snow. It was a memory I'll keep for a long time.

#112 - Sledding, Kind-of

It snowed a bit today, enough to coat our driveway and yard. Since TLG and I were home for the MLK holiday, I bundled him up to try another adventure in the cold outdoors. We even tried to use a sled! (I didn't spend my formative years in a climate where it snowed, so I'm not sure what we own is actually called a "sled" but it's close enough... plus, I have only used a sled once in my teenage years so I am FAR from an expert.) TLG let me pull him down the driveway three times and he smiled for this photo, but I'm not sure either of us got the hang of it enough to be really enjoyable for him.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

#111 - The Music of Friday Night Lights

I have really gotten into the TV show Friday Night Lights, and I am so pleased that they are still running new episodes despite the writers' strike. Now that our computer is back up and working, I was able to complete today's new thing: I researched the music from some of the recent episodes, and downloaded new songs that I heard in the show. I have purchased music from TV shows before, but only on CDs and it was never so immediate... I researched the songs on the website Television Without Pity (linked to the left here), and within a few minutes had the songs I was looking for. Technology is so cool!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

#110 - Making Political History

This morning, I attended the first-ever Nevada caucus. (This photo is me with my precinct's manager.) It was an interesting process, held instead of a primary election, and I had done some homework on how the Democrat and Republican processes were different for their events today. The Democratic caucus was supposed to involve a bunch of crazy math to elect a certain number of delegates from my precinct to attend the county convention in February... but it turns out that my precinct is so small (only 40 registered voters!) that we were strictly a winner-takes-all precinct with one delegate to elect. But I was proud of our small-but-mighty precinct, with 22 of 40 people showing up today! I was happy to hear that the candidate I went to support - Obama, in case you haven't read this blog in a few days - won my precinct, and in fact won my county with slightly over 50% of the Democratic support, even though he didn't ultimately win the state.
This photo is some of the giant mob of people at my caucus location, a high school near my house. I did see one couple I knew (the wife works at my organization) but otherwise it was a sea of strangers everywhere. There was something like 19 different precincts all at the same location, so it was extra-full of people.

#109 - A Masterpiece (and an apology)

First, the apology: Our main computer has been down for a few days at home, and since I don't post at work, this has given me a handy excuse for not posting for a few days. I'm sorry about that, and I'll make it up to you by writing more than one post today.

This morning, the little guy and I tried to watercolor paint, which I've only ever done as a kid myself. I think TLG might still be a little young to enjoy this particular art form, but I had fun watching him. I find sometimes that I need to be more patient, let him try things for himself, and not immediately jump in and show him how it "should" be done... so that's something to work on. When we were all done, I went to rinse off his brush in the sink, and when I turned back around he was to drinking the dirty water in the glass I had set out. I yelled "NO!" probably waaaay too loud for the situation, and I think I scared the you-know-what out of TLG because he promptly started crying and asking for Daddy. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

#108 - Quick as a Cricket, Hot as a Fox

(The title of today's post is a mish-mash of lines from one of TLG's books, titled "Quick as a Cricket".)

TLG has never successfully undressed himself all the way at bath time, nor is he usually awake enough in the morning to help with the getting dressed process. This morning around 2:00am, TLG woke me up by yelling/crying for his Daddy. Well, Daddy was sleeping pretty hard, so I answered the call... and imagine my surprise to find TLG had somehow gotten his one-piece p.j.s unsnapped and unzipped all the way down to his leg, where he got stuck. He told me in no uncertain terms that he was hot and he wanted different p.j.s I was so proud of him for using his words to tell me all that information! By then he was crying a lot from the frustration, I think. I gave him his favorite football p.j.s, a clean diaper, and a big glass of milk to calm him down... and he went peacefully back to sleep (and even slept late this morning!) Hooray for language skills!!!!!!!!!!!

#107 - 1 Fish, 2 Fish, Big Books, Little Books

We read a lot of books with
TLG, as you can see here. When he was younger and more prone to putting things in his mouth, we bought lots of board books, including a handful of Dr. Seuss books. Now we've enrolled in one of those book clubs in the mail, and we've started getting some of the same titles that we already owned - only they're completely different. Who knew that "Go, Dog, Go" and Dr. Seuss' ABC book were published in shorter and longer versions?!? Is this typical of any other children's titles? I thought I had those two memorized and now they're changing it up on me?!? I think I am losing my mind.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

#106 - Sunny Days, Sweeping the...

...snow away. Today I took the little guy to the park, just the two of us. In the past, my wonderful hubby has always gone along with us, but this afternoon he watched his beloved Cowboys lose their last game of the season. There's still snow on the ground here, but we took along a towel to the park to dry off the end of the slides, and we did very well at the park if you ask me. TLG is big enough now to go up the stairs and down the smaller slides by himself, with just wild applause needed from me. He still loves to swing and of course there was no problem with that, except after a while of blowing through the cold air, we turned into popsicles. A simple remedy for that: go home and have hot chocolate. TLG loves to say "Cheers!" and clink our mugs together. What a goofy family we are!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

#105 - Dog Food

We have two big dogs, and they are an important part of our family. They love TLG, and vice versa. They play with each other and generally don't need any extraordinary care (above and beyond normal dog needs). Except for one delicate subject... these dogs can pass gas like there's no tomorrow. It's excruciating to be anywhere in the same time zone once these dogs have eaten. I've done some research, and other than eating too fast, many internet sites all say the same thing: if your dry dog food has corn listed as one of the top couple of ingredients, it may be causing your dog to have a gassy stomach. To try to help with this problem, today we bought a new dry dog food where corn is not listed among the top ingredients. It's much lower down on the list. Looking through the varieties of food at the store, my wonderful hubby reported that there were only 2 kinds that didn't have corn right at (or near) the top of the list. The bag we chose was smaller and more expensive than our old kind of food, but if it helps with our problem, I will be grateful!

UPDATE: As of late Monday, 1/14 the dogs have been yucky-smell-free and I am LOVING it! Worth every penny to upgrade their food, plus they've been eating every morsel so they've obviously been enjoying the new tastes as well. I'm so glad this worked out for all of us.

#104 - A New Store in Town

OK, this store isn't new to town anymore... RC Willey opened in our city a couple of years ago, but it's waaay on the other side of everything from where we live, so I'd never been. One of my coworkers swears by it, so this afternoon I went to check it out. (Fortunately, Grammy and Papa were visiting, so Grammy and TLG came with me while my hubby and Papa went home to "watch football" and by that I mean "take a nap in front of the TV.") RC Willey is a huge store, but it's quite unconventional in its layout. You don't ever see a cash register anywhere in the store, leaving me to wonder how you actually buy something in there. We must not have looked very serious about making any purchases, I guess, because though there were lots of sales associates wandering around, none of them offered to help us with anything. It also surprised me what sorts of things they sold in there - I expected it to be more like a Fry's Electronics or something, but they had tons of furniture in addition to all the electronics, appliances, and floorings. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the store all told, though they did seem to have good quality items. TLG really liked the 1930's Chevy truck they had on display. That was probably the best part of our visit!

Afterwards, we went back to our house for some cooking with Grammy (which TLG totally enjoyed)! We're so glad you came for a visit! Thanks!

Friday, January 11, 2008

#103 - I Feel Pretty

Today I bought a real cashmere sweater, an indulgence I've never allowed myself before. Too expensive, too much work to hand-wash, there were a few reasons I'd never considered buying one. But today, in the store, it called my name. "I'm on sale!" it said. "Half-off! Just for special occasions... I'm the softest thing you'll ever wear!" What harm could it be to just try it on? Well, I'm now the proud owner of the world's softest sweater. Now I just need a special place to wear it!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

#102 - Relaxing Moves

To balance today's stressful workday, tonight I sought out some office-friendly exercises to relieve my aching shoulder muscles. (Sure, I've seen these types of exercises in magazines before, but I've never tried them after a day like today!) The ones I found involve rolling your shoulders, deep breathing, and holding your arms kind-of like you've got wings. Sitting here at the computer, they seemed to help a little, though not as much as say, getting a full body massage would. Or a vacation to Tahiti. Tomorrow, I'll give these a try for real - at my desk - and dream of sandy beaches and tropical drinks.

#101 - Worrywart

I worry about everything when it comes to TLG. Is he eating enough, too much, the right foods, the wrong foods? Is he getting enough exercise, growing too fast, learning enough, pronouncing his words well enough for his age? I'm terrible. Last night, we had rehearsal, and our regular babysitters are out of town. Our wonderful back-up babysitter came over, and for the first time I didn't worry about him even though there was no family here to look after him. This is a big step for a worrier like me. If you're a parent, hopefully you understand - and if you're not a parent, well, just wait. You'll see.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

#100 - On a Soapbox

My hubby and his parents tease me about when I'm going to run for mayor because of my involvement in community issues. I've never really been one to take an active interest in politics - I usually have more of a critical, what-have-they-done-now view. But I am registered to vote and I always participate, even in the primaries. A few days ago, I took an online quiz that matched my opinions with the current candidates running for President. With the Nevada primaries only 11 days away, I was interested in the candidate who supposedly matched my views the closest. The answer: Barack Obama. So tonight, though I've never been this interested in the presidential race before, I visited Obama's website to see for myself. (In the past, I usually relied on my local newspaper and my own gut reaction to help me choose.) After looking through many of the issues I'm opinionated on (in?) I'd have to say I'd consider voting for him... his views on Iraq, immigration, education, and health care all mirror my own. I've been wholly unsatisfied with the current politics on these issues, so it would be a relief to have some change in sight.

Monday, January 7, 2008

#99 - Scratchers

Tonight, I played a scratch-off lottery ticket (from the state of California, since we don't have a lottery here in Nevada). The ticket was a Christmas gift from a distant relative, who had no idea she was contributing to my new-thing-a-day habit. I won $4, but only if I remember to take it with me on my next trip there and cash it in. Hey, it's more than I won the last time I went to play the slots in the casinos!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

#98 - Hide and Seek

There's so much snow here that our big outing of the day was to the grocery store. And it's so cold that we stayed indoors the rest of the day. When TLG surprised us and covered his eyes, counted to 10 (keep in mind, he skips some of the numbers, making it absolutely adorable), and then said "Ready or not, here I come!" ... well, of course it was time to play hide and seek! Of course the daycare must have taught him that. We've played peekaboo a million times, but this time I took his big blanket and ran into another room, and "hid" under it, waiting for him to come "find" me. Of course, each time he did, we'd laugh hysterically, and he'd say "Do it again!" We must have played this game for at least half-an-hour. It was so much fun!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

#97 - The end of the Christmas season

Boo hoo, the holidays are over already. (Though Mother Nature seems to think we want a White Christmas all over again... enough with the snow!) This afternoon, TLG helped us take down tinsel, gather decorations and box the ornaments from the tree. Each year, I feel sad when the decorations get put away, but this year seemed to go by especially fast. Plus TLG really enjoyed the decorations (the tree, the lights, the music, the Sesame Street stuff!) and I feel emotional about putting it all away. I guess we'll have to really do up the other holidays this year!

#96 - I'm A Lonesome Polecat

The title of today's entry came from a song in "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" where the brothers are out in the snow, chopping firewood and acting all dopey in love. While we don't act dopey anymore, our little family did spend lots of time in the snow today. We had about 18 inches piled in our backyard and in the street when we woke this morning, so we bundled up and headed out. My wonderful hubby broke out the snow blower, and I was hoping the little guy would want to play. Twas not to be today, though TLG did want to help me shovel for a little while. This was almost comical, as the shovel is taller than he is, plus the wind was blowing and it was so cold neither of us could stay out very long (I'm a wimp, and I guess TLG takes after me). I do need to remember to buy him a snowsuit next winter so we'll be ready for days like today. Before too long, we gave up and went inside to drink hot chocolate instead. Aaaaah.

Friday, January 4, 2008

#95 - Old School Videos

As a kid, I never got into MTV or VH1 or watching music videos in general. That continues to be mostly true, but last night, I watched some videos from the late 80's that made me feel like I missed out seeing them when I was younger. Sure, I'd seen the Thriller video before, but hasn't everybody? Last night, I watched George Michael's "Faith" (which is a great song but there's not much to the video - just George shaking his tush, playing guitar, and an occasional shot of a jukebox). And George Harrison's "I've Got My Mind Set On You." (That was a weird one - just the former Beatle sitting in a chair, with the furnishings moving in time with the music... come to think of it, there's not much to the words in that song, either.) A recent music video I really like is Feist's "1234" where the dancers appear from nowhere... if you haven't seen it yet, drop what you're doing and go to YouTube. I'll wait.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

#94 - Teevee

When I opened my big gift from my wonderful hubby at Christmastime, I had no idea how much I would love it. It's a big flat screen TV for our bedroom, and we have it wall-mounted and everything. Tonight was the first time I've sat down (OK, laid on the bed) to watch something on a giant flat-screen TV in the bedroom. I ended up watching a weird movie, "The Last Kiss" starring Zach Braff and Jacinda Barrett, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend, but the TV was awesome. Before Christmas, we had a 27" in a low entertainment center that was a little hard to see from anyplace comfortable in the room. The new one is up high where I can see it, and the picture is so clear! Hooray for new gadgets!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

#93 - Football, football, football

In our house growing up, New Year's Day meant watching the Tournament of Roses parade and hanging out as a family. My hubby's family has always skipped the parade and just watched football. All. Day. Long. With a short break to eat homemade chili with cheese and crackers. So when the parade ended after a very short 1-1/2 hours this morning, the football came on. Our terrific in-laws joined us at lunch time and we watched football together. Normally, I would have tried to go somewhere else in the house and let the football-watchers have their time together, but today I stayed in the living room too. (OK, I was reading a book and occasionally playing with TLG and Grandma, but you have to give me credit for staying around, right?) By about 5:00 p.m., I had just about had it with the football... I'll admit it. Fortunately, my hubby noticed my frazzled demeanor and turned the TV off for one whole hour (bliss!) so we could all play together for a while. All in all, though, it was a very relaxing day.