Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 198: My Winter To-Do List (Update)

Happy Winter, Everyone!

I'm very excited to say that I've almost hit a milestone. It's been 198 days since I started this challenge. 200 is almost upon us! It's been 200 days of gardening, home projects, learning to enjoy the sounds of my house, and trying new things. (Just last week, we went to a wine-tasting at a hotel with old and new friends...our first wine-tasting outside of a winery. A nice way to spend a Sunday, though I prefer wine-drinking to wine-tasting.)

I've been looking forward to the challenge it presents and dreading it at the same time: Winter.

Sure, it's easy to be TV-free during Summer when there's so much to do, but what to do in Winter? Well, we're finally there...what I see as the toughest part of this challenge. It's not even snowy yet here in Southeastern Michigan (although there's a freezing rain advisory right now), and it already feels like it's too cold to do anything outside for any length of time. I'm starting to dream of Spring and all the ambitious plans I have for my expanded garden.

My Winter list of things to entertain myself is growing, but I've also accomplished a few things since my last post. Let's take a look at how my existing list is shaping up:

  • Paint Dining Room & Kitchen
    • Um, no. Haven't even looked at paint samples.
  • Finish afghan (I've already been working on it)
    • Okay, I won a beautiful afghan in an auction in November. Since then, my half-done little afghan seems to pale in comparison to this masterpiece. I haven't done any work on it in a month, and I'm sure its self-esteem is plummeting even further!
  • Make a snowman. (I haven't done this in YEARS)
    • I absolutely will do this as soon as we have some snow. I hope to do something fun and unique that includes making three of them. And you know I'll document it with pictures. COME ON snow!
  • Put a tree up/decoate (I haven't done much of this in the last few years. Just got plain lazy!) 
    • Yes! One I can cross of my list! We have a lovely real tree, fully decorated with lots of ornaments we received as gifts over the last few years that have been hung for the first time. We also have wreaths on both doors, and decoration in the kitchen nook and dining room. It might be the most festive we've ever been. If the TV-freeness expands to next year at this time, I might even try putting lights outside!
  • Host Thanksgiving (I've taken the last few years off. Time to get back on the turkey train.)
    • Yes, hubs and I hosted Thanksgiving this year. It could be that I work from home part-time now, or it could be that I wasn't wasting time watching TV when I should have been working on things, but this was the least stressful of any Thanksgiving dinners we've hosted. I even had enough energy to do the dishes the same night. ;)
  • Host at least one Christmas get-together (even if it's just a game night with a fire in the fireplace)
    • Not sure if this counts, but I made a nice lasagna and we had my parents over. Tree was lit and Christmas music was playing. If it doesn't count, I'll have to get to work on a slightly larger gathering.
  • Resume Italian language lessons (You know I've been slacking, otherwise, I'd be bragging in Italian that I've learned a new language.)
    • Yeah, haven't gotten back to this. Been busy with other things...
  • Finish writing my novel. (About 60 pages in)
    • I've written some more, but I was focused on the last bullet point in the list lately.
  • Crochet 7" squares for the Lions Club - they give them to a local hospital (who collects them and puts them together to make blankets for patients and needful families) 
    • I haven't done any crotcheting  lately. SLACKER!
  • Publish children's book by December. (I finally have a new illustrator, so this project is well underway.)
    • DONE! In fact, it should be released for purchase this week. This accomplishment explains why I haven't been using mental energy on writing on the novel or doing language lessons. As soon as I update my website and get my shopping cart option flying, then I should have much more mental capacity for crafting something new.
Okay, as you can see, I haven't knocked much off my list.'s growing. Here are some new things I'd like to accomplish this Winter:

  • Send out Christmas cards. I try to do this every year, but some years, I just don't get around to it. Why? Maybe I was too busy watching every reality TV show ever made. One year, I homemade the cards (stamped and embossed). Not sure I'm going to do that this year because my illustrator on the book has crafted some sassy cards for me with the main character, so I think I'll be sending those out.
  • Kickboxing  - I scored a great Groupon for kickboxing lessons. Not an aerobics class, but actual sparring at a boxing gym. Looking forward to it, though I might save those for Spring to avoid driving in bad weather and do P90x at home instead. I've had the DVDs for quite some time and haven't used them. My 32 sessions of Zumba end next week. No, I haven't really lost any weight. Stunning, cause I'm pretty out of shape, and it's definitely a good workout.
  • Reorganize the kitchen. This is something that normal people probably don't have an issue with. But apparently, I was too busy watching commercials to keep my kitchen in order. My goals are twofold. One, to be able to retrieve a pot or pan without an avalanche of metal. Two, to create a space for the old coffee pot that is currently riding around in the trunk of my car. Long story short, I took our "backup" coffee pot somewhere and the space it occupied in the one of the cupboards was taken over. Now there's no where to put it! Don't EVEN get me started on the state of my spice cabinet. Lack of organization has resulted in overbuying spices I "think" I'm out of because I can't see them all...currently we have 3 oreganos and 5 cayennes.
  • Organize our board games. I've been saying I'm going to do this forever - we sit down for a game night with friends and for each game, we spend a good five minutes trying to remind ourselves of the basics. How many cards do we each get? Who goes first? How many points until it's over? I'd like to create a master list for our board games with the basics so that 1) we can easily locate a game for the number of players we have and 2) get started playing sooner. A project similar to one I completed years ago for our DVD collection. Yes, we have hundreds of movies on an alphabetized list that tells us exactly where in the cabinet to locate the movie. There is a corresponding list sorted by genre. I know. GEEK!
  • Help my mom organize her family photos. My mom has two huge boxes in her basement closet of family photos. We've talked about organizing them for ages. Well, I'm not busy! In fact, I have an extra 20 or so hours a week free. I'd much rather take a trip down memory lane than watch a Law & Order marathon, full of all the episodes I've already seen!
  • Tackle the basement. This is something I've already begun. Last week, I reorganized my bookshelves/books and also cleaned out the fireplace down there (removed the old gas fixtures that had already been cut off from the gas supply and raked out the old debris) so we could start having nice fires in our home office. However, the other side of the basement, the unfinished side/laundry room, could use some work. It's scary over's where the spiders hide and cardboard boxes go to die. But we need more than a pathway and bad lighting. I want shelving, boxes, and more economical utilization of the space in general. 
So, those are my plans for the Winter so far, in addition to the items I haven't finished from the earlier list. Plenty to do and no excuses not to do them. There is nothing on these lists that is hard to do. The TV is dark and the radio is playing Christmas music. The perfect conditions to cross of items on a list that I've made and checked twice.

Happy Winter Season & Holidays!