The new birthday list: “42 before 43”

By Friday, June 3, 2016 0 , , Permalink 0

Greece sailing ship cruise, credit Kirsten Akens 2016

It’s birthday list renewal time!

Actually it’s a month beyond birthday list renewal time, but I was traveling much of May (checking items off the list!) so I’m just now getting this up on the blog.

You can read all about my lists, and the former ones, here. And how I did on last year’s list here. (Bottom line, I love to try new things, and formalizing the process has helped me do more of them than ever.)

Take a gander at my list and let me know what would be on yours in the comments. (And, more importantly, what’s keeping you from moving on them!)

• 42 Before 43 • 

  1. Visit Greece — This is where I was for a couple weeks in May, teaching yoga on a Star Clippers sailing ship (pictured above) and falling in love with all the cats. That was a big and longtime travel bucket-list item checked off!
  2. Watch every episode of MASH — A rollover from last year. My hubby and I are watching together and we’ve just started season six.
  3. Read at least 90 books — Last year I hit 81 so I’ve upped it again. To date, I’ve read seven books, with three in progress.
  4. Refine Project 333 to my own version of a minimalist closet project — I came home from Greece and spent a heavily jet-lagged day cleaning out my closet again. I’ll blog more about this later, but I’m shifting my process, based on what I’ve learned doing Project 333 for a couple years now.
  5. Get will and living will in order — Found a lawyer. Taking the next steps.
  6. Attend a Switchbacks match — Determined not to miss this one this summer. 
  7. Attend the Santa Fe Opera — Same goes for this. Already talking with the hubby about when we can go this summer/fall.
  8. Do a Georgia O’Keeffe tour around New Mexico (Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, etc.)
  9. Hike to Hanging Lake, as part of a larger summer/fall hiking goal (see No. 10)
  10. Stay at the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray … and hike Blue Lakes while there
  11. Attend Judith Lasater’s Advanced Restorative Yoga teacher training — It’s in August, so we’ll see…
  12. Be involved with a stage show (maybe a play, maybe a fashion show) in some way — I responded to a call for models for a local runway event. Crossing my fingers I get picked!
  13. Choreograph a country line dance (and see if Barb will teach it at Cowboys)
  14. Attend a Soul Mechanics session at Ormao
  15. Take a birding and/or bird banding class
  16. Take French language lessons
  17. Try surfing
  18. Nurture a green thumb into existence (re: learn how to properly care for my indoor plants)
  19. Learn to make pizza, Roman Villa-style
  20. Learn to bake (not-just-quick) bread
  21. Learn to make my own maraschino cherries (and a fancy cocktail to go with them)
  22. Renew my #newrecipeaweek commitment
  23. Perform at a poetry slam/open mic
  24. Learn to play an entire song on my ukelele
  25. Remember to use reusable bags when grocery shopping
  26. Plan my next trip to France (perhaps running a retreat at Little French Retreat)
  27. See the sandhill crane migration in March/April 2017
  28. Go storm chasing
  29. Go on a train trip
  30. Visit a new-to-me national park
  31. Visit Best Friends Animal Society in Utah
  32. Snail mail cards to six friends for no reason
  33. Share a bottle of bubbly with a friend once a month
  34. Play Settlers of Catan with friends
  35. Try out a new hair color (or highlights, or a streak)
  36. Have a new pair of jeans tailored to fit
  37. Find a new go-to layerable dress that accentuates my fabulousness
  38. Wear grown-up clothes to bed (or no clothes — TMI?)
  39. Plan for a fun photo shoot
  40. Launch a new website
  41. Interview at least one of my bucket-list celebrities
  42. Place freelance writing with at least five new publications (a mix of print and online)

It’s a wrap on “41 before 42”

By Monday, May 9, 2016 0 , , Permalink 0

Credit Aaron Anderson Photography

I’ve been procrastinating on this post. Partly because I’ve been working a lot (a good thing for a freelancer!), and partly because I feel like I didn’t tick off as much as I had hoped to this year.

But if I’m honest with myself, I did so much more for the first time that wasn’t even on my radar that I can’t really be frustrated.

As with last year, and likely every year I keep this going, I learned more about what I’m really interested in, and what I’m not. What I wanted to make time for, and what I didn’t. What I do regret having not completed — and that just because this particular timeline met its deadline, doesn’t mean the pursuit has to end.

Thanks to all of you who keep on following along. I do love sharing this journey, and encouraging others to get out there and try something new!

Below is my “report” (fully completed items have a line through them, some notes on the others) — and soon I’ll post my “42 before 43” list. Best.

• 41 Before 42 • 

  1. Choreograph a country line dance (and see if Barb will teach it at Cowboys) — I’ve picked the song I want to use and started choreographing. This will stay on my list.
  2. Plant and grow garlic
  3. Watch every episode of MASH — My parents bought us the entire collection for Christmas so we’re moving faster now that we don’t have to wait for the library. We’re almost done with the fifth season. This will stay on my list.
  4. Try aerial yoga and/or aerial silks
  5. Plan my next trip to France (perhaps running a retreat at Little French Retreat)
  6. Attend a Switchbacks match — Ugh. Missed out because I wasn’t paying attention to the calendar. Definitely this summer!
  7. Try kayaking
  8. Learn barista basics
  9. Plant flower bulbs this fall
  10. Take a birding and/or bird banding class — Pitched a story on this, so hoping for it still to happen as a part of that research.
  11. Continue to reduce my wardrobe, a la Project 333
  12. Take French language lessons — Using Duolingo, but still would like to take some formal one-on-one classes.
  13. Read at least 75 books (Hey! I hit 81! Gonna up the number again for next year.)
  14. Take classes on how to use the manual functions on my DSLR camera — I did get some tips from a photographer friend, but honestly I’m looking at purchasing a new, much smaller and lighter camera to use on my travels so I’m less interested in this.
  15. Have at least one item of clothing tailored to fit
  16. Learn to bake croissants
  17. Get will and living will in order
  18. Have a bouquet of flowers in the house, fresh once a month
  19. Attend a fest in Telluride — I had this on the calendar and then we had some family issues that meant I had to cancel.
  20. Take performance driving lessons
  21. Add a piece of original art to my collection from an artist I have not yet met
  22. Stay up once all night until sunrise
  23. Perform at a poetry slam/open mic
  24. Learn to bake French macarons
  25. Attend the Santa Fe Opera — Going, again, on the not-gonna-happen list. Missed the summer season. This year!
  26. Be involved with a stage show in some way
  27. Bake a pie, with homemade crust, from scratch
  28. Visit at least one new-to-me museum — Thanks to my travels, hit more than a dozen!
  29. Watch one new-to-me movie and one classic film a month — Watched many more movies this year than I have in a long time so I consider this a success.
  30. Play Settlers of Catan — Found friends who have the game and want to play.
  31. Stay at the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray
  32. Take an oracle card-making class
  33. Research and read more about walking the Camino de Santiago
  34. Travel (again) with a girlfriend
  35. Fly a kite
  36. Send postcards to friends once a month just because
  37. Try fly fishing
  38. Visit Shambhala Mountain Center
  39. Do a Georgia O’Keeffe tour around New Mexico (Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, etc.) — No tour yet, but I did get back to the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, and saw a great O’Keeffe exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
  40. Do a not-just-head-shot photo shoot — See photo above! I participated in a locals’ photography project by Aaron Anderson. It was pretty dang cool. Mainly because he’s pretty dang cool.
  41. Get off my ass already and pitch the nun story to Oprah Magazine — Have decided NOT to pitch it to O, but am continuing to research options. And I did write another monastery piece for 5280.

The “Miscellaneous Stuff I Did that Wasn’t on the List” List

Tried archery for the first time. Played paintball. Rode a horse. Stayed at a dude ranch. Learned to stand-up paddle board. Learned to shoot air rifle with an Olympic hopeful. Hiked a chunk of the Appalachian Trail. Learned to make tortillas. Took a wildflower identification class. Sat a few rows away from George R.R. Martin as he honored Gena Rowlands at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Acquired a ukelele for Christmas and have started online lessons. Took a Fosse-style dance class. Indoor rock climbing — top-rope and bouldering — a few times a week. Learning, slowly, to walk a slackline. Taught my first two yoga/writing workshops. Earned my Relax & Renew restorative yoga certification from Judith Hanson Lasater. Started working on a documentary (and helped run a successful crowdfunding campaign). Finally had a slice of pecan pie at Front Range BBQ (and it was good). Started using Trello (which I, um, love). Met President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and America Ferrera. Took a couples’ trip to California wine country and rode in a bright yellow Camaro. Learned to make sauerkraut and cheese while visiting Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the first time. Travelled for the first time to Crested Butte; Roanoke, Virginia; Santa Barbara, California; Scottsdale, Arizona (where I learned to Arizona two-step); Portland, Maine; Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada; and Door County, Wisconsin.

Sunday sadhana

By Sunday, May 8, 2016 0 , Permalink 0


To me, sadhana is a daily spiritual practice allowing time and space for an individual to turn inward.

As Yogi Bhajan (of the Kundalini yoga tradition) says, “Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”

Sadhana could be taking a walk in nature, doing breath work or yoga asanas on a mat, spending time meditating or chanting, reading and reflecting on a poem, or simply watching the sun rise.

Please accept this post as a possible starting point for your own practice today.

From The Waves, by Virginia Woolf:

How much better is silence;

the coffee cup, the table.


How much better to sit by myself

like the solitary sea-bird

that opens its wings on the stake.


Let me sit here for ever with bare things,

this coffee cup,

this knife, this fork,

things in themselves,

myself being myself.