Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boo!

I didn't attend a fireworks display on the fourth of July and have felt rather deprived ever since. So when I received an invitation to a Halloween/NaNoWriMo kick-off party tonight, I determined I wouldn't miss any more holiday fun.

Even if that meant donning a costume. But what to wear? I did a 5K race on Saturday and noticed that several of the participants were wearing tutus; this is fairly common at such events. "I have always wanted a tutu," I sighed to my brother and sister-in-law, who ran with me. So a couple of days later, when I discovered this tutorial online, I knew exactly what I would be for Halloween. A tutu-wearing witch! I located the purple and black striped tights and black witch hat at a local Halloween store. I found a purple feather boa, too. But I adapted the tutu directions as follows.

I used one-inch black elastic, wrapped it around my waist to fit, and sewed it closed on my machine. Then I cut three yards each of 54-inch black glitter tulle and purple tulle and one yard of 54-inch violet sparkle tulle into 4" by 27" strips; finally, I cut the violet tulle strips in half (4" by 13 1/2"). To create the tutu, I attached the strips according to the directions in the tutorial in this order:

*black/purple/black/purple/black/violet/purple/black/purple/black/purple/violet/repeat from * until elastic is covered

Except I didn't actually fold the strips in half and then in half again before attaching them to the elastic. I just kind of bunched them up in the middle and tied the knot. I am very pleased with the results.  My first tutu!

Now, here's hoping my NaNoWriMo novel (that's a commitment of 1667 words a day, no matter how you slice it) goes as well!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Soap

I crossed item #52 off my bucket list on Saturday. I made lye soap!
Lavender oatmeal soap, to be exact.
I am addicted to handmade soap. Not only does it smells good, it is gentle on the skin and it lasts a long time. I rarely come home from a craft show without a bar or two. Sweet, floral or spicy, I love it all. 

I have long toyed with the idea of making soap myself but I was never able to muster the courage to attempt it in my own kitchen. Lye is highly caustic; handled improperly, it can be downright dangerous. Then I met Emilie Sennebogen. She was selling her line of handmade body products at a local festival. I admired her wares and purchased a couple of bars of her all-natural soap. When I learned that she had just opened a small shop in Decatur, Georgia and planned to offer soap making classes at some point, I eagerly signed up for her email list. And when she announced her class schedule, I was one of the first to register.
Rebecca and Liz of Mama
My sister-in-law SeDonna went with me on Saturday. Just walking into the shop is a sensory delight. It is sunny and bright, well-organized and filled with delightful smells. There were six of us in the class; our instructor, Rebecca, began with the history of soap making, discussed safety procedures, and guided us through the recipe we would follow. Then we set to work in teams of three to make lavender oatmeal soap.

We lined our cardboard molds. We measured our ingredients. We melted our fats and mixed up our lye solution. Then we added the lye to the oil (never the other way around) and mixed it up with an immersion hand blender.
My team mates SeDonna and Mike.
 Last, we incorporated the oatmeal and lavender essential oil and poured the mixture into our molds, covering them with thick towels. We each came home with a pound of soap; after waiting the required 24 hours, I cut mine into bars and set them on a brown paper bag to cure. Although the soap is ready to use now, we were advised to wait a couple of weeks for it to harden so it will last longer.

I am hooked! I came home with enough supplies to make three more pounds of soap, spent hours online yesterday, researching soap making and other sources for ingredients. Eventually, I plan to make all of our  household soap and shampoo, lotions and scrubs. In the meantime, I am looking forward to sharing my handmade soap with friends and family members over the holidays.

Whether you want to learn to make soap yourself or simply buy some wonderful handmade body products, I hope you will visit Mama in Decatur, Georgia. The address is 743D East College Avenue. They accept mail orders too; click HERE for the details. Tell them I sent you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The opposite of irresistible


Since Jack and I parted ways last summer, I have avoided the dating sites. I have been too busy with my children, my piano students, my online jewelry store, and my writing to spend time thinking about what might be missing in my life. Earlier this week, though, in a moment of weakness, I made a brief foray back into the world of online dating.

During that time, I was hit upon by a married man, a twenty-three year old, and three guys I had spoken with previously who, for reasons unknown, never made the effort to go beyond messaging back and forth on the website. I also received this (unedited) introductory message from Mike*, an age-appropriate and geographically desirable male person:

YOU SOUND LIKE ME...SO ARE YOU A TRUE BELEAVER IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE...AND WOULD YOU EVER BE A PERSON THAT WOULD LIKE TO BE IN A THREE SUM...DO YOU LIKE TO GO BAREFOOT AND MAKE LOVE IN THE RAIN...AND WOULD YOU BE A WOMEN THAT LIKES TO JUST CLEAN OR COOK OR JUST BE NAKED ALL THE TIME IN THE HOUSE WITH YOUR LOVER...AND WOULD YOU EVER SAY NO TO A MAN WANTING TO TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF ANYTIME ANYWHER...AND MAKING LOVE TO YOU OR JUST TO GIVE YOU ORAL PLEASURE...THATS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Please excuse me now while I head over to OKCupid and delete my profile...for the LAST time...


*names have been changed

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

THE NEXT BEST THING by Jennifer Weiner


Inside cover blurb:

Actors aren’t the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood…

At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear for writer’s room showdowns and an eye for bad backstage behavior and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

I really enjoyed this book and the glimpse it offered me the world of television production. Orphaned and disfigured from an accident when she was too young to remember, Ruth has faced more challenges in her life than the average girl. Raised by an amazing grandmother, another character we grow to respect and admire, Ruth has dealt with her share of struggles we all can relate to: being dumped by a best friend, being taken advantage of by a guy she is crazy about, worrying that she isn’t good enough in a thousand different ways. Most of all, though, this story is about our creative dreams and how far we are willing to compromise to see them realized. Although I got off to a slow start due to a couple of editorial issues, once I got past them I couldn’t put this book down until I reached its highly satisfying conclusion.

Recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE from the publisher, Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Butch's All-American BBQ

Friday I had the pleasure of dining at Butch's All American BBQ restaurant.

Located in Buford, Georgia at the intersection of Braselton Highway and Old Peachtree Road, don't let the unassuming exterior deceive you.


Butch serves up some of the best southern food in the area: slow-cooked barbecue, scrumptious sides, delectable desserts, and plenty of sweet tea. The menu is huge; I had a terrible time deciding what to order. I finally settled on a chicken barbecue plate with potato/spinach/onion/cheese casserole, collard greens and corn cakes. For dessert, I chose banana pudding. I ate every bite of everything.

 

Owner Butch Walker is a native southerner who's been cooking barbecue and doing catering for thirty years. According to his website, "after along career in the corporate world, Butch traded in his necktie for an apron and is now fulfilling his passion, offering an upbeat dining experience where people can gather together to enjoy the pleasures of good southern food and warm hospitality." Butch is supported in this family run business by his wife, Linda, and his daughter and c0-owner, Melissa Kamphuis.
Linda and Butch
You owe it to yourself to pay Butch's All American BBQ a visit. Print a copy of this blog post and present it at the counter to receive ten percent off your order. You just might see me there!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tweaking the Plan

I'm torn between two lovers: my revision-in-progress, with two outstanding requests, and National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, which starts in just ten days.

The revision is going well from a certain standpoint. However, doing what needs to be done to to improve the story has meant cutting almost fifteen thousand words in the past two weeks. Of course I am adding words, too, but the word count is increasing very slowly. At this point, I might as well admit there is no way I will have a completed manuscript by my self-imposed October 31st deadline.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am more than ready for a fresh start. In the three years that have passed since I started writing The Wishing Box, I have learned much about craft and am chomping at the bit to put those skills to work. However, in order to be successful, I realize that I need a plan. I have discovered that I am neither a "pantser" nor a "plotter" but more of a "puzzler." And if I am going to end up with a novel worth finishing on November 30th, I need to do some prep work.

Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, has written a couple of books to help writer wannabes. I read No Plot, No Problem a couple of years ago; recently, my writer pal Shawn presented me with a copy of Ready, Set, Novel which I am eager to dig into. This blog post seems to be kind of a condensed version of Ready, Set, Novel. It's all good stuff.

Regardless of which approach I use, though, I need to set aside a few days to gather my thoughts, decide what my story is going to be about, get to know my characters, and outline key scenes before midnight on Halloween night. So I am revising my #ROW80 goals to reflect that. This evening, I will put the final sheen on the first three chapters of The Wishing Box and submit them to the agent who requested them at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. Then I will set that project aside and spend the next ten days building momentum for my NaNoWriMo novel, which just might turn out to be the book that actually lands me a publishing contract.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Complaint Department Is Closed


See if you can catch yourself complaining in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.
~ Eckhart Tolle

This quote, which appeared in Mastin Kipp's daily newsletter yesterday, hit me right between the eyes. The more I thought about it, I realized how much complaining I do and how counterproductive it is. It does nothing to improve my circumstances; as a matter of fact, it seems to promote a general feeling of discontent. For example, it was chilly outside when I took my dog out this morning. Barefoot, dressed in pajama pants and tank top, I was shivering--and grumbling--by the time Karma finished his business. But it's October in Atlanta; chilly mornings are to be expected. Suddenly recognizing the futility of being upset about this, I stopped myself, took a deep breath, allowing the resistance to pass through me. I smiled, acknowledging the change in seasons, hustled back inside, pulled on a pair of fuzzy socks and a comfy sweater, and started my morning coffee. And just like that, my whole attitude towards the day had shifted.

The lesson here? If it is within my power to change something I don't like about my life, I will change it. If it is not, then I will accept it with gratitude. I refuse to continue to add to the din of crazy in the world with any more useless complaining.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cake Decorating 101

You've got this life and while you've got it you'd better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone's hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people's eyes like they're the last you'll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there's no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it's the only one left in the world!
~C. JoyBell C.

Yes, they taste good. But my cakes have never been things of beauty.
Casey's 11th birthday.
Sprinkles hide a multitude of sins.

I often thought about taking a cake decorating class but somehow never got around to it. That is, until a couple of weeks ago. Eager to knock a few items off my bucket list, I marched myself into my local Michael's, signed up for Wilton Course 1, and purchased my supplies. 

I learned enough in the very first session to feel that I had gotten my money's worth from the class. Tips to bake flatter cakes. Tips to keep the cake from sticking to the icing while trying to spread it. How to smooth the icing once it's on the cake. How to use those intimidating decorator bags and tips. 

Then, using purchased Wilton decorator icing, we practiced making stars on the cookies we brought with us to class. I found it the icing stiff and hard to work with, but here are my first efforts.


There was prep work for the second session. Using recipes we were given in class, we were to make two batches of icing: one thin for putting on our cake, and one medium for decorating it. We were also to bake an eight-inch layer cake. When we got to class, we colored our thin icing blue and put it on our cake


then colored our medium icing yellow and red and filled our decorator bags.


Finally, our patient instructor showed us how to create the patterns we would need


and how to transfer line designs. Then she turned us loose to decorate our cakes . 

The homemade icing was much easier to work with than the stuff from the can, and I had a lot of fun squeezing and swirling and finishing my project. Here is my masterpiece.


Next week we will learn how to make various types of flowers and leaves and practice them on cupcakes. And in our final class, we will learn how to print and write words and make ribbon roses and use them to decorate a two-layer cake. Look out, Cake Boss! Pam is in the kitchen now!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happiness Jar

People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you're fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. And when I discovered this post on her Facebook page yesterday, well, I couldn't wait to join the fun.

I pulled one of my grandmother's old blue canning jars from the kitchen cupboard and, just before I went to bed, recalled the happiest moment from my day. I wrote about it on a slip of paper, folded carefully, and tossed it into the jar.


I know my happiness will quickly overflow this small receptacle so I am on the lookout for something larger. When I find it, I might even decorate it with wire and beads. In the meantime, I am off and running. Who else is in?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Lecher and the Mandolin Student

Turns out my "accomplished, warm, kind and patient" mandolin teacher who "doesn't usually work with beginners" (click HERE) accepted me as a student not so much for my zest for learning as for the fact that I am a single woman. So this might have turned out to be a love story.

Except it didn't.

We went out for a drink after my first lesson and chatted on the phone a couple of times over the next few days. The following Saturday, he played a gig nearby and invited me to meet him afterwards for hot wings and a beer. We shared a little bit about our histories, our children and our experiences with music. After dinner, he walked me to my car and kissed me goodnight. It was a sweet but awkward moment. I explained I wasn't sure I wanted to mix mandolin lessons and romance, especially considering how hard it had been to find a mandolin teacher. He seemed to understand and sent me on my way with instructions to drive safely. Crisis averted.

But when he greeted me at my second lesson with another passionate kiss and a bottle of pinot grigio, I was afraid I was in over my head. I did my best to manage the situation, reminding him again why I was there and insisting that we get to my lesson straightaway. I suggested that we go somewhere and have a conversation afterwards.

To his credit, he put his desires on hold long enough to answer all my questions and teach me a few new riffs on the mandolin. We worked hard for over an hour. At some point during my lesson, though, he asked me what I was doing the following night. Some friends of his would be in town giving a concert, he explained, and he invited me to go with him. When I declined, saying that I was at a writer's conference for the weekend and already had a commitment that evening, he told me I should blow it off. "You would have more fun with me," he said.

At that point, my jerk detector kicked in. But it was too late. As I packed my mandolin in its case, my teacher stretched himself out on the couch, fold his hands behind his head, looked at me and said, "What we both need is to get laid."

I laughed, thinking he must be joking.

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"You," I said.

His face turned into a pout. "That hurts my feelings," he said.

"You're not serious, are you?" I asked, incredulous.

"Hell yeah, I'm serious," he replied. "I'm a warm-blooded American man. You're a warm-blooded American woman. This is what people do."

"That's not what I do," I replied. "Besides, I hardly know you."

"Aren't we friends?" he asked.

"I thought so," I said. "But I don't kiss my friends on the lips."

And I had really hoped we could be friends. He is an amazing musician with great connections and a good teacher. Who knows? Maybe something more could have developed, given time. After all, I'm not on the dating sites any more; people keep telling me that the best way to meet men is simply to live my life and pursue my passions. I had considered the possibility that this might be opportunity knocking. But apparently it wasn't. Because when the little voice inside my head told me it was time to go, I went. I picked up my mandolin case and made a beeline for the front door.

Unfortunately, as I stepped outside onto the unlit porch, my hard soled high heeled shoes and I missed the step down into the parking lot. As a result, I fell flat on my back, twisting my ankle and scraping one end of my beautiful new mandolin case (expletive deleted). Worried that he might follow me, though, I quickly picked myself up, limped to my car and sped away.

As I headed back to my conference, I asked myself what I had done wrong. Back at the hotel in the company of some of my friends, I shared my questions out loud. "What did I exude," I wondered, "that made this man think I would simply climb right up on top of him right then and there?" And the answer is nothing. If I had it to do over, I'm not sure I would do anything differently. I acted in good faith and expected him to do the same. And just because he took advantage of the situation doesn't mean I have to become cynical and mistrustful. But hopefully I will recognize the wolf dressed in sheep's clothing more quickly next time.

I'm going to keep living my life and pursuing my passions--which now include playing the mandolin. If I meet someone special in the process, so be it.

But that's really beside the point.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I needed a laugh today...

Arguably, I should have spent the past two hours writing. Instead, I spent them searching for something, ANYTHING inspirational to include in today's blog post, my ROW80 update.

I haven't added a word to my novel since last Wednesday. On the contrary, I deleted (on purpose) almost twelve thousand words from my manuscript day before yesterday. Since then, my life has not been my own. Which explains why the little video below resonated with me as it did. If you are trying to write with children of any age in the house, you will understand why I laughed until I cried.


Still, I am more determined than ever to get this job done. I will write 1500 words a day for the next twenty days, completing my work-in-progress on October 30th. That will be good practice for NaNoWriMo, during which I will begin a new project and complete 50,000 words in 30 days. I will set goals for the remainder of the year at that time.

Ready. Set. Go!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

What was not to love about the Georgia Romance Writers 2012 Moonlight & Magnolias conference?

There were terrific workshops on every writing-related topic you can imagine
The Petit Fours and Hot Tamales present a workshop on group blogging.
and inspiring presentations from our featured speakers.
Pam Asberry and GRW Featured Speaker Debby Giusti.
Keynote Speaker Julia Quinn and Pam Asberry.
Special Craft Speaker Jeff Stepakoff.
There were agents and editors from ten agencies and publishing houses present, so first thing on Friday there was a pitch workshop in which small groups practiced their individual pitches with a published author. With Tanya Michaels' help, I received a request for the synopsis and first three chapters of my book during my agent pitch on Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon there was the Book Signing for Literacy Event with over fifty published authors in attendance. And after that, there was a special awards banquet. This year's theme was Corsets, Crime and Craft and everyone came dressed to the nines.
Authors Haywood Smith and Casi McLean.
Pam Asberry with author Kendall Grey.
At the conclusion of the banquet, during which this year's Maggie Award winners were announced, there was music and dancing with the stars and our favorite DJ Silver Knight.
Authors Susan Carlisle and Annie Rayburn.
I came home with a notebook filled with quotes, a head filled with happy memories, and a heart filled with hope. Were you at the M&M Conference? Share your favorite memory. Did you miss it? Click some of the links highlighted in red to get acquainted with some of the fabulous writers I met. Leave a comment at the end of this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. I will choose the winner at midnight on Friday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN'S LITERARY SOCIETY by Amy Hill Hearth


In Amy Hill Hearth's debut novel, eighty-year old Dora Witherspoon, also known as "The Turtle Lady," shares a story from her past. The year is 1962; the place is southern Florida. Racism is rampant; women are treated as second-class citizens; northerners are eyed with suspicion. Newly divorced at a time when divorce was relatively uncommon and not generally accepted, Dora is working as a clerk at the post office and struggling to find her niche in the small community in which she lives. 

Her world turns upside down when she meets Jackie Hart, a "Yankee" whose husband is employed by one of the richest men in town. Jackie has decided to start a book club at the local library and invites Dora to participate. Who else shows up at the first meeting? The librarian, a convicted murderer, a black maid, a romance novelist writing under a pseudonym, and a gay man who lives with his alligator-hunting mother. Despite having little apparently in common, this ragtag group of strangers forge fast friendships have one zany adventure after another. Together, they find the courage to be themselves in a world that favors conformity and to stand up to injustice whenever life gives them the opportunity.

I loved this book! I laughed; I cried; I fell in love with every single character--especially Dora, who is based on a real life person. Seamlessly weaving fact and fiction, Amy Hill Hearth (author of Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years) has created a gem of a story. Highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE from the publisher, Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Amazing Life List Version 3.0

I ran the 5K for YSC Tour de Pink on Saturday.
Finally settled into the new school year and resigned to the nip of fall in the air, I find myself turning inward. Mornings I am hunkered over my laptop, working feverishly to finish my novel; evenings I am huddled up with my mandolin, struggling to decipher tablature and play that big chord my teacher showed me last week. I am saying no to fun for its own sake and making time for people and activities that truly nourish me. My world is smaller and bigger at the same time.

There must be something about this season that prompts me to examine my long term goals, too. As a matter of fact, it was almost exactly a year ago today that I revisited the Amazing Life List I originally posted back in the spring of 2010. But checking in this morning, I was dismayed to discover that I have accomplished only four of those items in the past twelve months: starting a running program, running a half-marathon, singing karaoke in public, and finishing Jane Austen's novels. Why is that, I wondered?

I took a long, hard look at the list. First, I admitted that some of the items simply are no longer important to me. For example, along with my nightly wine habit I have lost the burning desire to drink a beer at Oktoberfest in Munich or attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Second, I realized that while I wouldn't turn down certain opportunities--like a trip to China--I cannot imagine myself actually planning the itinerary when there are other places, like Ireland and Africa, that truly call me to visit. Finally, I recognized that much of what provides me with true satisfaction is much more affordable than a trip overseas; something as simple as trying a new recipe or learning a new craft brings me great joy and pleasure.

So I decided it was time to make a new list. I have whittled it down to 66 items and have already started work on some of them. Those highlighted in blue have 2012 deadlines; those highlighted in pink will be checked off by the end of 2013. In the meantime, I will be plugging away at the others, open to opportunity. If I happen to bowl a 200+ game and meet Mr. Right while I'm at the bowling alley, so be it!

TRAVEL:
  1. Spend a summer in France.
  2. Spend a week in New York City; see the sights; attend a Broadway play.
  3. Cruise to Alaska.
  4. Visit Hawaii.
  5. Go on a walking tour of Ireland.
  6. Spend a summer in the Mediterranean: Greece, Spain, Italy.
  7. Visit Australia and New Zealand.
  8. Go to Africa.
  9. Go whale watching in Cape Cod.
  10. See the Grand Canyon.
  11. Set foot in all 50 states.
  12. Spend a summer driving across the United States, coast to coast, with no itinerary.
  13. Cruise through the Panama Canal.
  14. Go on a cruise with my parents, children, and brother and sister-in-law.
  15. Attend the St. Patrick's Day parade in Jackson, Mississippi.
  16. Attend my 40th high school reunion.
  17. Do the Southern Caribbean cruise itinerary on Carnival Cruise Line.
WRITING:
  1. Finish, revise and polish my first novel.
  2. Find a publisher for my novel.
  3. Sign my book at an autograph session.
  4. Have an article published in a national magazine.
  5. Speak at a writing conference.
  6. Attend a national writing conference.
MUSIC:
  1. Master Chopin's Scherzo in B-Flat Minor.
  2. Master Mozart's Piano Concerto, K. 466, and perform it with an orchestra.
  3. Learn how to play the mandolin.
  4. Write a song (piano and lyrics).
  5. Learn how to play the hammered dulcimer.
  6. Play in a music ensemble.
HEALTH/FITNESS:
  1. Stop biting my fingernails.
  2. Weigh 115 pounds.
  3. Overcome water phobia and become a strong swimmer. 
STUFF:
  1. Own an iPad.
  2. Own a grand piano.
  3. Own a sexy car.
HOME & HEARTH:
  1. Sort through/get rid of everything I don't absolutely need or love.
  2. Plant an Eastern red cedar tree.
  3. Own a house at the beach (might be on a lake, might be on the ocean - doesn't matter as long as it's someplace warm).
  4. Make it my dream home.
  5. Establish an herb garden.
  6. Keep chickens.
  7. Get a kitten and name it Panzer.
RANDOM & MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Review my French and speak it fluently.
  2. Bowl a 200+ game.
  3. Speak in front of 1000 people.
  4. Fly first class.
  5. Serve on a jury.
  6. Be an extra in a film.
  7. Learn swing dancing.
  8. Swim with dolphins.
  9. Get a tattoo.
HOBBIES:
  1. Make lye soap.
  2. Take a cake decorating class.
  3. Make divinity.
  4. Make a scrapbook photo album for each of my children.
  5. Make a scrapbook album Book Of Me.
  6. Crochet a granny square afghan.
  7. Knit a pair of socks.
  8. Knit a sweater.
  9. Organize my loose recipes/compile a family cookbook.
  10. Make memory quilts for my family.
FINANCIAL:
  1. Write a will.
  2. Pay off my credit cards.
  3. Achieve financial peace.
PIE IN THE SKY:
  1. Meet my life partner.
  2. Have the wedding of my dreams.
What's at the top of your Amazing Life List?