#s 8, 18, 21, and 27

I went to Trader Joe’s last Friday to purchase wine for a girls night out and the check-out women reminded me that I have a birthday coming up. Which made me realize I have been such a slacker lately. It’s not that I haven’t been doing the things on this year’s list, but I’ve been terrible about posting about them. Hopefully this last month will be better (but let’s not hold our breath). Here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to:

8. Learn Spanish

I took Spanish in high school, and then French in college. So the foreign languages tend to blend into one in my mind. Last spring I downloaded Duo Lingo, which worked great for my mediocre attempt to learn Spanish. But a few months ago I finally purchased Rosetta Stone, and I can already tell I am getting better. From what I’ve seen so far, a lot of the lessons are the same from Duo Lingo to Rosetta Stone, but I’m only about half way through Level 1 so I still have a ways to go. My favorite part (which, oddly enough, is also the part that I’m the worst at) is speaking Spanish back to the computer. It definitely helps me hear how I sound (ridiculous) and allows me to get better (so I sound less ridiculous). They also allow you to schedule time with a native speaker to get better. I’m not there yet (my pronunciation is still pretty embarrassing), but I know that will be helpful for me as I improve. I was hoping that by now I’d be able to write a complete post in Spanish, but I am definitely not there yet. Maybe by 35…

18. Take Piano Lessons

Growing up, I played the violin from kindergarten through 8th grade. I also played the piano from about 1st or 2nd grade through high school and the saxophone in middle school. I have always loved music. Even now, every time I go to a concert I think “This is the year I’m going to start a band”.

Well. I am not starting a band. But I did start taking piano lessons last May. I’m not going to lie, I completely expected to sit down and pick up right where I had left off. I should have known better, but I assumed that since I had played for so many years that it would come right back to me. About 3-4 months into it, things finally clicked again. I’m not going to lie, those first few months were frustrating. But I have an awesome teacher that was very encouraging and just told me to take it little by little. We discussed what my goals were (does she know me or what?!) and I decided that since the last song I can remember learning was Fur Elise, then I wanted to at least get there with these lessons. I’m not quite there yet, but I have the music and, per her advise, I’m taking it little by little.

Since I don’t have Fur Elise to share with you yet, here’s the best song I can play so far:

(Clearly I am still in the holiday spirit) 🙂

21. Crochet a blanket

A few months ago I went to Iowa to visit a friend and ride in a hot air balloon. This friend of mine is so good at crocheting, and I wanted/needed a lesson. I told myself that, with her help, I’d be a crocheting pro in no time! And by the looks of this picture:

Love the stripes

Love the stripes

the blanket doesn’t actually look too terrible. But flat on a surface…

...not so good.

…apparently I’m so bad that even a good teacher can’t help me!

The good news is that I have nieces that don’t care what this blanket looks like, and they can totally destroy it without hurting anyone’s (…my…) feelings. The bad news is, it looks like I’ll be taking on another crochet project for my 32nd year. Hopefully I’ll just keep getting better, right?!

27. Find a new trail to hike (and hike it!)

My favorite winter memory from childhood is when my parents would bundle up all 5 of us and we would drive (what felt like forever) up LaGrange Road. Once we turned onto Route 83, we knew what we were up to…


It seriously was the best. We would head over to Swallow Cliff, rent two toboggans and walk up the 700+ steps (so it seemed), wait in line (for.ev.er) and finally, with much anticipation, crawl onto the toboggans. (It was an extra special trip if you got to be in the front). Each parent would take a few of us (because all 7 of us couldn’t fit onto one toboggan) and once I got cold (because I was always the first to get cold), one of my parents would sit at the bottom with me and we would drink hot chocolate and watch the other kids/parent continue to toboggan until everyone had had enough. Sadly, the toboggan runs are closed now, but the area still definitely has some awesome things to see.

Since this place has such good memories for me, I decided to finally hike the trails around it. The day after Thanksgiving was a gorgeous day. It was sunny and probably around 50 degrees (since I waited so long to post this, I can’t remember the actual temperature). There is one trail that goes in a 5ish mile loop, but I was still recovering from a broken foot, so I decided not to take the loop and just walk some of the smaller in and out trails. The stairs still felt like there were 700+ of them, but it brought back so many of those childhood memories. Once at the top, there is one main trail that leads to other trails. From there, you have a few different options (bonus, I found another parking lot and can just avoid the stairs completely next time). I probably hiked for a mile or two…not too long since I was still being a baby about my foot…but long enough to be out and about, enjoying the day.