Friday, April 20, 2012

I've done stuff. Seriously.

How about an update on the ol' 101 List?  It's only been eleventy-billion days since I last updated.  Seems like the right time.

So.  I haven't been overly active in completing tasks.  But trust me when I say, I think about it a lot.  And I have plans in the months ahead to knock many more items off the list.  But for now, here's what I've been up to since last...


Really?!  That's when I last posted?! 

Terrible.  And even more lame that I have so little cross off since then...*sigh*

Ah well.  Here it is, for what it's worth:

1. Eat egg rolls from the Golden Palace - According to fans of The Golden Palace Chinese restaurant in Ottawa, I've been missing out.  BIG time.  I've never been there, and honestly, even though I'm crossing this off my list, I still have never been there.  But this year, they started serving Golden Palace egg rolls at Scotiabank Place, so when I was at the Sens game on Monday night, I ordered some.  They were sooooo good.  And I've been told they're even better when you get them straight from the restaurant.  (Cheaper, too, I would suspect, as these babies cost me $6.50.)

33. Attend at least 3 Sens games per season - I barely managed to complete this task for this year - just by the skin of my teeth.  I attended my second game on December 7th, 2011, when my brother-in-law Chris offered me one of his season tickets, so I joined him, his dad, and his uncle that night to see the Sens take on the Washington Capitals.  Unfortunately, we lost 5-3. Boooooo.  Chris then offered me another ticket in early January, which I turned down due to "just not feeling like it".  I know.  What kind of fan am I??  And I was realllllly regretting it as the season wound down and I still needed to get to my third game of the year!

Fortunately, the Sens made the playoffs, and tickets went on sale right around the time Lent was over, so I was able to order tickets on my credit card.  (I gave up my credit card for Lent.  How silly of me.)  I was able to convince my brother to come with me, since I owed him money, figuring out to be right around the same amount as a playoff ticket in the nosebleeds.  Done deal.  And of course, we lost 1-0.  I have never been at SBP for a victory in the playoffs.  It was an amazing game, just a bad end result. We also lost my car...if you haven't already read about it, you can find that story here.

44.  Make a recipe from every section in my Betty Crocker cookbook -  On a Saturday back in March, I was craving pancakes.  I didn't have the recipe that we used to always make as kids handy, nor could I remember it.  (I honestly used to have it memorized...we ate a lot of pancakes.)  So I decided to flip open the ol' cookbook and find Betty's recipe.  They were really good, but not as good as the ones we used to make at home.  Mmmm...pancakes.

67. Complete a 1000-piece puzzle - You know why I haven't completed much off my list for the past few months?  That's because I spent most of those months trying to complete this task!! 

When my mom & her siblings cleaned out my grandmother's house last Spring, I laid claim to a 1000-piece puzzle of hers.  I meant to work on it over the Christmas holidays, but didn't get started until early January.  I worked on it for weeks, only to reach the end and discover I was missing not one, not two...but FIVE pieces.  I couldn't consider this task complete when I was missing FIVE PIECES!!!  Darned ol' Grandma and her rummage sale puzzles...

So I bought a new one at the store.  A nice, 1000-piece horse scene.  I didn't take into account, though, that it was all in whites, greys, and browns.  Talk about a challenge!  It took me forever, but I finally completed it on March 15, 2012.  I even took a picture, but don't have it uploaded on this computer.  This is what it looks like, though.

I really enjoyed my puzzle-making days.  They kept me pre-occupied during some very stressful, anxiety-filled days when my dad was sick and in the hospital, and after he passed away.  I thought about starting another one up again right away, but I've decided to keep my puzzles as a "Winter" activity.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

95. Drive on the Queensway -  I'm going to be honest.  I didn't really think this was something I'd ever accomplish.  I figured it was a guaranteed $5 towards charity (that's my promise - for every task I don't complete).  My friend Sharon, though, was determined I was going to do it.  Several times, she has suggested it, when on our adventures to the movies in Kanata, and I always declined, coming up with some excuse.  But on March 16th, we ventured over to Kanata for an early movie that started around noon.  We grabbed a bite to eat afterwards, and were heading home around 3 PM.  I was feeling brave, so I finally agreed to drive on the Queensway.  I was so nervous, but under Sharon's careful guidance, it was easy-peasy.  Not sure I'm ready to tackle it on my own, but if I had someone directing me again, I don't think I'd hesitate.  CHECK!!  (Thanks to Sharon for helping me, and for risking her own life for my 101 List! haha!)

Well.  That's it.  That's all I have to show for the past 6 months.

How sad.

But at least it's something, right?  I have just a little over a year to work away at this, and I'm excited to get at it!  Hopefully more updates coming soon!! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yes! I actually have STUFF TO CROSS OFF!!

Slowly but surely, I'm whittling away at the ol' 101 List.

Here's what I've been up to lately:

#9 - Lose 20 lbs. Those of you who follow my blog at Jill's World are probably pretty familiar with my current weight loss project by now. First, I was trying to lose weight for my friend Lindsay's wedding, which is in May 2012. Then, a few weeks ago, my brother got engaged, and his fiancee Amanda asked me to be in their wedding as well - and they're getting married in February 2012. Of course, I took the absurd notion to order dress sizes that are too small for me currently, so I have no choice but to lose weight. Trust me, folks, this is a good thing. Since changing my eating habits and ramping up my exercise in late August, I have lost 20 lbs. (Don't believe me? Go to my other blog and see the nifty weight-loss ticker on the sidebar!) #9 - CHECK!! (And hopefully at least double that in the next 3 months!)

#33 - Attend at least 3 Ottawa Senators hockey games per season within the 1001 days. I got to my first game of the 2011-2012 season on Sunday October 30th. I actually won the first-level tickets after entering a Facebook contest hosted by the Team 1200 radio station! I hardly ever win anything, so this was pretty exciting. Plus, the enemy in town was our loathed rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I invited my friend Sharon to come along, and we had a blast - especially since the hometeam earned the narrow 3-2 victory! GO SENS GO!! And thanks to the Team 1200 for the awesome seats - Section 113 Row D!!! I've never sat so close in my life, it was heaven!!

#52 - Buy a lottery ticket. Sounds simple enough, right? But never before had I bought myself a lottery ticket. I didn't know how. People have given them to me as gifts before, but I've never purchased one myself - because I didn't know what to ask for. So many times I've gone into the store intending to buy one, but I always chickened out. Sooooo silly. Anyways, it was like a little stroke of fate last night when I was in paying for my gas when Mary, the cashier, said to me, "Would you like to buy a ticket for tonight's 649, Jilly?" Before I had a chance to second-guess myself, I said, "Sure! How much are they?" She said, "Oh, just $2, another dollar for the extra if you want it." So I said, "Sure!" I really have no idea what that means, but I forked over my $3 and got my very first lottery ticket! Fingers crossed that I'm a big winner! (haha!)

#79 - Get an updated picture taken with my family. I'm checking this one off, even though it's not technically my whole family. It's a picture taken with my siblings, siblings-in-law, niece, nephew, and puppy nephew. Thanksgiving weekend, my mom assembled us on the front steps to get a "Christmas Card" photo. We did this several years ago - all of us - but she and my dad aren't in this one. Close enough...

#100 - Come in 2nd place in the Car Rally. Car Rally time has come and gone again, and once again, I have failed to place 2nd. This year we were SO CLOSE. We ended up tying for 3rd (with my family, of course). It's one of those very fine lines...we definitely don't want to WIN, so I guess if I had to fall on either side of 2nd, 3rd is the best place to be. Maybe next year!

So it hasn't exactly been a "flurry of 101 List activity", but at least it's a few more things to check off!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

#19 Completed, Still Working on #30

Oh, my poor little 101 List.

I haven't forgotten it. I just haven't been inspired to do much on it this summer.

That's terrible. A whole season has passed, and I've basically accomplished nothing. All of those summer days when I could have been planning a trip to TO, or being a tourist in Ottawa, or for God's sake at least carving my name in a damned tree!!

But nope. Nothing. Nothing but books and movies. I do believe this is a sign that my life is in a bit of a rut. A book and movie RUT, I tell you.

The good news is that I finished #19 - Read 10 Books in One Year. (In August. Ooooooo, atta challenge yourself, Jill.)

The bad news is that this blog will probably be even more neglected than it already is now that I won't have any book reviews to write. eeeep.

The book that checked in at #10 was Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love.

I was reading it for my book club, and as it turns out, I was one of the few who actually really enjoyed it. The funny thing is that I purchased the book from Amazon a long time ago, and when it arrived, I was surprised at how BIG the book was. Huge. MASSIVE. I was intimidated by it. I told everyone I knew would be reading it for book club to get it early, because it was going to take a looooong time to read it.

Turns out, once I finally flipped it open to get started on it, I discovered I had accidentally purchased the LARGE PRINT EDITION. So yes, it was big, huge, MASSIVE - but there were, like, 10 words on a page. I giggled to myself as I thought of the few people I talked to who had already read it that probably wondered why I was complaining about how long I thought the book would be. I imagine they were thinking, And this girl says she's a reader? And she's scared of the size of Eat Pray Love? What does she read, RL Stine books?

In fact, I loved the way Eat Pray Love was broken down, into 109 small chapters that, for me, just flew by. That's the nice part about a LARGE PRINT EDITION book. You can whiz through those millions of pages very quickly. And I felt a connection to Gilbert's first-person account of her real-life adventures. No, I don't think I could ever just drop everything and leave for a whole year, but I envied her ability to do so. I think it would be something I could really enjoy, if I had the balls to actually do it.

The book is broken into three parts, based on the three places she traveled to: Italy, where she ate; India, where she prayed; and Indonesia, where she finally found the ability to love again. It was her own spiritual journey, her effort to mend her broken life, and I admired her for it. I loved reading about all the people she met, the little situations she found herself in during the year-long adventure. A few people I talked to felt they struggled, especially through the section on India, but I was fascinated by her experience at the Ashram, and felt intrigued by the idea of meditation and Yoga. I'm interested in trying both.

So yes, I really did love Eat Pray Love, even though several people at our book club disliked it and didn't even finish reading it. I was glad I read it, and it has stuck with me since then.

There you have it. The very last book review. I'm sure you're all sick of me talking about books by now.

So let's move on to movies. I hardly ever talk about them. (ha!)

I got two more letters checked off for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet.

First, I watched my "T" movie in August, and it was one I'd been wanting to see for a while: The Town, starring Ben Affleck.

So.good. Suspenseful, thrilling a little scary, and....well...Ben Affleck is in it. And I love Ben Affleck.

It tells the story of a group of friends from a neighbourhood in Boston called Charlestown who grow up to be robbers, but in the midst of a bank heist, Affleck's character, Doug, takes a liking for their hostage, Claire, and begins a relationship with her shortly after. She has no idea that her new boyfriend is one of the masked men who caused her so much terror.

I also got the "M" movie checked off when I saw Morning Glory, which features such a fun cast, including Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and Harrison Ford.

I didn't have high expectations for this movie - in fact, I thought the previews for it looked kinda boring - but I really enjoyed it. McAdams plays Becky, an upstart workaholic TV producer who gets her big break by getting the chance to right the failing morning show "Daybreak". Her biggest challenge is convincing legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy (Ford) to join Collen Peck (delightfully played by Keaton) as co-host of the program. The story follows the rise to success of Becky's show and her handling of its temperamental stars, while she also tries to juggle a new relationship with her hottie colleague, Adam (played by Patrick Wilson).

I really recommend both of these movies - both are worth it!!

So I know I've said this before, but I'm really going to try to get more knocked off the list in the coming weeks. Otherwise, there's no way I'll ever get most of it accomplished by the end of the 1001 days!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yes. I read another book. And watched another movie.

So, are you confused?

Is this not supposed to be a blog following my 101 List accomplisments? Why does it look so much like a book/movie review blog?

Are these questions you're asking yourself?

I know. Enough with the books and movies already, right?!

But that's all I seem to be doing on the 101 Adventure these days. Watching movies and reading books. What a wild ride, eh?

I swear. Summer is here, and I'm going to start doing some more "adventurous" things. Maybe zip-lining? I'd like to go to High Falls. Hoping to wiggle in a trip to T.O. some weekend, and might even go by train. Camping? Boat ride? Spider dogs? All possibilities in the months to come.

So stay tuned.

But for now, I'm going to tell you all how much I love love loved Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen, the eighth book crossed off for #19 - Read 10 books in one year.

I missed out on seeing the flick while it was still in theatres, so I decided I'd better read the book before the movie came out on DVD. My local library got the book in a few weeks ago, and I just happened to be there the day it arrived. The librarian offered me first crack at it, and I'm so glad I took it.

It was one of those books. It swallowed me up and I became totally engrossed with the story. It was a completely different time, a completely different world, and I was entirely intrigued by it.

The story begins at the height of the Great Depression, with young Jacob Jankowski receiving the biggest jolt of his life: the untimely and tragic death of his parents, only days before he's to write his finals at Cornell University, where he is about to graduate as a veterinarian. After discovering that his father, also a vet, had no savings and was mortgaging his home in order to pay for his son's education, Jacob realizes he is completely lost and alone. Caught in a whirlwind of pain, he runs away and jumps a train in an attempt to escape his misery.

Jacob discovers very quickly he has landed on the train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He has literally, though unintentionally, run away with the circus. Jacob survives the first few uncertain days as several kind-hearted members of the Flying Squadron take him under their wings, but when the owner of the traveling circus catches wind that he's a university-trained veterinarian, Jacob's stock goes up, and he's offered full employment with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

Jacob then meets Marlena, the star of the Equestrian Show, and her husband, August, the animal trainer with a mean streak. Throw in a temperamental elephant named Rosie, a dwarf named Walter, a dog named Queenie, and an old cripple named Camel... and then the adventures really begin for Jacob.

I seriously couldn't put it down. I'm usually a "chapter before bedtime" reader, but I was forgoing television for this book. That's big. It also helped that I got to picture Rob Pattinson as Jacob, and Reese Witherspoon as Marlena. Now I really can't wait to see the movie!

I also got one of those tricky letters crossed off my list for #30 - Watch 26 movies I've never seen before starting with each letter of the alphabet. On Friday night, Lindsay, Ryan, and I ignored the Great Flood of 2011 and went to see X-Men: First Class in theatres.

I know. I don't look like an X-Men kind of girl, right? The truth is, I'm not. Usually. But I bought the first three movies on DVD during the most crazy part of my James Marsden phase. (He plays Cyclops.)


So when Lindsay suggested going to see First Class, I jumped. Find out how the mutants originally began? Sure. Why not.

It was entertaining. The whole plot was tied in with the Cuban Missile Crisis, so it was a neat way to integrate history into the fictional story, which is the prequel of the battle between 'good' mutants and 'bad' mutants. The origin of the relationship between Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) is discovered, as well as some of the mutant characters we become familiar with in the trilogy. We also find out the reason Professor X is in a wheelchair. ( And probably a ton of other little bits and pieces that X-Men diehards would pick up on that I did not).

I enjoyed it. A little disappointed that Cyclops didn't play a role in it, but a fun movie nonetheless. And very happy to get the "X" movie crossed off, because how many other movies could possibly begin with the letter X?!

Highly recommend both Water for Elephants and X-Men: First Class!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yet another book down!

I'm just rollin' through #19 - Read 10 books in one year. After finishing The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell - the latest selection for our book club - I now have only three more books to read to complete this task! (And I'm already half-way done book #8, Water for Elephants - I just can't put it down!)

As for The Carrie Diaries, it was a fun, quick read. I'm a big Sex and the City fan, so it was neat to take a stroll back, and find out who Carrie Bradshaw was in high school, and how she was launched into the phase of her life that we SATC fans are so familiar with.

At times, it was a little juvenile - sort of like a glorified edition of the Sweet Valley High series - but what more could you expect from a story about a gang of high school students, riding the rollercoaster of Senior Year? I'm eleven years removed from high school, but I still remember what that last year was like. It was filled with highs and lows, and each one felt like it was the end of the world. Little did we know... I think the author did a good job of capturing what life would be like for a group of misfit teens, standing on the cusp of the rest of their lives.

I also really enjoyed the little twist at the end; the hint that Carrie's about to meet at least once of her future best friends whom we've all come to know and love over the years. I'm hoping to get Summer and the City sometime soon, which is the follow-up to this book, so that I can find out how Carrie's first summer of freedom in New York goes.

It's a must-read for SATC fans, especially for younger women who may be interested in starting to watch the episodes. It's also a fun read for those of us who have already been through the six seasons and two movies; to see where it really all began!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

#89 - A lot of blogs written.

I was about two weeks into May when I realized I had written a blog every weekday so far that month. This is usually a rare occurance for me. I usually miss at least once or twice a week, if not more. That was why I included on my 101 List #89 - Write a blog post for Jill's World or Jill's 101 Adventure every weekday for a month. It would be a challenge for sure!

So once I realized I had two weeks down, I figured May would be that month.

What a dumb, dumb idea. May is kind of a busy month. So while I try to get my blog written the night before just to post in the morning, that doesn't always go as planned. That left me scrambling some days to get a blog up before the clock struck midnight, so that I could say I had written a post that day.

Then there was the great BLOGGER MALFUNCTION OF 2011, which took place smack-dab in the middle of it all. Somehow, I escaped unscathed. One of my posts vanished for a few days, but reappeard again. Phewf.

So here, as proof, are links to allll of my posts for the month of May. Go back and read 'em again if you want. There were some fun ones in there!

May 1 - Sunday, no blog
May 2 - Getting to Know You, Royal Wedding Edition
May 3 - Need something to smile about today? Look no further.
May 4 - Feeling like a "SO WHAT" Wednesday
May 5 - A feeble attempt at writing a shorter Survivor/Idol Mash-Up
May 6 - I want to be a dancer.
May 7 - Saturday
May 8 - Sunday
May 9 - That lunatic cutting their grass over and over? That's me.
May 10 - The Turkey Blog
May 11 - It's a "We Want to Know Wednesday"!!
May 12 - I don't need a puppy anymore. I have a whole LITTER. (This is the post that went missing during the BLOGGER MALFUNCTION OF 2011. It almost ruined this whole project.)
May 13 - Friday Randomness
May 14 - Saturday
May 15 - Sunday
May 16 - I'm so tiiiiiiirrrrred
May 17 - B Movie - a RIOT!
May 18 - The Single Girl Files: Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell
May 19 - A Tale of Grass-Cutting Woe
May 20 - A Random Friday-of-the-long-weekend
May 21 - Saturday
May 22 - Sunday
May 23 - How I Survived the Apocalypse (or, just another May 2-4 Weekend) (Bonus points - I blogged on a holiday Monday!!)
May 24 - N Movie - Anything with Ashton is okay by me...
May 25 - Look Out! It's a "Jill's Gonna Ramble" Wednesday!! AND Oh, and I almost forgot... (What the...?? Two posts in one day?? DOUBLE BONUS POINTS!!!)
May 26 - Oprah's Farewell + American Idol Finale = Awesome Night
May 27 - Friday Confessional. Because I'm too busy. (We almost lost 'er here, folks. This was a crazybusy day. I finally found two minutes to throw a bunch of words together and call it a "blog post". I couldn't lose so late in the game!!)
May 28 - Saturday
May 29 - Sunday
May 30 - Another Book Down
May 31 - My Latest Purchase. AKA, the reason I should not be allowed to have a credit card.

Fitting that the last blog of the month also wins the "LONGEST TITLE EVER" award.

So #89 is complete! And I must pat myself on the back for this one, 'cause it was a toughie!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Another Book Down...

I have finished my 6th book of the year for #19 - Read 10 books in one year. And once again, it was a book that should have gone quickly, but instead took six weeks to read!! Eeep!!

I recently re-joined my local library (I hadn't been there since I was a kid, but she still had me in her system! Gotta love small towns!), and the first night I was there perusing the selections, trying to find something to read before I start The Carrie Diaries for our next book club, I ran into a friend who told me I had to read the book she had just returned: Separate Beds by Lavyrle Spencer.

I know we have similar taste when it comes to other books. (She's a Twilight fan, too.) But for some reason, it took me forever to get through this one. It's a good ol' romance, with one of those classic "predictable" story lines - low-class girl meets high-class boy, girl gets pregnant, boy's parents force him to marry her, they're supposed to put on a charade until the baby arrives and then get divorced, but whaddya know...they fall in lurrrrrrrve...

Cue the chirping birds and harp music.

Maybe I just haven't been in a lovey-dovey, dreams-do-come-true mood lately. Maybe I've just read so many riveting books in the past few years that this one fell short in comparison.

I don't know what the problem was. But it took me too long to plod through it.

Hoping for better luck with The Carrie Diaries, which I started last night!