Looking at the List #11

137. Go on a New York Times “36 Hour” trip.

The New York times has been publishing 36 hour trip itineraries since 2002. Recently, they’ve compiled the columns into books by region. I bought the USA version as a graduation gift for someone and I bought myself the Northeast edition. I do want to travel more and I like that these trips can be done with limited vacation time. Maybe I’ll use my copy of the book to explore a city right here in Pennsylvania!

 

140. Donate to RIT.

This picture is from 007. It was on RIT’s website until very, very recently.

About once a week, I get a phone call from RIT’s Telefund Office asking me to donate money. Well, at least that’s what I assume they are asking, I’ve personally never picked up. I know, I know, it makes me kind of sound like a jerk, but I really hate talking on the phone. I really did enjoy my time at RIT and at some point I do want to give back. I’ve helped in the past with different volunteer events, but hopefully in the next few years I’ll be at the place where I can support the school financially. My plan is to donate to a specific department or organization…maybe I can get together with some of my sisters to do something really great for the house!

142. Do the whole tropical vacation thing.

There was a period of two or three weeks this winter where EVERYBODY I knew was on some awesome tropical vacation. The only thing that kept me sane during that time was that I got to go on vacation as well…to Missouri. I’m not the biggest fan of tropical vacations, but in the middle of this crazy, snowy winter, the idea of laying on a beach doing nothing for a week sounded FABULOUS. I added this to the list during that time and since then I found out that one of my cousins might be planning a destination wedding…so this goal might be a bit easier to accomplish than I imagined!

It’s Not Going to Happen

(Slightly over) Six months ago, I came up with this crazy idea to try 300 new-ish things before I turned thirty. The list itself is still under construction, but I find myself constantly coming up with new ideas. Some of these make it to the list, some of them don’t. I’m trying to keep everything on the list somewhat realistic and possible.

Even though I’m only six months in, I already know that there are some things that are just not going to happen. In fact, I knew it somewhat at the beginning and included #29, donating $5 for every task NOT completed to charity. I’ve already had to amend the amount I’m saving – $30 per task was a little too much on my meager income.

Going through my list recently, I saw another one that I just don’t think is going to happen – #78, use all my tanning credits. No, no, it’s not because tanning is bad for you. I KNOW that it is, but I’m also super pale. I have trouble buying foundation because no company manufactures a shade called “Casper” which is probably the only thing that would match my white face. I usually go once every week or two so when I moved to Reading, I looked for a place that would let me buy a package of sessions rather than paying a monthly rate. As usual, things kept coming up and I didn’t use up my sessions before they expired.

I’m sure there will be other things on this list that I won’t be able to cross off and perfectionist-me needs to be okay with that!

Volunteering

This was originally going to be part of my “Manic Monday” post, but as I started writing, I realized it was easily turning into it’s own post! Volunteering is something that helps me get involved in my new communities as I move, so I’m more than happy to write an entire post on it!

The first time I can remember volunteering was when I was maybe nine or ten. I was with my Girl Scout troop and we were helping to pack boxes at the local food bank. I knew the boxes were going to “poor people” but I didn’t think they were in my own town. One of the girls from the troop wound up sneaking a peak at the list of families getting these packages and all of the sudden she blurted out, “C—, why is your family on this list?!” We were all so stunned! I remember being appalled by the one girl’s behavior – she was going out of her way to look at a confidential list, which was bad enough, but then to call a “friend” out in front of everybody?? I couldn’t believe it. I was also shocked that a family from our town, let alone a family I knew, needed help. It made me realize that you can’t always “see” when somebody is in need of help.

Through Girl Scouts and various other programs, I frequently volunteered in my community until I graduated high school. My favorite opportunity from Connecticut was to help out at a summer school/day camp for students with special needs. These students ranged anywhere from having really hard to control ADHD all the way to having severe mental disabilities. Several students didn’t speak at all. When I went to college, it was harder to find ways to volunteer. I was living in a brand new community, so I didn’t know WHERE to look for these opportunities. My contributions at that time were limited to helping out with food drives.

My sorority highly values both service and philanthropy. By this point, service was an old hat, but philanthropy was something completely new to me. I was a broke college kid – I had never donated my (non-existent) money to any cause and I had never run any sort of fundraiser. My pledge class and I collected cans to raise money for a local animal shelter and my senior year, I was Mr. RIT chair! I was still able to help out my hometown as well – one of my pledge sisters was from my hometown and shortly before Christmas one year, we held an event at the house to make Christmas cards which we then distributed to nursing home residents at my grandma’s nursing home.

Mr. RIT 2009

When I started at the University of Delaware, I quickly found ways to volunteer. I hosted a “Day of Service” project my first year which gave me one of my favorite UD memories – we ran out of bread for the “PB&J Jam”, so I ran out to buy more. When I returned, it was POURING so I asked some RAs to meet me at the door. The RAs and residents participating in the program actually made a line stretching from my car into the building and passed everything down fireman brigade style. I WISH I had a picture of it. Back then, “Day of Service” was only complex-wide, but it soon became a campus event and now various alumni groups hold their own service events the same day that UD is hosting Day of Service. This year I met up with some alum from Reading to volunteer at an animal shelter.

My favorite organization that I got involved with at UD was the Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation. I had heard Andrew’s story years and years prior when I was still going to RIT. My then-boyfriend was from Wilmington and had siblings that had attended school with Andrew. The B+ Foundation’s goal is to raise money for children’s cancer research and to assist families with expenses they are unable to cover. I got to personally meet Joe McDonough twice during my time at UD – the first time he came to speak to my staff as we were racing money for UDance and the second time I invited him to come to speak at Widener University during my internship. My favorite part about working with B+ is that they emphasize that every little bit helps. At Widener, Joe McDonough told the story of how just $400 was able to get a little girl a portable oxygen container so she could fly home and spend her final days at her own house with her family members and dog.  I really hope I get to work with B+ again.

Since moving to Reading, I’ve continued to volunteer in my community and in other parts of the country. I joined Junior League a few months after moving here and have been able to help with several organizations that serve the children of Reading. I’m planning on doing a separate post on Junior League later this week! I was also asked by my students to be a trip advisor for Alternative Spring Break. I said yes without even knowing where I was going to be going or what I was going to be doing. I wound up going to Joplin, Missouri to help with two organizations and in just a few days, I’ll be heading back!! I’m super excited and Joplin is DEFINITELY getting its own post! 

If you have any favorite volunteer stories, be sure to leave them in the comments!

34. Donate My Old Clothes

I have a very real fear of becoming a hoarder. I don’t want to wind up on some reality show, screaming at people that are throwing my trash out, so I actively try to clean and get rid of things on a regular basis. This was easier the past eight years because I was moving AT LEAST once a year. Now that I’ve got a “grown up job”, I’m staying in one place longer and it’s easier for things to pile up. Going through my list, I found that I’ve put a few things down that involve cleaning and getting rid of stuff.

There’s a fine line between having a lot of stuff and being a hoarder and I continually walk it. I have a lot of things in boxes at my parents’ house still – things from my room that were boxed up when I got “too old” for them, things boxed up from when my room was being painted, things boxed up from my first college apartment. I know what’s in some boxes – Beanie Babies, Baby Sitters Club books, pictures and mementos – but there are plenty of boxes that I don’t know what’s in them and I can only guess – clothes and homework most likely. My parents keep telling me to go through all this stuff but I’m only home for a few days at a time and looking through boxes in the basement isn’t what I want to spend my time doing. So then they ask if they can just throw them out but they can’t do that – I don’t know what’s in them and I need to see it before it gets thrown out!

I had a total hoarder-style breakdown once. I was thirteen or fourteen and yeah, I had a messy room, I was a teenager. My mom kept telling me to tidy up and go through my piles of stuff, but I hadn’t done anything. One day when my dad and I were out somewhere, my mom decided to do it herself. Her version of cleaning was to just throw everything out. When I came home and saw that my things were missing, I had what could only be described as a panic attack. I remember sitting on the floor of the garage, pulling things out of the trash. One of my friends had passed away a few months before and I was so scared that she had thrown out the binder we had drawn on and the notes we had passed in class. She did. I couldn’t find the notes, but I did manage to save the binder. It’s probably in my parents’ basement now.

I tend to keep things because of the memories associated with them. At some point in high school, I managed to get all of the smaller stuff into a shoebox. That’s completely fine. I have ticket stubs, a signed CD, and a hall pass written out at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001 in the box. My bigger issue is that I wind up hanging on to clothes and clothes take up space. I’m not just talking prom dresses and other important things – I have t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, and pants that no longer fit or I no longer wear that I keep just because of what I wore them to. My mom always questions why I still hang onto them – I have the memory, why do I need the items?

Earlier this month, I went through my dresser and closets and wound up with a pretty sizable pile of clothing that could be donated. I think I did my best to make decisions based on what I would wear. Another incentive was that a Plato’s Closet had just opened in Reading and I desperately needed money after my big Disney trip. I wound up bringing two huge bags to Plato’s, but they only bought a few things. That was the worst – I didn’t care about the money, but I wound up coming home with the stuff and it was hard to resist the urge to take things out of the bags!! Luckily, those bags made it over to Goodwill along with two others.

Clearly I have to work harder than the average person to make sure my living space is clean and organized, but in the past month I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m hoping to go through my clothes again and get rid of even MORE. Also, keep an eye out for a post about cleaning my closet and dresser at home!

A Quick Thanksgiving Update!

  • Prior to Thanksgiving, I took a quick trip to the Farmer’s Market AND donated a bunch of clothes! I hope to have the donation post up soon. The Farmer’s Market post is going to have to wait until I can go back and take more pictures than just one of me drooling over my first bubble tea since leaving Delaware.
  • While I was home, I cleaned out both my closet and dresser from my “In Between” bedroom. Trust me, this is a major accomplishment and I can definitely cross #115 off the list.
  • …I also watched every episode of Hoarders on Netflix which probably explains the first two items.
  • I decorated my Christmas tree the other day! I’m not going to count that as decorating for Christmas because I only have a tree and stockings up and in my mind, decorating for a holiday means going all out.
  • I missed Thanksgiving Eve due to some icy road conditions. I was upset at first but then I remembered how AWKWARD it is to see everybody that I used to not talk to in high school.
  • My mom, Lilly, and I set out with the intention of taking some Christmas card photos (#79!) but I’m almost 99% sure we’re going with a picture from last Christmas. Oops.
  • This month marks the first time that EVERY SINGLE ONE of my student loans is under it’s original balance (#31) so that’s another post!!
  • I successfully avoided Black Friday shopping and instead went to Stew Leonard’s which was delightfully NOT CROWDED. New tradition? I think so!

 

And now for some pictures from break!

Lilly and Jakey waiting for the turkey to drop!

Lilly and Jakey waiting for the turkey to drop!

One of Lilly's potential Christmas card pictures. Yes, we went to the beach on Black Friday as well.

One of Lilly’s potential Christmas card pictures. Yes, we went to the beach on Black Friday as well.

Mommy, Lilly, and me after our beach adventure.

Mommy, Lilly, and me after our beach adventure.

Posed Lilly in front of the Christmas tree like the proud mommy I am!

Posed Lilly in front of the Christmas tree like the proud mommy I am!

 

 

 

 

Looking at the List #3

It’s been a busy week with Homecoming and all, but my ultimate goal is to get on some sort of regular posting schedule…of course I say that with ONE WEEK TO GO until I’m in Florida…so we’ll see how this goes…

24. Find out my blood type

I’m adopted which means there’s a whole slew of stuff  about myself that I don’t know. Medical history? No idea. Where my curly red hair came from? A friend’s mother joked that it came from the JCPenny’s catalog. I probably won’t know a lot of that stuff…but there is a test to find out my blood type. It’s just that that test requires a needle. To draw blood. Clearly you can see why I’ve put it off.

My REAL hope is that sometime in the next three-ish years, technology creates some cheap, easy, and pain-free way for me to know my blood type. If not, hopefully I can suck it up and go get the test done!

25. Watch the post-Elliott Stabler seasons of SVU

I first watched Law and Order SVU when I was in middle school. No, I didn’t have irresponsible parents…my religion teacher’s daughter played one of Detective Stabler’s daughters, so of course I wanted to see her on TV. Other than that, I really had no interest in the show. Later in life, I fell captive to one of USA’s SVU marathons. And by one I mean MANY. Seriously, if you find that USA is running a marathon of SVU and there is something that needs doing, do NOT turn on the TV.

One winter session, I decided to watch all of SVU on Netflix. By some miracle, it did NOT negatively affect the grade I got on my comprehensive exam. At the time, Netflix ONLY had the Stabler episodes – he had just left the show. I could have easily started watching the current episodes on whatever channel they air, but I liked Stabler, I didn’t want to see the show without him. I was afraid it would suck. However, it’s still on the air and I’m sure they’ve updated Netflix so I should probably check it out.

27. Have a conversation in ASL

RIT has NTID, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, on its campus. About 10% of the student body was deaf or hard-of-hearing. I was used to classes with interpreters and c-print, captioning on all of the TVs, and seeing groups of students speaking with their hands. It wasn’t hard to learn ASL (American Sign Language) at RIT. They offered classes – both for credit and not-for-credit and had weekly “No Voice Zone” sessions. Additionally, everybody learned the “dirty” words quickly. I took the not-for-credit courses offered through NTID. They were $15 each quarter and were taught by NTID students. Fun fact – my ASL instructor later went on to become the first deaf contestant on Amazing Race!

While I was at RIT, my sign was okay…I’m not going to say I was good by any means…I have several friends that are interpreting majors, they’re good. I was able to practice signing frequently by talking with co-workers, sorority sisters, and classmates. Since leaving RIT, I really haven’t had the chance to use ASL. The local community class has ASL courses that I’ve thought of taking, but they’re a bit pricy.

Really, RIT is the only place that I know I can sign. The last time I visited, I wound up running into a sorority sister outside of the house and even though I had never met her before, we had an entire conversation in ASL. Granted, there was a lot of finger spelling on my end. Getting back to RIT is already on the list so hopefully while I’m there I can kill two birds with one stone!

29. $5 for every task NOT completed to charity

This one was definitely spotted on other lists! This is one that can’t be crossed off until the end and I have no clue what the amount is going to be. I’m also not sure of what charity I’m going to donate it to. Through Junior League, I’ve gotten to learn about local organizations that help the Reading area, so if I’m still in the area, maybe that’s where it will go to. Or maybe I’ll FINALLY answer RIT’s request for donations…HA!