Day 11 - What do you wish you'd done more of in 2011?

What do you wish you’d done more of in 2011?

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I have a whole list of things I wish I’d done more of. It includes exploring Ottawa, consistently working on getting healthier, and several of the items on a long-ago bucket list.

I have crocheted some, but not nearly enough - I’d really like to finish the scarf I’ve been working on for Brandon for almost two years now.

I’ve gotten completely off the rails with practicing photography. That makes me sad. Part of the reason is my kit lens limitations. The 50mm I got for Christmas last year is fantastic, but also limiting. I’m finding I really want something like this now. Oy. (It’s never going to end, is it?)

Sign Language…yeah, I’ve barely even tried. It’s harder now that Brandon’s talking. 

I’ve had a lot of practice with Photoshop and Illustrator this year. I’ve also added Lightroom and InDesign to my list of software that I’m learning. I get to use them often for work, so that helps a great deal.

Blogging has put my creative writing interest on the back burner. One day I’ll try to get back to it, but for now I know it just isn’t where my heart or my head is at.

I’m never going to be a Web Designer by trade, but I’m progressing in what little I know. I can’t do anything exceptional, but I’m mostly happy with the results of what I am able to do. 

Cooking is something I wish I’d do a lot more of. It would certainly save us money as a family and that’s never a bad thing. I just wish I could derive some enjoyment from it. I don’t like it and I’m not sure how to change that.

Somewhere in here there are goals for 2012, but I haven’t a clue which ones I’d like to pursue yet. I’m still hopeful that I can finish that scarf before the end of this year. I should go work on it right now.

Reading all night long

I love reading. I’m one of those people who reads relatively fast, though I wouldn’t say I’m a speed reader. I can read several books a week and I went through a period of reading almost a book a day several years ago. I was taking full advantage of the Ottawa Public Library at the time, and the number of books I checked out in a year is a number that - if I knew it - I would probably be embarrassed to admit (we’re talking triple digits). I was in between permanent jobs, taking on occasional contracts and I had a fair bit of free time on my hands. (I think I was also depressed, thus the incessant reading, but finally finding a job helped me get past that part.)

My mom and dad are both readers, but my mom is the one that I take after. She read often and quickly and all different kinds of books from Charles Dickens to the Bible to Encyclopedias to Patricia Cornwell, Dick Francis and Agatha Christie. Dad was more likely to read a well-thought out selection of books in a year where my mom almost always had a book she was reading or re-reading.

Where mom and I were slightly different is putting books down. I used to stay up all night long (literally) to see where a story went because I needed to know before I could sleep. When I lived alone back in 2000 shortly before moving to Canada, I read Kiss the Girls by James Patterson for the first time. Did I mention I lived alone? And in a slightly sketchy neighborhood? Luckily, it was a Friday night so I was able to stay up until 5:00am to finish the book so I didn’t stay awake all night listening and jumping at all the creaks and groans of the older house I lived in. I enjoy a good thriller, but that was too close to home for me.

Mom was much better about putting her books down and getting things done. But I think she understood me - perhaps even wished (like I sometimes do now) that she could just let things go for a day and just spend her time reading.

I’ve gotten better. I can now put a book down and go to sleep, but rarely without getting to the end of the chapter. I miss being able to stay up all night and read, though. I miss being able to take an entire day and plan to read like I’ve done with several of the Harry Potter releases. I can’t do these things anymore and still be a responsible adult, meaning being there for my husband and child (and also my employer). So, now I read Dr. Suess and other good children’s books to my son to get him excited about reading. Then, maybe one day, he and I can wile away the hours in our respective reader’s worlds - occasionally.

Do you have a favorite activity that you miss? A way of doing something that you miss? What is it? Why has it changed for you?

Hobby "Bucket" List

I love learning. I have continued to take classes on various subjects even though I’ve been out of school for over 10 years. Most of the classes I’ve taken were to help me work toward switching the direction of my work. Having Brandon has slowed my progress, but I am starting to get antsy and wanting to take courses again. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to sign up for a class this fall. (Oh, I really, really want to!) Personally, there are a ton of things I want to learn to do; here’s a few:

  • Photography - I don’t have any dreams of becoming a photographer, but I would LOVE to learn some tips and tricks that will make our everyday, average pictures a little more interesting. My first step is reading our camera manual. :)
  • Knit/Crochet - My mom taught me the basics when I was much younger. We started with crocheting when I was about 10. I think knitting came a few years later. I just never really progressed beyond very basic knowledge. So, I’m hoping to work on that throughout next winter when I’ll be able to stand having yarn sitting on my lap (it’s just way too hot right now).
  • Sign Language - I’ve always been so fascinated watching people sign. It’s such a graceful, beautiful language. Shortly after Brandon was born, I decided I wanted to teach him and we got a lot of materials and took a class, but I wish I’d started learning before he was born. He knows a lot of signs now, but it took almost a year for him to really get into it. Now he loves his Baby Signing Time videos. One day, I’d love to be fluent at Sign Language. Not because I need it for some reason, but because I just think it’s pretty cool.
  • Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator - I am no graphic artist, nor will I ever be, but I would really like to learn more in these programs to do little projects for myself. I’ve done some basic work in them (and InDesign) at a previous job and I enjoyed the creative process. I have some books to help me learn them. I just have to stop blogging so much and start Photoshopping!
  • Creative Writing - About 5 years ago, I got a couple of books from the Creative Writing School in New York. The book gives you exercises to complete and it’s fun to do. I got out of the habit a while ago, and ever since we moved into our house, they’ve stayed packed away. So, I need to go dig them out and start using them again. (Anything to improve the writing on this blog, right?)
  • Web Design - I took XHTML and Dreamweaver a few years ago and I even built a very basic Web site for a project I worked on at my last job (that’s still in use today, thank you very much!) but my skills are not mad skills at all. I know more than the average Joe, but I’d love to get into some more advanced design work. One goal in that area is to dump my current canned blog template and customize my site to reflect ME! Maybe by end of summer?
  • Cooking - Cooking isn’t my favorite activity. It feels like a major chore. Every. Single. Day. In fact, back in January, Matt and I started using Supperworks because we were so bored with our own cooking. That has really helped, but I wonder if I’d enjoy cooking more if I knew more about how ingredients work together to make good food. I can follow a recipe - no problem. I even think it turns out well when I cook from a recipe. But I’m not the person who can go to the cupboard and throw a meal together on the fly. That’d be awesome if I could, though. I could get the pantry emptied out.

That’s probably enough for now. I have no idea when I’ll find time to pursue all of these, but I’m thinking about a plan. 

Do you have things in life you want to learn to do? What are they? What drives your interest in these activities?