101 in 1001

#37 through #39 – different approach.

Posted by Katie on April 10, 2011
101 in 1001, Travel / 5 Comments

#37 – Make an extensive French flash card collection.

#38 – Memorize every last French flash card.

#39 – Hire a French tutor to work with me once a week (6 months).

I’m taking a different approach to getting my French up to speed, and Dave is coming along for the ride!!  We found a native French speaker who has been coming to the apartment once a week to help us out.  One of her first comments to me, “Flashcards are boring!”  She spends an hour talking to me, and correcting my goofy grammar, and she spends an hour teaching Dave the basics. 

I know French much more as a spoken language than a written one…this comes through two summers of total French immersion in Quebec 10 years ago, as well as a customer service job speaking French on the phone.  Revisiting the basics through Dave, while spending time each week just talking in French, have been really valuable and fun. 

Dave’s homework is focused on memorization, while mine is focused on reading and writing things I am interested in, focusing on improving spelling and grammar.  I’ve enjoyed doing this with Dave, and our different talents in life help each other learn.  That’s to say that I just say anything in French to get my point across, while Dave focuses on spelling and pronouncing thing correctly.

The goal is to take our summer vacation in Quebec in 2012.  It would be wonderful to introduce Dave to that time in my life, as well as reconnect with the family that I lived with.

#14 – Done.

Posted by Katie on April 10, 2011
101 in 1001 / 5 Comments

#14 – Get an eye exam.

This did get done this winter…with kinda mixed results.  The good news is that I passed all of the physical eye tests.  My vision is better than 20/20.  The challenge, however, is that I didn’t get answers to any of my concerns.  I know that my vision has changed in the last couple of years.  Just ask any of my coworkers…they will all complain that I save documents at 130% size.  And I’ve always had floaters, but they now get stuck in my direct line of sight, while that never happened before.

I really wan’t pleased with the opthomologist that my general practicioner referred me to.  Three hours in the office, and about four minutes with the actual doctor, didn’t seem cool.  I will not be going back.

Not sure what my next step is here.

#84 – Done

Posted by Katie on October 30, 2010
101 in 1001, Work / No Comments

#84 – Every work night, be in bed by 11 PM (1 month).

Of all the things on my list, this is the one that I almost crossed off because I just knew that it would never ever really actually happen.  Well, I was wrong, it did happen.  And it didn’t even take any discipline on my part, it just coincided exactly with the first month of my new job!  I assume that parenthood has a similar effect.

The job is going well!  Keeping me busy.  I have some really good projects to work on.  I’m starting to do a couple days a week downtown, which makes work/life balance a lot easier.  The idea is that I will have a permanent office downtown by the first of the year, making the commute to the burbs the exception, not the daily routine.

In addition to the new job, October has been a great month for fun weekends.  I have lots of pictures to share of recent events, and have a whole free weekend to do whatever I want.  Updates to come.

#85 – Done

Posted by Katie on October 03, 2010
101 in 1001, Work / 3 Comments

#85 – Get a facial at a spa.

Before I started my new job last Monday, I used up some of my credit at the fitness studio (which also has a spa)  for a facial.  Well worth it, but I have to confess that I was so nervous about starting the new job that I never fully relaxed at all that previous week.  The facial did help though.

So, one week into the new job.  Things are good.  The job itself is great.  I’m learning the new systems and new processes.  I like the people, and they seem to tolerate me.  Most importantly, however, I seem to be properly navigating office politics and have already been assigned two big projects.  Turns out they want me to earn my paycheck.  Crazy!

One thing that we knew would be required when I took this job, however, is that I commute to the burbs for a while.  Dave and I carefully discussed this, and agreed that it was well worth the sacrifice.  Once I start to fully grasp the business and establish rapport with the partners, I can work remotely in the office downtown.  But until that time,  I now wake up at 5:30 AM every morning and sit in construction traffic for 2 – 3 hours every day.

I know, millions of Americans do this every single day.  I have a good job.  I have absolutely no room to complain.  So I won’t.  I will just lovingly reminisce about my old commute.   Oh, for the alarm to go off at the purely civilized hour of 7 AM.  Oh, to hit snooze a bunch.  Oh, to walk a mile and then ride the train for exactly 7 minutes.  Oh, for my coworkers to not notice, let alone care, when I finally walked through the door.  Those were the days!

Oh right, but the company didn’t have any business.  Now I remember!

With the new schedule comes new discipline in our daily lives.  This has actually been good for us this last week, and I hope it will continue to be.  I do, however, need to find new and creative ways of getting chores done.  I’ve noted especially this first week that I can’t afford a trip to the grocery store every night before dinner.  I need to start planning ahead a bit better.

And I have had absolutely no trouble falling asleep at our new target 10 PM bedtime.  I told you we’re getting old!

#44 through #48 – Done and/or Void

Posted by Katie on September 23, 2010
101 in 1001, Life / 4 Comments

#44 – Start dressing more professionally at work (i.e. all suits and no hair bands).

#45 – Organize all of my contacts at work.

#46 – Completely organize my files and desk at work.

#47 – Start bringing in clients at work.

#48 – Redecorate my office.

While I did on some level accomplish all of these things, I’ll blog about the thing that was easy to document in pictures.  Plus, you don’t really want to real about my files, do you?

When we moved office space this summer, I had a great opportunity to redecorate and shed some really crappy art.

Old office.

Old office art.  Note that the “art” is not hung evenly.  Staring at this for 4+ years could explain some of my mental health issues.

But then there was the old office view.

Not bad.

Business changed, however, and the company downsized.

When the move happened, my office changed as well.

I got a bigger office.

Better art, which I insisted on hanging myself.

More space.

But the view did suffer.  Seriously, I could not contort my head in any way to see blue sky through this window.  It was good fun to people watch though.

Where am I going with this post?  Well, all of this no longer matters.  I quit my job this week.

Don’t let my lighthearted tone lead you to think that this was an easy thing to do.  It was not.  But it was the right thing to do both personally and professionally.  My job had its quirks, no question, but it was at one time very good for me.  And I accomplished some great things there.

Times change, however, and I thank God that I have a new opportunity.

Next chapter.

#78 – Done

Posted by Katie on September 21, 2010
101 in 1001, Travel / 1 Comment

#78 – Travel to visit Brian and Katrina.

No, I haven’t disappeared from the blog world.  Things have just been happening outside of the blog world, that’s all.  I should probably blog about them.

We recently took a trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota for the long Labor Day weekend to visit my brother Brian and his lovely wife Katrina.

We got to see their new house.  Please note, and give Brian credit for, the meticulously cared for lawn.

Of course a trip to the Minnesota State Fair was in order.  A few other people showed up.

We got to see the famed butter sculptures…

Eat lots of things on sticks…

And enjoy a classic haunted house.  Good times.

We also spent some time hiking, and thoroughly enjoyed being out of the city.

Thanks for a great time!

#35 – Done

Posted by Katie on August 09, 2010
101 in 1001 / No Comments

#35 – Go on a day long bike ride with Dave.

Maybe I should have more clearly defined the metric of “day long”, but I’m going to go ahead and declare this one as “done”, mostly because my butt tells me that there is no way in which it would be pleasant to bike any further than we did on Saturday.  Dave, Michael and I took a tour of the Lake Shore Bike Trail, and clocked a full 24 miles for the day. 

Tour de France, no.  My definition of “day long”, yes.

#16 – Done

Posted by Katie on June 18, 2010
101 in 1001, Travel / No Comments

#16 – Leave the country.

Canada totally counts, eh.

Keeping with the tradition of getting the heck out of town to celebrate Dave’s birthday and our anniversary each year, we decided to go north…and east.  Neither of us had visited Niagara Falls before (Mom, when I was 4 months old does not count).   We discovered a little town north of the Falls in Ontario called Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It sits on Lake Ontario, right at the point which the Niagara River joins the lake.   It was an easy 25 minute drive to the Falls, and it provided the opportunity for us to discover the local area, including wineries, hiking, biking and lots of other fun things.  We stayed at a lovely bed-and-breakfast, and fully enjoyed a little time away to relax.

Rainy day at Niagara Falls.  

Vacation was good. 

More pictures to follow.

#15 – Done

Posted by Katie on June 08, 2010
101 in 1001, Travel / 4 Comments

#15 – Get a passport.

I almost wrote this blog post a month ago when Dave and I first applied for and paid lots of money for expedited passports.  You know, because the hard work was done and all we had to do was wait for the passports to come in the mail.  Although, in retrospect, declaring it “done” might have only further jinxed a process that is clearly already cursed.

I’m pretty sure that a portal to some sort of administrative netherworld is positioned exactly between the City Clerk’s Office and the Federal Passport Office in downtown Chicago.

Short story.  We applied for passports.  They put all of the expedited passports and original documents from the day in a box.  They lost the box.

I won’t go into all the gory details, but I will thank God that we were able to produce new originals of birth certificates (thank you parents!) and whatnot and get passports in time for a little vacation.  Others were not so lucky.  Just from chatting with folks in line, I know of two canceled trips (one being a honeymoon!!!) and of people who lost all of their original naturalization papers.   Those puppies aren’t so easy to reproduce.

And all of this nonsense is so that we can cross the border on our upcoming trip to Niagara Falls.

Here’s hoping the view from Canada is significantly more amazing than the view from the US!

#34 – Done

Posted by Katie on May 30, 2010
101 in 1001, Chicago / No Comments

#34 – Get my bike repaired.

The bike is repaired.  Only $160 corrected a bent wheel, replaced the brake lines and the chain, fixed the tires, and generally scrubbed the thing clean.  One tragic accident and one winter outside were not enough to put this bike down.

Probably more important than spending money for someone else to repair my bike, however, is the fact that I’m getting used to riding my bike on the city streets again.  Dave and I took an 18 mile trip yesterday, down to the lake shore bike trail.  It was a lovely day to get out for a ride.  We didn’t quite realize how far we had gone until we got home and mapped it out.

Oh, and we were stupid enough to ride 18 miles on the same day we had promised to help Michael move out of his apartment…his 3rd floor apartment.  Needless to say, we are both SO VERY VERY SORE today.  Perfect day for sitting quietly at home and watching the Indy 500.