…I don’t want to frighten you, but there are only twenty more jokes to be told before I reach my target of telling a joke a day for 1001 days.
I thought I’d better mention it.
…I don’t want to frighten you, but there are only twenty more jokes to be told before I reach my target of telling a joke a day for 1001 days.
I thought I’d better mention it.
Apologies for my absence during the past two weeks; I’ve been feeling under the weather.
First, an urgent announcement for Doctor Who fans: check out today’s Google Doodle. But don’t blame me if you lose three hours of your life.
Now for the update.
I have completed quite a few tasks:
Lose some weight. More than a little; less than a lot.
11kgs/24.2508lbs so far!
Get the first series of Glee on dvd
£1 for the set at my church summer fair! Such a bargain made me feel a little…gleeful
Write 1001 new poems (1089/1001)
88 over the odds and there are still 37 days to go! I’m thrilled to have reached this goal.
Go to the theatre
I’d have been happy with once; four times in five months was just wonderful, dahlings.
Learn the names of the New Testament books as they appear
Done. I could recite them for you but I don’t think you’ll hear me over there.
Learn the names of all the Kings & Queens of England in order
Done. From Egbert to QEII. This one was great fun.
I have added a new task:
Make a video of me reciting all the lists I’ve learned and post it on my blog
The question is, will anyone watch it?
I can tell you now that I’m not going to complete all of the tasks by the end of the challenge, but I’m pleased with what I HAVE done.
But what I’m really, really pleased about is that there are only 37 days left until the whole damn thing is over.
The last time I updated you about this challenge was in May. If I don’t want to write a post five pages long in 41 days’ time, I’d better update you on my progress now.*
*Short break while I update the 101/1001 Page*
*Long break while I updated the 101/1001 Page
There’s rather a lot to tell, so I won’t bother with it all today. I will just share some of Task 15:
Expose myself to twenty new experiences (14/20)
1. I tried a gin and tonic.
It was offered to me at, of all things, a church luncheon, by one of the wardens. We were in her home and she found it at the back of the fridge, I hasten to add – she doesn’t keep it stashed under the cassocks for emergencies.
I don’t think.
I had never drunk gin before. And I never will again. Foul stuff.
One thing in its favour, however, is that it gave me the courage for new experience number
2. Said, ‘I am a writer.’
The idea of the church monthly bring & share lunch is that people get to know each other. One way of getting to know each other is by asking questions about each other.*
*Based on this paragraph, I think saying, ‘I am a writer’ may be a disservice to writers everywhere, at the very least; and an outrageous lie at best.
I asked an other what she did; she told me. For the purpose of our story, I won’t bore you with the details; you will have to be content with the boredom emitting from this long-winded paragraph instead. The other then asked me what I did. I opened my mouth to say, as I have done for the past twenty-three years, ‘I am a housewife,’ but what came out was, ‘I am a writer.’
I’ve been published in many anthologies, hard copy and online; I’ve been placed in several writing competitions; I regularly critique others’ work, some of which has been published; I have been posting on this blog for three and a half years; I am a member of poetry group Write Out Loud; I give poetry readings; I run occasional writing workshops (even more occasionally, people turn up for them, but my writing flesh is at least willing even if their spirit is weak); I am a founder member and de facto manager of Stockport Writers.
I think it’s okay now to say, ‘I am a writer.’
Besides, I’ve never earned money from it: writing credentials don’t come any better than that.
Fresh (and flushed) from that triumph, I followed it up with
3. When asked my occupation on an official form, I wrote, ‘Writer’.
I still blush at my temerity. It’s one thing to say it with your mouth; something else altogether to say it with a pen.
At that same church lunch (who knew these events were so exciting?) I also
4. Drank ginger beer for the first time.
But not lashings of it, Famous Five fans!
It was…okay. I didn’t taste ginger and I didn’t taste beer, but it washed away the taste of gin and tonic, so that’s a big thumbs-up from me.
5. Travelled First Class
My London adventure refers.
It was on a train, not a plane, but I’ll take my free inedible sandwich where I can get it, thank you very much.
6. Went to a university Open Day
We never did it with Tory Boy because he spent a week or two at Lancaster the summer after his GCSEs and knew that Lancaster was where he wanted to go. I always felt a bit cheated, but the second son made up for his brother’s defect by dragging me to Sheffield a couple of weeks ago, as I told you.
There you have it! These six things I had never done before bring me up to 20/20 new experiences, but that’s not quite it.
However, this post is already too long for a Friday afternoon, so you’ll have to wait for the rest.
It has been almost four months since I last updated you on my 101 tasks in 1001 days challenge, mostly because it takes almost four months to write out the name of the challenge.
I did do NaNoWriMo, sort of i.e. I got bored and gave up half way through. I suspect than means I won’t complete the next challenge on the list:
Ride my bike twenty out of thirty days
We are at Day 708 of the 1001 days and I have ridden my bike a total of zero times.
On the plus side, I have told 708 jokes.
Expose myself to twenty new experiences (12/20)
Only had one new experience in sixteen weeks: wore a granny outfit and then shared the look with the world. My post on the velour track suit refers.
Hit 250,000 visitors on my blog (289,099/250,000)
I completed this challenge and posted a photograph to prove it. Things have slowed down since then: WordPress made it possible to comment on blogs via email, without having to visit.
Nice, WordPress – find a way to reduce everyone’s stats; I’m sure we all love you for it.
I need to set a new target; what do you think it should be? There are 43 weeks left so please make it realistic, given WordPress’s propensity for scaring away actual visitors.
Write 1001 new poems
I have written 688 so I am only 20 poems behind. I usually catch up in April, which is National Poetry Writing Month.
This is the one challenge above all others which I am determined to complete.
Make thirty submissions to competitions or publishers (29/30)
I have submitted five times in the last sixteen weeks, counting multiple poems to the same publisher/competition as one. If I have had success, you’ve heard about it. I’m not one to hide my light under a bushel; I’m more likely to set the bushel on fire in my enthusiasm to share.
Films & Books
I reached my target and then some to watch 101 new films (114/101), but I am only halfway to my target of reading new books (51/101). I have done lots of reading, but it tends to be of books that I love. If I want to reach my target, I have to read 1.15 books a week between now and the end of the challenge. It’s doable, but I’ll have to give up movies.
Time for a challenge update.
Find 26 unfamiliar words, one for each letter of the alphabet; then use them in a post a day for 26 days. (Words: 23/26)
I still need words for the letters J/U/Y. Any more ideas?
Make thirty submissions to competitions or publishers (21/30)
I’ve made three in the last seven weeks. One you know about – the Bolton Arts Trail; I’ve been shortlisted for another. I can’t remember what the third was but you know that if I get good news, I’ll share it.
Watch 101 new films (63/101)
I’ve seen five films new to me since my last 101 post. I can only remember two: Bridesmaids, which was amusing in parts but over-hyped; I don’t know what all the fuss was about. I did think the main character had an underlying sweetness to her, which redeemed the gross-out parts, but I doubt I’ll watch it again. It’s no You’ve Got Mail. Now there’s a romcom worthy of the name.
The other was Repeaters: it was Groundhog Day with drugs and guns. I thought it was an interesting study of living a life with no consequences. But I won’t watch it again.
Some of my failed/not yet tackled challenges:
My miserable lack of success in these areas can be blamed on the rain and/or the recession. You try walking two reluctant Yorkies in a downpour and see how long you spend in the dog box.
I still need 32 challenges for the next eighteen months. If you have one that is cheap, free or fun and cheap/free, let me know.
I have completed three challenges:
Blog 1111 times (1115/1111)
I claimed to have done this in my last 101 post, but my maths was faulty: 1017 is less than 1111, not greater than. I have posted 98 times in the last seven weeks, however, so I really have met the target this time.
What should my new target be, do you think? Before you start toying with me, bear in mind that you have to read any posts I write…
Learn how to scan photos for my blog.
I can’t believe I did this, but I did. Here’s proof:
Not play on King.com for a total of 101 days (101/101)
Day 101 was yesterday. It was not the triumph I had envisaged: when I set this task for myself, I was addicted to King.com. Now I am addicted to blogging and don’t play many games. Maybe I should set a task of not blogging for a total of 101 days…
I started my spring clean yesterday. I decided I wanted before and after pictures for my blog, so I went downstairs for my camera. Ten minutes later, having checked for comments and stats, chatted to the Hub and taken a bottle of water from the fridge, I had to come downstairs again for the camera I’d forgotten to collect.
My instinct is always to gravitate to my blog. If I pass the computer (in the lounge) on the way to start dinner or walk the dogs or do some ironing, I first have to check in with my blog.
The Hub says that if I am ever lost, all he has to do is turn on the computer. Like ET, pigeons and lemmings, I always find my way. I am a homing blogger.
I’m a pretty stupid blogger at times. This is from last Friday’s 101 post:
Blog 1111 times (1017/1111)
No surprise to learn that I over-achieved on that one.
Can you see what is wrong with my thinking?
To put it in context, this was a task that I had ‘completed’. I aimed to blog 1,111 times and I overshot by, let me see, take away 1,017 from 1,111 and that means…I’m 94 posts short of my target.
And none of you noticed!
Or – horrific thought! – you didn’t actually read the post.
Now I know why lemmings head for cliff tops: they are all ignored bloggers.
In all the excitement of Sunday’s anniversary and my first – and last – You Tube appearance, I forgot to update you on what I’ve been doing with the 101/1001 challenge. Not much, as it happens, so this will be a short post.
Read 101 new books (26/101)
In spite of my new Kindle, which has become my symbiont à la Trill tradition (non-Trekkies should look away now) – or maybe it’s the other way around, because I can’t live without it, but it can survive without me, though not electricity – this is becoming a triangle in which it appears I am a necessary evil in order for the Kindle to exist – in spite of all that, I have read just three new books in three months. I have read a ton of old favourites, of course, and some rather bad Agatha Christies, but I need to open myself up to the possibility of enjoying new books by people I’ve never heard of.
Any suggestions? Preference will be given to books that are free to download.
Tell a joke every day for the next 1001 days (371/1001)
I’m bang on target with that one.
I’m still looking for the perfect joke for Day 1001, however. Any suggestions? Preference will be given to those that make me laugh.
Write 1001 new poems (325/1001)
I’m way behind on this one. Blame Twilight.
Save £1 for each completed task.
I’m way behind on this one. Blame the recession.
Walk the dogs for 1001 hours (269.55/1001)
Way behind on this one, too. Blame the weather.
I do walk them every day, but only until the frostbite starts.
Get the first series of Glee on dvd.
Behind on this. Blame my anti-Glee family.
Of the 68 tasks I have set myself so far, I have completed seventeen.
The challenge may be fun but it appears I’m not rising to it. Sarsm‘s snail is starting to look like an insult, not a celebration:
So an almost total stranger emails me in early March last year and says, Want to do 101 things you’ve never done before in a 1001 days, and do them with me?
Yes, I said. Why not? It’s not like my time is taken up with housework, caring for my family, job hunting, dog walking and backside expanding. I’m in!
Of course, I didn’t have a Kindle then, so I was optimistic about the time I could give to the challenge.
Sarsm – for it was she of the evil disease name who roped me in – got her hubby to provide us with an excellent logo:
and all I had to do then was come up with 101 challenges. One year later, I’m still thirty-three challenges down. I need thirty-three suggestions from you, dear readers (non-rude, please) in the next…hang on…let me do the maths…143 weeks take away 52 weeks equals 91 months times seven days then take away the number you first thought of add a large glass of wine maybe one of my challenges should be maths lessons?
By the way, I hope you’re impressed with the celebrating snail: drawing by Sarah’s clever daughter; animation by Sarah’s clever husband.
So Sarah – she of the disease – and I started our challenge one year ago today. I have to admit, it’s been fun, even though I had reservations at the start:
Task 1. Accept a challenge I don’t really want to do.
I did; I’m glad; it’s fun.
Sarah – she of the good idea – and I asked ourselves some questions last week (her replies are here):
What did you expect of the challenge at the start?
Not much at all, if I’m honest. I thought I’d fizzle out after a couple of months. This time last year I had not learned to say ‘no’, so I was in it out of politeness. (Sorry about that, Sarah. On the plus side, I may be weak but I have excellent manners.)
How do you think you’ve done?
Much better than I expected!
Anything you would change?
No. Because the beauty of the challenge is that it’s all on my own terms.
Has anything unexpected come out of the challenge?
A wonderful friendship and many phone chats with one of the funniest people I know (that’s Sarah – she of the exquisite funny bone – if you were wondering).
What has been your favourite task so far?
Hmm. Tough one. I have two:
Task 4. Type up and print out for folder and notebook over 150 poems I’ve written.
I was never going to get around to doing this before I started 101/1001; but I’m pleased to announce I’m halfway through.
Task 62. Learn all the words to the South African National Anthem.
I had great fun with this one, sitting at my computer every morning, singing along to You Tube. I promised you I would post a video of me singing it with my eyes closed, to prove I know it, when I had learned it; but I never got around to it…until now.
This was a challenge in itself: first, I had to find an aligned moment when I was clean and dressed and the Hub felt well enough to locate the camera. Then he had to find an SD card for the camera. Then he had to find an SD card that worked. Then he had to give up on that and record it to hard drive. Then we had several false starts, including his instruction to me to ‘Open your eyes! You look stupid!’ Then we had a brief hiatus for a furious discussion on the merits of wearing cameras where the sun don’t shine. Then we recorded it and found we couldn’t upload it to my blog, even though he’d downloaded various free software. Then he said, ‘Let’s put it on Facebook.’ Then we argued because I said my family, who I don’t particularly want to be able to see it (they already have enough reasons to laugh at me), would be able to see it but my readers, who I particularly want to be able to see it (I can never give them enough reasons to laugh at me), wouldn’t be able to see it. Then I suggested we put it on You Tube and I would include a link right here.
I have to include a link because I can’t upload You Tube videos for any reason that the WordPress techies can find.
As embarrassed as I am by my reedy singing and pitch issues, I am also rather pleased with the whole debacle because it allowed me to add another tick to one of my challenges:
Task 11. Expose myself to twenty new experiences (5/20)
Appeared on You Tube (6/20)
So, one year on, what have we achieved? I can’t answer for Sarah – she of the excellent blog, Sarsm’s Blog (she’s great with ideas but maybe not so hot on names) – but for myself, I’ve achieved the satisfaction of committing to something and sticking with it, despite my misgivings.
And I had an excuse to re-read all the Harry Potter books. Again. And again. I accidentally did that one twice. Well, not so much ‘accidentally’ as, ‘on purpose’.
So, what’s next? I have quite a few tasks that I haven’t started – Leave my poems in 101 locations; Ride my bike twenty out of thirty days; Dance in the rain; amongst others – so I have to get cracking on those.
Now I think about it, I could combine those three tasks: I will ride my bike in the rain, delivering poems to unsuspecting Stockport locations. When I fall off my bike (did you not hear me say it was raining?), instead of crying, I will dance; and ask the Hub to collect me from the funny farm to which I will no doubt have been sent when people see me dancing around my bike in the rain, showering poems on the witnesses.
You can see how I’ve progressed with my tasks on my 101/1001 page.
If you have enjoyed this post, please head on over to Sarsm’s blog – she of the genius idea – and check out her take on our first year. And go even if you haven’t – it’s only polite, and we’re big on politeness here. You will enjoy it, I’m sure.
Sarah – my new BFF – has put up an FAQ page, if you’re interested in joining us.
I wish you would: it’s been a blast!
It has been eight weeks since my last update. If you are a new subscriber, I’m talking about the 101 things to do in 1001 days challenge. If you are interested, my list of challenges (incomplete) is on a separate page. If you are really interested, you should think about joining us. It’s free, and as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.
Christmas, New Year and bad cold are over, and Tilly Bud has to stop pretending she’s not well enough or too busy to do any of the tasks. She also has to stop talking about herself in the third person; she’s not in a novel.
Here’s the cartoon from Savage Chickens that reminded me to get back to the challenges:
Hit 100,000 visitors on my blog (121,863/100,000)
This took me by surprise, sort of. When I started the challenge, I didn’t have many readers; now I have quite a few (thank you). I have decided to change the total to 250,000, rather than count it as a completed task. It’s good to have a goal, even when I keep moving the goal posts. I never did understand the offside rule.
Read 101 new books (23/101)
This was going slowly until Christmas, when the Hub bought me a Kindle. I love the Hub. I love reading. I love the Hub; he facilitates my reading. I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with him wanting to watch 24-hour, guilt-free sport.
I have read five new books since Christmas (four, of course, are the Twilight novels. I’d blush, but I don’t care that you think I’ve reverted to teendom); I have also been re-reading old favourites, especially Dick Francis, my hard copies of which are going mouldy in the loft. I love the Hub. I love my Kindle. I love Dick Francis. This is me, happy.
Watch 101 new films (47/101)
I have watched 13 new films in the last eight weeks, as well as many old favourites. I’m not going to review them. Watch them yourself, lazy.
Write 1001 new poems (283/1001)
The downside to all this book reading and film watching is that I am now behind on my poem a day task. I should have written 301. Did I mention I was ill and it was Christmas? Nobody writes poems when they’re ill and it’s Christmas. I’ll catch up, as soon as I’ve read my current book. And the one after that.
Learn my baptism verses.
I finally did this. I knew them in the Revised Standard Version but now I have a New International Version and I get the two versions mixed up. Call it old age; or reading and watching films too much.
Buy a guitar.
The Hub again. I love him. He bought me a guitar for Christmas. I know the task required me to buy the guitar, but I take my marriage mores from my Mother-in-law: What’s his is mine; and what’s mine’s me own. Therefore, technically, I paid for it. But I love him anyway.
And there you have it. I haven’t done so bad, considering it was Christmas, I was ill, and I spent all my time reading and watching movies. You should think about joining me; especially if you have a helpful spouse.
Forgive me, dear readers; it has been five weeks since my last 101 session. I ask your forgiveness because it is entirely possible, nay, dead certain, that this post will be a long one, covering as it will five whole weeks of tasking.
The challenge to type up and print out for folder and notebook over 100 poems I’ve written has gone up to over 150. I have not left one poem in one location, never mind 101.
I read one new book (don’t judge me: I spend all my time talking to you lot; when do I get the time to read?), sent to me by the lovely Earlybird: True Grit. Truly unputdownable. I loved it. I even got a rhyme out of it, which I can’t share because it has a spoiler in it and I want you to read it. Read it. But come back to me.
Expose myself to twenty new experiences (5/20)
I managed two of these on my recent trip to France (three, if you count my recent trip to France as a new experience, which it was, but I won’t): I met a blogging friend, my dearest Viv. Have I told you about my recent trip to France? I can bore for Africa on it.
The other new experience was to ask for a dessert in a foreign language. I told you about it, the ice cream. It is possible I have done this once before, in Afrikaans, but I don’t think so: South Africa had two official languages at that point, one of which was English, so there would have been no need. South Africa now has eleven official languages; imagine the size of the menus.
Another new experience which I’m not including as a new experience because, although it was a new experience, I don’t think it counts as a new experience, was to say ‘yes’ to all the new foods that were offered to me instead of toddlerising myself by saying ‘no’ while thinking, I don’t fancy that. I made up my mind to try everything that was offered to me while I was away, and a lot was, and I did.
I must just stress that it was easy to do because all of Viv’s food looks wonderful, and if I ignored dislike-trigger words such as ‘coffee’ and ‘walnuts’ and focused on like-trigger words such as ‘cake’, I didn’t even have to close my eyes to try anything new.
I managed to complete a task while I was away:
Try three new foods (7/3)
Foods I tried which I had never previously eaten (and before you throw up your hands in horror, remember I’m a plain northern girl brought up on plain northern food who had never even seen a watermelon until the age of fifteen):
Five weeks – seven foods – one happy housewife.
And (28), (27) & (26).
I have neglected my challenge duties for a month. My excuse is procrastination: we now have 25 101/1001ers and I had to add their links to my blogroll: admin time always comes second to writing time. Today, however, I got on my behind and caught up where I was behind.
If you are interested in taking part or simply prefer to read about people with more get up and go than you (the list below refers), check out the list on the right.
What have I been doing these past four weeks? Not much, as it happens. Instead, I will tell you how my ongoing challenges are going on:
I added one challenge:
Leave my poems in 101 locations. (0/101).
This was inspired by a post of Viv’s, who told us to stick our poems on bumpers/under windscreen wipers/on supermarket shelves/blue-tacked to park benches/slipped between novels in the library.
I’m going to do it. Watch this space.
It got so late I didn’t bother you with an update last week (stop clapping at the back), so here’s two in one.
I have a new task: I have over one hundred poems that need writing up, printing out, copies for my notebook and copies for my files. I have made it a task because I keep putting off doing it as I spend so much time blogging, so that makes it your fault.
I completed a task: Read all the Harry Potters for the sixth time. (7/7). Not so much a task as my raison d’être. I completed it in about a month. That’s slow for me, but I wanted to savour them on this, my eighth reading.
Don’t be surprised if you find this task re-instated before the end of the year.
And that’s it. Guess you didn’t miss much last week.
We have more people joining us for the 101/1001 challenge. So many, I’ve lost track of who I have welcomed and who not. Welcome, everyone! I will post this then add their links to the 101 blog roll on the right. Eventually, I will need a separate page for them.
I think I have my next task.
Another quite week for challenges. Quiet, even. Quite.
Blame the summer holidays; I do. It’s difficult to be self-obsessed when the house is full of children demanding food and making me proud.
Which reminds me: apologies for overloading you with posts yesterday…ah, who am I kidding? I’ll be doing the same thing next year when he takes the bulk of his GCSEs. You might as well get used to it.
Here’s where I’m at:
Find another 64 challenges for the list. (27/64)
This number hasn’t moved for months. As I have a raft of new readers, I’ll throw the floor open to suggestions again. One caveat: they must be cheap or free.
Reach 30,000 comments on my blog (13,020/30,000)
I reached my original target of 13,000 yesterday. The exciting bit was actually seeing ’13,000 Comments’ on my Home Page. What can I say? I live a dull life.
Less than a third of the way in, I feel it was right to up the target to 30,000. However, if I do some rapid maths which make my head hurt because maths really isn’t my thing, I suspect the new number is still too low.
Any suggestions for a realistic target?
I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not keeping to my self-imposed updating timetable when I remind you that I have young visitors; and that there’s really nothing to report. It’s difficult to work on challenges when I have a full house. I suppose that’s part of the challenge.
We do have two welcome new members of our beginning not to be so exclusive club:
You can check out the other members on the right; and while you’re doing that, think about joining us.
As I have nothing to report, I’ll flesh this post out with a general catch-up.
Of some worry to the management was the number of people (28.57%) who willingly admitted to being freaks in the recent Friends poll. At least you’re honest.
More concern was felt at the number of huge fibbers who claimed to have a life (35.71%). If that were the case, you wouldn’t be filling in fatuous polls now, would you?
The number of compliments paid has fallen sharply after my begging letter. Thank you. Especially to those who took it to the other extreme and offered gratuitous insults. It’s nice to know you care.
Finally, something I read this week amused me:
Space is important; vital, really, if you’re a newspaper: this week on the Stockport Express website, there was a headline that ran
Man who looted charity box in Manchester riots in the dock.
But they ran the story in a narrow left-hand column and it read
Man who looted charity box in Manchester
riots in the dock
Don’t you just love it?
You should have had this update on Friday but I was busy in the jungle and when I got home I was busy preparing for Saturday’s arrival of my niece and nephew, here for a fortnight. So busy, in fact, that I had no time for tasks, except for seeing the fabulous Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part two); but I told you that.
What I can tell you is that we have quite a few new challengers joining us. Like with the looters, mob mentality works. Check them out: they have some great tasks on their list. And don’t forget, you can join us, too.
Learning the way of Christ
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
By Tom Merriman
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Life is a story