The Awesome List, revisited again


I’ve been thinking lately about all of the things I want to do and places I want to see. I have made a few lists here in the past so I thought it would be fun to revisit them to see where I’m at and what I want to add. I have some specific things I’ve been thinking about lately that I will probably do sooner rather than later.

Let’s start with my original list. There aren’t very many things here! And I’ve done them all!:

√1. Develop my own film. Done! and there’s even a blog post to prove it. 

√2. Travel travel travel. Wow. This wish came true in the best way ever. When I wrote the original blog post I had no idea I would meet an amazing tribe of people with the same interest in pinhole photography and that I would travel around the world to meet up with them once a year. Hell, I had no idea I’d be doing pinhole photography for that matter.

√3. Publish my own, handmade book. Did this! I made a book to celebrate my blog’s 10th anniversary in 2013. I handmade 25 books (more like zines) and gave them away to my readers. It was such a fun project!

√4. Make Art. This is kinda vague. But I’ve been doing all sorts of art. My desire to sketch ebbs and flows. Currently not really interested in it. But pinhole photography has really filled a creative void in my life. 

5. Visit underground Portland. Still have yet to do this.

√6. Get a manicure. Finally did this! I feel indifferent about it now. I’m not really a manicure/pedicure kind of girl. I’ve got runner’s feet and my toenails are falling off and it just kind of seems like a waste to paint them. In general It just seems like money that I could spend elsewhere. If I had extra money to spend I wouldn’t mind getting weekly manicures but on the other hand I couldn’t really give a fuck. 

√3. Go on an epic hike. Honestly not sure why this is here. Epic hikes are a part of my lifestyle and have been for many, many years. I have some ideas for more of them, which I will talk about in another post. 

I have another, longer, list that I’ve revisited already. So in another post I think I will list some very specific things that I want to do. I think being specific is key to actually doing those things that are on the bucket list. I definitely have some specific things that I am excited to jump into soon.

Awesome list entry: this kayaking class.


Kayak (Photo credit: Iguanasan)


Adventures with henna


I have been wanting to dye my hair with henna for years. I was intrigued when Wendy of wendyknits started using henna to dye her own hair. I suppose this has been something on my unconscious “Awesome List” for several years! I am just realizing this. Something prompted me to take the plunge a couple of weeks ago (I don’t recall what that catalyst was) so I bought some from I remembered reading that for the best results you want to use “body art quality” henna, and this place has it. It’s kind of spendy, though. And shipping is outrageous (So I would love to find a local seller of it).

It came in the mail and, no time like the present, and, “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today” and all of that. I decided to just do it this weekend.

It is quite the process. You have to mix up the henna with something acidic. I chose straight lemon juice. Mix up and let it sit overnight.
Mixing up the henna with lemon juice.

Beer drinking optional.

Another quirky thing about this process is that it has to sit on your hair for-fricken-ever. So I got up at 5:00am and started the process. I washed my hair, dried it, had a cup of coffee, then I started smearing the goop in my hair. It took a long time to do this. And it was really disgusting. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever done in the name of beauty. I tried to coat sections of hair and when I was done I looked like Medusa. I couldn’t take a photo of myself looking like this because my gloves were filled with green goop. But here is a shot of my head right before I put the saran wrap on it.

This is, hands down, the most disgusting thing I have ever done in the name of beauty.

Yes, saran wrap. You wrap your head in saran wrap and then wait for hours and hours. I waited 3.

Wrapped in plastic

Then I rinsed it out. This was very difficult, as well. The mixture dried on my head and my hair was matted together. It didn’t come out easily. But, eventually, it did.

Here is what it looks like now:

red head!

It is supposed to deepen in the next few days. But I actually really like it a lot! My hair actually feels pretty fantastic, too. Also, it covered up the gray hair really well. Admittedly, I don’t have very many gray hairs but they are there and I know exactly where they are and I don’t like them. Here is another snapshot of it in the sunlight. Do I like it enough to do it once a month? No. Perhaps every other month, though.

The Awesome List, revisited


Oh Look! I found these  posts from a few years ago: 100 things to do before I go. Unfortunately I only made it to 40. I thought it might be fun to revisit these.


1. Visit Pompeii – yep. Still very fascinated. I will visit someday. 
2. Visit Florence and it’s museums – Yes, yes, and yes. 
3. Visit Rome – Why don’t I round all of these up into “Take a trip to Italy.”
4. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to just spend an extended amount of time in Italy. Like several months. Or maybe a year. – Now you’re thinking, 2008 Monica. 
5. Learn Italian – Yep. Need to take that Italy trip. 
6. Learn to paint in the sumi-e style –  I lost interest for awhile there but now that my interest in doing art is surfacing I’ve been thinking about this again. 
7. Learn more about Zen (and maybe practice it if it suits me) – Done! 
8. Learn to play guitar – Meh. I’m more into the ukulele at the moment. 
9. Learn to play the banjo – Still want to do this. I got as far as buying one but it is collecting dust. 
10. Read all of the Newbery Medal winners. – Slowly working my way through them. 
11. Learn the art of glass blowing. – Not interested at all anymore. 
12. Get paid to be a photographer (travel photography would be ideal) – My dream job would be travel photographer/writer. 
13. Write a damn good poem – I will forever be working on it. 
14. Hike the Appalachian Trail. – Yes, and the Pacific Crest, too. 
15. Live at the ocean (again) – This would be nice but I am really liking the mountains lately. I think I would rather have a cabin on Mt. Hood to get away to. 
16. Learn to crochet – Done!
17.Make a fancy quilt like “Dear Jane“ – I decided a couple of years ago that I hate sewing and quilting and I never, ever want to do it again. 
18. canoe down the Little Spokane River This would be fun. I would still like to do this. 
19 run a marathon – Starting this Monday I am going to start training for 10k, so I will be on my way. 
20. Serve on the Caldecott Medal committee. – this would be pretty darn awesome. 
21. Write a Newberry Award winning book. – I’m not sure I am a children’s author. I love the idea of it but I am not drawn to this kind of writing. When I write I write poetry or flash fiction. 
22. Learn to play piano. – Meh.
23. Witness the Aurora Borealis. – YES
24. Travel to Mt. Everest Base-camp. – YES. My weird obsession with Mt. Everest persists. 
25. Go on a Yoga or a Zen Meditation retreat in India. – Not sure I want to do yoga but a Zen retreat would be interesting. 
26. Go to Tokyo. – Why I wrote that I have no idea. I wouldn’t reject a free trip to Tokyo but it isn’t the first place I would choose to visit. What was I thinking?
27. Donate a large sum of money to a good cause (yet to be determined) – This would be nice if I had a large sum of money to donate. 
28. Visit the Egyptian Pyramids – YES.
29. Visit the Mayan Pyramids – YES. I think Raf and I might do this next year. 
30. knit the Fair Isle Short Row Pullover in the book Loop d’Loop by Teva Durham. – Meh. If I really wanted to do this I would have done it already. 
31. Visit Yellowstone National Park – This would be fun.
32. Become more generous – Hmmm. I suppose I could always work on this. 
33. Eat a Pastrami Sandwich in New York City. – YES.
34. Visit New Orleans. – Would love it. 
35. Meet all of my blogging friends in person – Oh, this would be so freaking awesome. I almost want to put this at the top of my list. I seriously should make a point to meet all of my online friends in person, face to face. 
36. Drink a Pint in an English pub. – Yes. Want to do. 
37. Tour the Louvre. – I AM GOING TO DO THIS IN A FEW MONTHS!!!
38. See Stonehenge – Should just plan a trip to the UK. 
39. Learn to surf. – Not really interested in doing this anymore. 
40. Read all of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels. – I am totally working on this and have gotten through quite a few in the past few years. 

I think I will work on a new list that incorporates and condenses some of these things.

I also thought of some new things that I will add! I will put all of that in a new post since this one is kind of  long.


Thoughts and Opinions

In my meditation group we are reading, “How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness” by Jan Chozen Bays. Each week we are reading a chapter and then during the week we do the mindfulness exercise. It has been really eye-opening and I’ve already learned lots about myself. I should be blogging this stuff. Ah well. Today I will.

This week’s exercise has is “Appreciate Your Hands:”

Several times a day, when your hands are busy, watch them as though they belonged to a stranger. Also, look at them when they are still

I have to admit that I have not been doing this everyday, let alone several times a day. However, today I got my first manicure and had a chance to really observe them and think about them.

It was really a wonderful experience. The (really nice) person tending to them kept telling me to relax them. They seemed to be afraid of someone else touching them. Once I relaxed them they enjoyed the experience immensely. I didn’t expect a hand massage. When my hands were being massaged I realized that I don’t take care of my hands like I should. Not at all. They do so much for me. They console me. They perform important tasks, like writing and using the computer. They are helping me type this blog post right now. They do these things seemingly on their own. They just know what to do, most of the time, without any prompting from me. They know how to 10-key type! I don’t even have to think about it. My fingertips know exactly where to go on the keyboard and my brain doesn’t even have to think about it. How amazing is that?

I pay them back by ripping apart my cuticles.

I decided, as my hands were getting massaged, that I am going to make sure I take care of them. At the very least, I will take the time to splurge on a manicure once a month. My hands deserve it.