Friday, December 28, 2007

Life List Day 283 - Virtual Shop

I got a new cellphone for Christmas and - wanting to step out of the era of the dinosaurs in which I typically reside - it actually has a camera in it.

Today, I was at the mall with my mom and thought I'd pick up a belt for my son, who has been looking like a hip-hopper with his sagging jeans since he lost the only belt he had.

I couldn't choose between a couple belts, so - even though usually it takes me confront new technology - I whipped out my phone, played around with it a bit and managed to take a photo of the belts, which I sent to my son so he could choose the one he wanted.

Brilliant, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life List Day 282 - See the Lights in Rochester, MI

Today, my mom and I braved the icy Michigan temperatures (OK, high 30s, but that's bitter cold to a California girl like me) to check out the lights in downtown Rochester, MI, about a 20 minute drive.

It's really cool looking - all the stores are covered solidly in lights (LCD lights - I'm told that it only costs $400 in electricity to light the entire downtown for the month the lights are up).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Life List Day 274 - Try a New Restaurant and Sanddabs

There's a restaurant on the Redondo Pier called Kincaid's Bayhouse that I've been meaning to try for years. Today, I was meeting my book editor, Sally Kim, for dinner (she lives in New York but I get to see her when she visits her family on vacation...she grew up right in my neighborhood!). Anyway, she said for me to pick the place, so that's what I picked.

The menu was fantastic - with things like Lobster Mac & Cheese and Asiago-Almond Encrusted Sea Scallops - but I went for the sanddabs because you rarely see them on a menu and I've never had them before. They're not a very popular fish, and I don't know why ... mild, nice texture, good flavor. I'd order them again.

(And thanks, Sally, it's always great seeing you!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life List Day 272 - Throw Out My Back

This isn't anything I did for my life list!...just something I did. Sigh. So today I spent the day hopped up on the junk (ibuprofin) and laying around watching Christmas specials on Lifetime. I'm embarrassed to say just how much I enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Life List Day 271 - Make a New Recipe for Company

I never try a new recipe when I have guests over for dinner because, frankly, I'm a crappy cook, so I like to stick to the tried and true.

Today, I had friends over for dinner and I decided to try a new a recipe I got from my mom for Halibut Cozamel, which is basically a baked halibut burrito with cherry salsa.

It was a hit!

(And of course now that I know it's good, I'll make it a million more times....but at least I tried something new THIS time!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Life List Day 270 - Host Christmas for the Chicks

"Chicks Christmas," in which I get together with my book club gals for eating, drinking, present exchange and overall merriment, is an annual tradition. This year's twist on it for my life list is that for the first time ever, I volunteered to have it at my house.

I'm no Martha Stewart, but I find that setting lots of things on fire - fireplace logs, candles, flambes - automatically makes things a bit more festive.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Life List Day 269 - Make Roll-Out Cookies

I used to make Christmas cut-out cookies with my son, but since he's outgrown it, I gave it up. I tried to talk him into it this year but - although he was quick to volunteer to EAT them - he wasn't interested in the creation process.

Then it occurred to me there was no reason I couldn't just make them myself, so today, I did.

Just for fun, I bought a bunch of non-Christmas cookie cutters - like a palm tree, a margarita glass, an octopus - and then baked and decorated the cookies to look Christmassy, even though they weren't traditional shapes. (I'd show photos but my camera broke...grrrrr....) Anyway, the nice thing about doing the cookies myself is that it went a lot faster and, when I got bored, I didn't make myself continue...just froze the leftover dough for another time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Life List Day 268 - Try Sprinkles Cupcakes

There's a chichi cupcake store in Beverly Hills called Sprinkles that I've been wanting to try. There's apparently always a line to buy these cupcakes, which run $3.50 each and are supposedly divine.

Today while I was in Beverly Hills getting my hair cut, I walked the half-mile or so to Sprinkles to try them for myself.

There was a line of about 10 people ahead of me - when I got into the tiny bakery, it smelled outrageously good - not sugary good, but something buttery/fatty/cakey good. Each day, they offer a dozen or so varieties, rotating the selection. I bought a red velvet with white icing, a white cupcake with coconut, and a chocolate with peppermint.

So far I've split the red velvet with my son. The icing was really delicious (and in fact, you can buy a "shot" of icing only for 75 cents) but, to be honest, the cakey part was just okay. Then again, I've never had a red velvet cake, so maybe this is all there is to it.

To give the other flavors a fair shake, I may have to take bites out of them before they get stale.

The sacrifices I make for this life list...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Life List Day 267 - Learn to Use My Remote

I bought a new stereo receiver, which was then hooked up to my TV, dvd, ipod, etc. - bottom line: I have four remotes and didn't know how on earth to use them. Being the technophobe that I am, I was getting up to change everything by hand, figuring that's what I'd do from now on (hey, it's exercise).

But today, I decided I needed to face my remote demons. I don't have any of the manuals, so I called Best Buy and had a Geek Squad guy come out and give me a tutorial.

He spent a half hour teaching me the ways of the remote - even going so far as to write notes and draw little pictures for me.

You gotta love those geeks.

I may never have to get up from the couch again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Life List Day 266 - Try Out a New Mall

Since I only spent $12 on Black Friday, it stands to reason I have a bit more Christmas shopping to do.

Today, I started to do what I always do: go to the same old mall, and complain they have the same old stores that carry the same old crap.

Then I remembered there's a new outdoor shopping plaza near the airport - no farther than my usual mall. So - even though the only stores I knew for sure it had were Best Buy and Whole Foods - I decided to do my shopping there.

It was so nice! Nearly empty! Better stores! New! Clean! Did I mention nearly empty!!?

I didn't get all of my shopping done, but I sure did make a sizeable dent. And instead of it being the nightmare I was predicting, the experience was downright pleasant (made even more so by the fact that my son was hanging out in the car, CHEERILY DOING HIS HOMEWORK while I shopped).

And BTW, thanks everyone for your posts and emails about my quandry as to whether or not to continue this life list - I got a lot of great suggestions and inspiration that is at least keeping me going at least for now!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Life List Day 265 - Get My Ears Pierced

I first got my ears pierced back when I was 13 - this was before the piercing gun, when they just jabbed a pointed earring through your lobe into a cork at the back (which I suppose was better than my aunt who said her ear piercing was with "a needle, a potato and a bottle of bourbon"). About 15 years ago, after dealing with a spate of infections, I let them close up.

Today, I got them pierced again.

I'm not entirely sure what prompted it - maybe those big dangly earrings that are in style right now tempted me (although I'm not allowed to wear anything but posts for 6 months).

Anyway, I went to Claire's, a cheapo jewelry store in the mall where they do it for free when you buy their earring kit for $40. To get through it, I did that thing I do when I'm nervous something will hurt: get it over with fast before fear has a chance to catch up with me.

Unfortunately, they had one girl working the entire store so there were lots of interruptions dragging out the process. Plus, as I arrived a teenaged girl was leaving with her ears freshly pierced...and tears in her eyes.

My son was with me (not willingly...he wanted to go to Fry's Electronics afterwards) so he was good moral support. As it turned out, it was no big deal at all - the dental cleaning I got last week was a whole lot worse. And now I have spiffy holes in my ears.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Life List Day 264 - Some Soul Searching

264 days ago I committed to trying one new or special thing every day. I didn't have a plan for how long I'd do it - I just decided I'd keep at it as long as it felt interesting and rewarding.

I'm on the fence as to whether to continue.

I'd like to make it to a year, but that's 100 days...100 more things...100 more times when maybe I'm feeling like a total lazyass and instead I make myself do SOMETHING.

I guess I'm officially confessing - doing something every day has been AMAZING, but it ain't been easy.

So my list list is on double-secret probation, just like the guys in Animal House.

I have something for tomorrow....something that I've been putting off a LONG time that I'm doing because of this life list (a good reason to keep going).

After that...well, I guess we'll see.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Life List Day 258 - Hold Out for the Right Lights

Since I've mostly lived in apartments, I haven't needed outdoor Christmas lights because I haven't had an outdoors. Now that I'm in a house, I realized I can string lights. I bought those white icicle lights because I noticed that's what everybody else's a lot of twinkling for the buck.

Before I hung them, though, I realize that I don't like icicle lights. I mean, they're OK, but they're sort of souless.

THESE kind are the ones I love.

So today, I made a special trip to Target to return the icicle lights to buy and then hang the RIGHT kind of lights: Big, clunky, colorful ones that I hung without any regard to whether they were straight...and in fact I sort of like the jaunty angle I achieved.

I stood looking at my house and smiled...definitely worth the effort. It's very Charlie Brownish in its sincerity.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Life List Day 256 - Donate Toys

Every Christmas I like to donate a few toys to a charity for kids. Today, I went shopping to buy a couple of Christmas gifts for an 11-year old girl in foster care, whose name I got through a local charity group.

Most of the kids on my personal Christmas list - family, friends' kids, etc. - pretty much have everything, so it's always fun to buy something for a kid who doesn't have a whole lot.