Sunday, January 31, 2010

79. Learn How to Juggle

I have always had a desire to learn how to juggle. I always thought it looked cool when someone else would do it. It seemed that when I tried I never looked coordinated (still don't) and always ended up with all three balls on the floor in a matter of seconds (still happens, just now it's only one ball and it takes a little longer). I never seemed to have the timing down. I asked our PE teacher if he had any techniques and his suggestion was to try to juggle scarves. I borrowed a couple from him but really that didn't help. They float for so long it really wasn't too much of a challenge. If anything though, it helped with timing. I have spent the past week practicing juggling and think that I have it down. Here's a short video as visual proof (I made it short to limit boredom):

I'm happy with where I am at as far as juggling. I just like that I have the technique down. I have no plans on juggling knives or chain saws in the future.

11 of 11 for January done! I barely made it, but I did it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

35. Instep Icebreaker Indoor Marathon

I did it again. I'm not going to say it was pretty, but I finished another marathon. Our family made it up to Milwaukee to see Matt's family for the weekend and we capped it off with a marathon. What better way can there be to finish off a weekend visit?
We started off the weekend at Monkey Joe's. The kids all enjoyed their stay until...Monkey Joe appeared. All of the kids except Hannah seemed to ignore him. Hannah freaked out for the rest of the day. Here's the face she kept for quite awhile.

Now all we have to say is, "Do you want us to go get the monkey?" and it works better than any other punishment we tried to use before. Just kidding!

After Monkey Joe's, we headed back to Matt's and I really wasn't feeling too good. I spent the rest of the day with Kleenex in hand and trying out other medications to get myself better for the race the following day. I went to bed feeling terrible and slept horrible. I got up at 2 a.m. to throw-up and finally decided at 6 a.m. that I was up for the day. Matt and I made it over to the Pettit Center and got everything in place for the race. After the race got started, I felt better, but not great. Matt got a good laugh out of me after I pointed out that my shoe had come untied in the first lap. Talk about lack of preparation! I did feel pretty good after the race started and actually had a decent time in the first half. It all went downhill after that. The second half was really rough. I stopped to try to throw up a few times but nothing happened. It got better when Melissa showed up with the girls. They were the motivation that I needed. I am not saying I ran faster, I just was motivated to run more than I was walking. My legs were dead and my body was incredibly sore. I just kept plugging away.

With about 12 laps left, I started running with the guy behind me. His name was Matt and he is a chiropractor from Columbus. We definitely pushed each other to get to the finish line. I was happy that we came across each other to push to get the run over with.

As I got down to the final 4 laps, they went really "fast". It was so exciting each time I ran around to have the numbers get so low. When I got to the final stretch, I sprinted to the finish line. It felt great. I walked over to get my medal and then found the girls and gave them a big hug.

Melissa and Gretchen made signs with the kids before they made it over to cheer Matt and me on.

We all got up on the podium for a picture afterward.

Looking back two days later, it was a good experience. At the moment it was rough, but it is another accomplishment that no one can ever take away from me!

36. Learn how to tie 5 different types of knots and their uses

This was another one of those goals that I just threw on the list because I was so desparate to find goals to get up to 101 that I just thought it sounded good enough so I added it in. I can say that I am glad that I put it onto the list. I'm not much of a rope expert, nor do I find myself using them too often. The problem is when I do need to tie a knot, I usually just end up making a bow knot (How you tie your shoes) or I end up making a knot that slips and doesn't hold how I want it to. Due to these shortfalls, I am happy to announce that I have found a couple of knots that should meet my needs for attaching rope for different situations.

Through the last couple of weeks I have had one of my students tutoring me with a few knots. He is the ring leader of the class who is always asking how my goals are doing and wants to start his own blog to keep up with his list. He's a great kid and wants to help. He's also a Boy Scout! When I was looking over my goals one day, I asked him if he could teach me some knots. He was VERY eager to show me some and to help me attain this goal. I asked for knots that would serve different purposes and would help to give me a broad area of uses when the time comes.

Here are the knots that I have learned over the past few weeks:

Square knot or Reef knot

This is a common knot, but if done incorrectly, it will slip on you and not be very effective.

Alpine Butterfly

This is a fun knot to tie. It doesn't slip and it can be done at any part of the rope, you don't need to find the end of the rope to make it.

Sheet Bend

This can be used to tie two different types or sizes of ropes together.

Constrictor knot

This knot is useful when you want to attach a piece of rope to another one in the middle of the rope. It doesn't move. I don't know how it doesn't slide, but it is solid!

Hangman's knot or Noose

This knot was a group effort from Matt and me to learn. They definitely don't teach it to fourth grade Boy Scouts. It is a useful knot for holding suspended items secure, but it's dark past makes it one that I might not be using it but for special occasions.The more loops you make around the rope, the more secure the rope will be.

Pictures don't really do too much justice for the knots. They all look the same when you look at them in the pictures.

Overall, I'm happy with the small collection of knots that I have learned and now know that when I need to tie a rope, I should have a way to secure it!

Another goal down! 10 of 11 for the month! One more to go. Not so sure if I will get it in time or not.

15. Free Throw Improvement

Today I decided to use half of my lunch time to shoot some free throws in the gym. I have been trying to get myself into a routine the last three times I have gone in there and I have seen quite a few positives from it. Before I used to just go to the line and throw up a shot. I was more focused on getting as many shots up as possible and not really looking at the quality. Last week I made a conscious effort to slow myself down and to take a slower approach. My percentages have gone up a ton since then. Last week I had 9 in a row, almost beating 10 as my previous max. Today I was able to make 11 in a row. I was so mad at myself with I missed the 12th shot. A teacher came into the gym and I quickly pointed out to her that I had made 11 in a row. Next shot...You guessed it. Brick! I've learned that I need to keep focused and just shoot the way that I am used to. No one knows that I have a goal that I am trying to get to. I just need to focus on what I am doing. I am going to keep the habit of doing this a couple times a week during my lunch break to try to get this one done.
I know 20 is a long way off, but I am still feeling good about this one. This is one of those goals like the Time magazine goal where you just have to keep trying and eventually I might get surprised and get on a roll.

Friday, January 22, 2010

1. Done with the Pentateuch - Bible Reading

I have to say I am really enjoyng reading through the Old Testament. There were definitely a few rough chapters in Leviticus and Numbers, but it has been really nice to see how all of the stories that are very commonly told blend together. I can honestly say I have never read through the Old Testament. I have read and heard many parts of it, but never have I read it chapter by chapter in order.
I started Joshua last night and read through the first five chapters. I almost feel like it is a movie coming to the climax. Since Exodus they have been talking about making it to the Promised Land. At the beginning of Joshua they are just across the Jordan River from their quest to overtake the land that was promised to them. While I already know the story and the ending, I am excited to continue on in my reading to see what will happen.
I never thought I would make it through the Bible at the pace that I have been going, but I have really been interested and have found it quite easy to get into reading on a very regular basis. I haven't had that in a very long time!
I already told Matt that I am going to add this to my next list of goals.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

30. Learn how to count to ten in five languages

This one is done. I made an attempt to do it about a year ago, but never got to a point where I could keep all of them apart. Matt and I had worked on them during one of our road trips down to run a marathon. I just kept getting them all mixed up and never really had all of them down. This time I decided to take the approach of learning one set of numbers each week. I took this from Matt's efforts with push ups. If you do a little at a time, you can get it all done. It is slower, but it is done. Hopefully for me I will have these numbers down for awhile.
The languages I picked were Spanish, American Sign Language, French, Japanese, and Sinhalese. Spanish was easy, as was ASL. I already knew them pretty well. French and Japanese were two of the languages that I tried a year ago so it was just some refreshing to get them again. Sinhalese was the tough one.
As I have shared before, I talk with my students about my goals. One of my students told me that I should learn to count to ten in his home language. His family is from Sri Lanka. The language he uses is Sinhalese and he was excited to share with me the numbers. I worked on them for a week and a half until I finally had them all down. There isn't much of a pattern to them, but I got them. I tried yesterday but got a few mixed up. Today I recited them to him and he said I did them perfect. This is another of those goals that was easy to do as long as I put the time in.
Another goal down! 8 of 11 for the month!

Monday, January 18, 2010

14. Do 50 Push Ups Without Stopping

Check out that hair!

I did it... With Melissa as my witness, I did 50 push ups without stopping. I haven't really had a push up plan up to this plan so I have adopted the plan that Matt has put into place. It is a lot easier than the others that you can find out on the internet. I started with 25 push ups every morning the first week, then I increased by 5 push ups a week for the next 4 weeks. Today was my third day of doing 50 this week. I'm going to keep this same schedule and see if I can take it to 100. I haven't quite gotten into the same routine with sit ups, but I plan to keep the same schedule as it gets started.
Nothing gets the heart going in the morning like 50 push ups - The best part is that it only takes 50 seconds!

Here's a video of Maddie giving a push up a try. She couldn't quite get to one. She'll keep trying!

Another goal done! 7 of 11 done for the month. Hopefully I will get the other 4 done in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

32. Memorize a Poem

I don't know why I put this goal on my list. I think it was one of those moments when I was looking at other people's lists trying to get the last few goals down that I thought it was a good idea. I'm not one for poetry. I understand the use of teaching it to students to help promote creativity and to help them with their writing as a whole, but I'm not much of a fan of it in a leisurely sense. Reading a book of poetry seems pointless. But that's just me.

From this conclusion, I decided to expand my definition of a poem. I figured memorizing a poem would give me little satisfaction and thus would be pointless. So, I thought memorizing the Gettysburg Address would be a little more interesting to me. It isn't a long speech, but as far as speeches go, it is probably the most famous one given in America.

I began trying to memorize this speech a little more than a month ago. I printed out the speech and began trying to learn it line by line. I didn't begin learning big chunks of it until Melissa began quizzing me on it as we were driving down to Ohio for Christmas (talk about taking one for the team! Thanks again Melissa.). After that time I had about 75% of it done and over the past month, I have been wittling away at the last few lines.

I need to again acknowledge my students in my class for their encouragement and interest in my goals. They have been asking me how I have been doing on my goals and have asked me how far along I was with the Gettysburg address. This morning, I projected the speech up on the wall and told them the history about the Gettysburg address. I taught about the Civil War and it's importance on American History. After our discussion I began reciting the address to the class as they all looked intently to see if I had misspoken any of the words. When I finished they all had huge grins. I felt good. They confirmed that I had done it perfectly and could consider the goal done. It's a good sense of accomplishment.

Another goal down!

Monday, January 11, 2010

100. Watch No Television For Two Weeks

I finally made it. How did I celebrate? By watching no tv yesterday and by missing the best football game of the year. I was too engrossed in cooking the turkey yesterday that I spent no time just sitting and relaxing to watch football. Oh well. I learned something new during that time so I can consider it a positive experience.
It was difficult at times not watching TV. I'm not saying I was never in the room when the TV was on, but Imagination Movers and Sesame Street don't count in my book. I think not watching TV was what motivated me to get moving on so many other goals. I know I wouldn't have finished the reading goals that I had. I also know that during that time I made a conscious effort to spend more time playing with the kids. That is motivation enough to stop watching!
This was my second attempt at this goal. The first one was back in June. All of the spring shows had wrapped up and I was off on a canoe trip for a few days to keep me busy. It all came to a fail when we were at Judson and took some relaxation time to watch an NBA playoff game (was it the finals?). It was worth it at the time to just sit and relax in front of the TV after the days and hours of paddling that we had gone through.
Overall, this goal was a nice one to have taken part in. I'm pretty sure in the coming months I will have similar experiences with a lack of television while studying for my classes. It was nice to do it with a conscious effort to go without, but I am definitely glad it's over. With a few new shows starting up again I know I will be back on the couch watching.
On a side note, ironically enough, I almost got up to $50 on during this time. While I couldn't watch the games, I could still put money on them. I am currently back in the $20s and trying to figure a way out to be able to truly get my cash. I'm thinking it will never happen, but we'll see!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

25. I Cooked a Turkey Dinner!

This goal is one that is an easy one in that it has been accessible to do for quite awhile. When I asked for suggestions awhile ago Gretchen suggested a turkey dinner and I thought it sounded like a neat idea. The intent of my list of goals is to motivate me to do things that should be done as well as to try new things that I haven't yet done. This fits into the latter section. It is nice to be able to say that I have done this. Now I have the confidence that if ever I needed to cook dinner for Thanksgiving I could do it with a little bit of confidence. Here are a few pictures of the day's events:

Here's the start. Yep, it is an 18+ lb. turkey for a family of 4. This also didn't cost us $18.27, I had a $10 off coupon for a turkey which made it be $8.27. Not too bad. This dinner is going to keep giving back for quite awhile with all that was remaining when we were finished.

I separated the skin from the meat in order to season the meat. It was pretty gross at first, but it turned out to be fun.
Who knew that the elasticity of the skin would be so high?
Getting ready to be put into the oven.
The finished product. I was glad that we only had four of us eating. It was so hot! I took out the electric knife and got a good slice of the breast off and was able to get some pretty good pieces out of it. I'm definitely no expert in cutting!
Here are the girls excited to begin dinner. I made some mashed potatoes to go along with it and Melissa cooked up some Broccoli. Good dinner all around!
Here's what we had left over when we were all done. I shredded it and Melissa put it into 2 cup bags for future use. Melissa already has two meals planned for this week to put this to use. It's always nice to have prepared meat on hand when preparing dinners for the week.This goal is done! I can now confidently say that I can and have cooked a turkey dinner. It's a nice thing to have done. Thanks Gretchen for the suggestion.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

39. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I finished my last of 5 books to read for fun. I have never read more than a few pages of any of the Harry Potter books. I have taught for 6 years and watched my students proudly keep these books on their desktops in an effort to show that they were indeed reading a Harry Potter book. All of these books are huge. The shortest book is about 300 pages with the longest probably being 500+. I had thoughts of wanting to read the first book to see what it was like and this was the perfect opportunity.
I began reading this book before winter break but foolishly left the book at school so I couldn't read any of during my time off. When I got back to school I quickly began picking it up at down times at school when I didn't have students in the room. When the kids knew I was reading it they were excited and many of them kept asking what part I stopped at last. It was fun to see them reliving the book as I would tell what I had just read and me telling them what I had thought was going to happen next in the book. It really was a great teaching opportunity to show them how to retell a story.
I am excited to tell them on Monday morning that I finished the book and to have a discussion about it with them. They truly are a great class and have taken quite the interest in my goals. They are excited every time I tell them that I have accomplished another goal or gotten any closer to finishing any part.

Friday, January 8, 2010

38. Robinson Crusoe

I finally finished Robinson Crusoe! While it took me slightly longer than a week to finish, it seemed like much longer. The book was very interesting to me, but with reading each night after the girls went to bed until I fell asleep I had thought I would have gotten a lot more reading done. I didn't read Robinson Crusoe exclusively, but it took up the bulk of the time. I also was able to finish the book of Leviticus during that time. That helped me get to sleep much earlier each night. Not exactly fun reading.

**Spoiler Alert**This was my kind of book! Robinson Crusoe is shipwrecked and has to find a way to survive on an uninhabited island. He gets some provisions from the ship that he sees out in the ocean wrecked but not sunk and uses them to survive for 28 years on the island. The bulk of the book talks about things he does to survive and his attempts to stay away from the "savages" that visit the island once every year or two. He finally he gains companionship with one of the men that the savages brought to the island to sacrifice. He named him Friday as that was the day of the week that he saved him. Their friendship leads them to get more things accomplished on the island and ultimately finds them a way to get himself home.

This was the fifth of my classic novels which means that this goal is done. It is sad to me because I have compiled a list of books that I would like to read but now feel like I want to focus my energy to other things to get this done. I know on my next list I will include this goal again. Another goal down!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

93. Go to bed right after the girls to read, each night for a week

Last night was my final night of reading. I initially began on December 28th, but went to the Bulls game on the 29th, so I had to start over. This was an interesting goal. I was not for lack of material to read. I went between three different books.

The first was the Bible. I finished Exodus and am on to Leviticus. I have continued to read a lot out of I've liked reading it online as it gives me chances to read during free moments I get at school as well as when I am in the living room at home. Exodus was pretty interesting at the beginning when God was unleashing chaos on the Egyptians through the plagues, but it got pretty interesting in the later part when God was telling Moses what specifications the temple should have when it was built and later God telling Moses how to properly offer sacrifices/offerings to him. Not only is it tough to read, but it is very repetitive. Now I know why not too many people are quoted out of Leviticus.

The second was Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. I'm not going to get into too much detail as I will write about this one hopefully later this week when it is finished.

The last was a book titled A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. This book is for a class that I will be starting in a couple of weeks. We were told to have it read by the first class session. It is a pretty interesting book. It will be a good book to discuss. I've enjoyed it a bit, plus, it has been a book that has read pretty fast. Which is always nice for required reading.

Now that this goal is done I am going to keep reading at night, just not at the same pace (until classes start again). I enjoyed this goal. It was nice to have some required reading time to just read for fun.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

501 Days Down!

I went to site yesterday that tells how many days there are until an upcoming event (May 19, 2011), and found that I have 500 days left. It's been quite some time since I came up with the idea (I didn't even know how to hyperlink back then) and began talking about goals with Matt. It seems like I have been going at this for awhile (which I have) but to think that it is half way done makes me much more anxious to keep crossing off goals. Hopefully I will be able to keep to my 11 goals for this month. Stay posted!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

11 goals this month

While this may be ambitious, I think I will be able to finish 11 goals this month. I'm thinking that both setting this mini goal and sharing it with everyone else will be the motivation to get all of these done. I'm not going to tell you which ones I am planning to do, but I have written down 11 of them that I do see as highly attainable this month. It will take some extra work, but I don't think it will be too much of a stretch to get them accomplished. When that happens, I will be over half-way done!