Light Reading and Lenses

In which I talk about a few new things I bought over the course of the list (#58, #70).


It turns out that I had no problem buying a few new photography-related items over the course of my list. I’ve gotten and been given a small assortment of photography magazines. They seem to be a blend of too-easy tips, some details on ways I doubt I’ll ever shoot, and useful information. But no matter the content, I’ve had fun sitting down with them off and on and taking a minute to remember why I was drawn to my big camera in the first place.

Since I bought the camera as part of my second 101 list, I’ve been really pleased with my purchase. I’ve never really wished I’d gotten a different model, even as I’ve used other people’s cameras a bit more extensively. (I may slightly wish that I’d gotten a different year, since each version adds some improvements. The version after mine is wifi capable, for example. But I can always replace the body along down the line if I decide I need a few more bells and whistles. For now, my kit is working well for me.) It’s a pleasure to pull it out with no regrets each time.


So what did I add to my gear since this list started? Turns out, a fair bit! I added a cross-body, side-mount camera strap (which allows me to bend down and pick up a baby easily without conking him in the head with a massive camera). I bought two fixed lenses, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and Nikon 50mm f/1.8. I’ve added a bunch of lens filters, not all pictured. And I bought a nice, small bag that looks great sitting out on our counter so that I can keep the big camera handy during our regular old life. No point in saving good pictures for special occasions.




Reading Completed

In which I check off 15 non-fiction books, a goal (#53) I kind of forgot to pay attention to.

I can remember reading at least 15 non-fiction books over the course of this list. I counted only things that I read cover to cover and that had at least equal applicability to me as to my son. (Parenting philosophy counted, research on sensory processing disorder didn’t.) I can verify only one history book that I read. The rest fall into home, parenting, and style categories. My original goal was to try to keep my mind active with interesting books and give myself a little more to talk about than the daily report of bodily functions. While that didn’t feel possible, these categories do reflect more of my changed life and the things I’ve been struggling with.

I don’t think any of the books are worth mentioning. There very well may have been more that I’ve forgotten. The goal was never about the books so much as the reading.

Dress my Best

In which I get into a few of my wardrobe goals (#29), (#76), and why I don’t think they are as superficial as they may seem.

I have completed going through every item of clothing I own. I’ve purged a lot of things, stored everything so that all of my clothes for my current circumstances are out and accessible. No more seasonal switches to trip me up or hide things that never get used. I have stored minimal wardrobes for maternity and nursing clothes in case I need those again. I washed and refolded everything. I even set up changeable drawer dividers in my dresser. It feels pretty good right now.

With that done, I’m turning my attention now to updating and reducing my wardrobe so that I love every item. I think I’ll be game for more reduction as I get used to the amount of clothes that I have. It feels so much smaller than it used to, but I’m already seeing that I keep passing over a few items in my drawers. From now on, I’m working on a one-in-one(or more)-out rule. I recently spent out a hefty chunk of change to buy some new dresses that will work better than ones I have.

I’ve tried to identify needs for my clothes so that I am not swayed unnecessarily by sale prices.

  1. Squat test — I squat in public more than ever before, so I’m struggling to find tops that cover but don’t distort my proportions too much.
  2. Pockets! — I want to keep my phone close by me for its camera and connection to the outside (adult) world.
  3. Color pallet — I’ve really enjoyed keeping my clothes within my current color pallet. It has made shopping faster, changing clothes after some baby fluid incident faster, and I find the overall effect calming.

Right now, I have a few items that I really love. The dresses I recently bought fulfill that criteria, and I’m looking forward to slowly replacing and reducing what’s left until all of my pieces do. I will not complete this goal by the end of the 1001, but I’ve really laid a great foundation for the future with my steps so far.

I find that feeling comfortable with my clothing has helped my mood a lot. I really enjoy wearing something that flatters my body and fits my personality. It’s a big boost to put on one thing in the morning and not run through seven shirts that don’t work and just make me feel out of shape and wasteful. I feel like I’m still meeting my post-baby physical self, and it is very disconcerting to change my own mental image of my body. I can work on that by wearing things that flatter and make me feel good. Connected. In control and making progress.

Back to the beginning

In which I review my very first list to document it on this blog (#31).

I’ve spent the past week or so looking through the goals and posts of my first 101 list. I have them all linked up over on the archive page now, if you’re interested. It was pretty weird to go back and see all my old thoughts. (And photos.)

I found a lot of familiar-feeling goals that have made it on to every list I’ve made. Finish. Clean. Do things “right.” Funny to see that consistency from the beginning as this list was the most arbitrary of the three. I created it in the shortest amount of time, and I put a bunch of goals on there without a lot of thought. I later found more meaning in most of them and I completed 86/101, but wanted something more directed in the future.

I think maybe my next list will be a bit more like my first. The idea that I really need to challenge or improve myself doesn’t strike me any more in my current life. I think I need to learn to make myself a priority in this new kid-centric way of things. Maybe having a few more “just for fun” easy goals will help me. I still like the idea of grace and joy that I introduced in my first list, but I doubt my next will be split 50-50ish like the second and third. Now I think that if I have more joy, grace will follow.

Accidentally timing this how I did turned this goal into more than just housekeeping. It was good to remember all the changes in my life that these 101 lists have seen me through. I’ve been working on one list or another for eight years. Engaged, then married, then pregnant, then parent. Four moves. Three major job changes and three computers. Two blogs. Fewer haircuts than there should have been. More hesitancy. 404 ideas of how to change, improve, benefit.

I’m glad I looked back.

On to April

In which I create actions for the new month to maintain my life (#7).

I’m pleased with the results of my March actions towards maintaining three important aspects of my life.

To address being active and present in my life, I posted almost-weekly about items on my 101 that I’ve already accomplished. This got me looking hard at my list again, and at my past year. I’ll continue to post those old accomplishments as I get a chance. This month I’ll be working on seeing my life as it is now by identifying something noteworthy about each day. Just one small thing that will keep me connected to what’s going to and separate today from yesterday and tomorrow.

To tackle routines that support but not restrict me, I found two things to donate or get rid of each day in March (#2). I cleaned out a lot of recycling and trash that was lurking where it shouldn’t be, and found a lot of stuff that will be going to good homes. Over the next month I’ll be working to get all those items I identified out of our house, and I hope to post about the places I’ve decided to donate them. Having destinations in mind really helped me let go of some items.

In order to get back to feeling awesome, I went through all my clothes and purged or stored them (#29). I included maternity clothes in this, and I made it a point to get everything stored in my bedroom, rather than taking up space that we need for other purposes in the guest room. I have some items that need mending or alterations, but everything else has been taken care of. I’d like to continue to reduce and improve my wardrobe, so I’m thinking of this as my initial pass. This month, I’m going to take this a step further and attempt to find a few pieces that will fill some holes that I have. I’ve defined some specific goals for my wardrobe, but shopping has continued to be frustrating and largely fruitless. So this month I’m going to enlist some help and book a personal stylist appointment at Nordstrom. I hope I can pick up a few new things that will be exciting. I’d really like to feel better about what I’m tossing on in the morning, and I’d really like to be able to get dressed without a whole lot of fussing around.