September 30, 2009

Week 5 of 143 plans

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:21 am by Heather

Here’s the to-do list for this week:

  • spend 15 minutes a day decluttering the house, currently working on the bedroom and then moving on to the hallway and bathroom
  • call casino host about penn & teller show in vegas
  • complete lesson 2.2 in rosetta stone
  • Finish first course for CCNA
  • call mom
  • call claire
  • post 5k race day photos / blog entry
  • take own zone test
  • weigh in
  • meditate for 12 min / day

What I managed to accomplish last week:

  • Drop crap off at $Donation_Center
  • walk 5k
  • complete lesson 2.1 in rosetta stone
  • call mom
  • call claire

September 24, 2009

[30 day Challenge] Decluttering update – Bedroom

Posted in 30 Day Habits at 7:55 am by Heather

I’m still working on the decluttering, and you can see the progress above in this time lapse photography of my dresser.  The drawers were broken – the bottoms were falling out – and I was unable to open and close most of the drawers.  The top of the dresser had become a repository for all sorts of random stuff, including laundry that needed to be put away.

The second photo shows 4 of the drawers fixed and put away, then we move onto the whole drawers in and fixed and opening.  And finally, the finished product – all pretty!  As usual, click on the picture to embiggen.

Some more before and after photos of the bedroom:

Before After

And then some photos which I didn’t have before pictures on, but since it all looks so nice…
 

September 23, 2009

[Travel / Adventures] Art Institute – Modern Art Wing

Posted in Travel & Adventures at 7:35 am by Heather

On Sept 5th, I went with the Highlife Adventures group to get a guided tour of the Art Institute’s new Modern wing.  I didn’t know that Modern really meant “anytime after 1900”, but I do now.  We mostly toured the paintings before 1950; I ended up walking through the photography and post 1950 exhibits by myself in the last hour the museum was open after the tour.

The tour guide was a curator, and he definitely knew his stuff, but he had a … curator’s way of talking, so sometimes it was hard to even hear him.  But I know a lot more about Matisse and Kandinsky than I knew before.

After the tour, I took the visitor’s guide “so you only have an hour” brief and saw the Monet room and the famous Seurat.  I could really just sit in the Monet room for HOURS, it is so peaceful and beautiful, and explains why he’s one of my favorite artists, ever, trite and cliche though that may seem.

This renoir photo to the left reminds me of a portrait my dad had made of my sister in an eerie kind of way, as well.

More photos available on flickr.

September 22, 2009

Week 4 of 143 plans

Posted in weekly to-do at 7:41 am by Heather

Here’s the to-do list for this week:

  • spend 15 minutes a day decluttering the house, currently working on the bedroom and then moving on to the hallway and bathroom
  • Drop crap off at $Donation_Center
  • call casino host about penn & teller show in vegas
  • walk 5k
  • complete lesson 2.1 in rosetta stone
  • Finish first course for CCNA
  • call mom
  • call claire

What I managed to accomplish last week:

  • call mom
  • call claire
  • complete first core lesson in rosetta stone
  • map out steps to get CCNA
  • write up the weekly / monthly / every other month checklist
  • send two postcards (perhaps from cedar point!)
  • write a letter to myself to be opened on the last day of the challenge (at futureme.org)
  • call comcast about autopay

September 16, 2009

Save the Boobies! [Race for the Cure]

Posted in healthy lifestyle at 3:05 pm by Heather

So, I have decided to participate in the Susan G. Komen race for the cure on Sept 26th a week from tomorrow, by request of my friend Liz in honor of her mom, who is a breast cancer survivor.

I think we ALL know someone who has been affected by breast cancer, or someone who knows someone affected by breast cancer – that’s only 2 degrees of separation, way less than the Kevin Bacon game!

Liz’s story is below, but I would like to try and raise $500 for my walk – I know that’s a LOT to ask for in these economic times, but every dollar would be appreciated, even $5 or $10 would make a difference.  Plus, it’s all tax deductible as well!

You can donate at my page here: http://komenchicagoraceforthecure.kintera.org/heathernorton

Liz’s story:

As many of you may, or may not, know; my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 16.  I came home from my first real date to find my mother crying.  She tried to pretend nothing was wrong because she didn’t want to ruin my evening.  She had just learned that she had a malignant lump.  It was all very sudden, and what seemed a few days later she was in the hospital to have a mastectomy.   The next year was filled with chemotherapy and radiation appointments, and all the after effects of said treatments.  Throughout it all my mother was still…well…my mother; she still was there when I needed her, and she still got mad when I got in trouble.  She let me shave her head when her hair started falling out, and when I had a party at our house for a friend’s birthday she surprised us all by putting temporary tattoos on her head.  She sweltered through the long, hot Texas summer in a wig, and wore only high collared shirts to hide the bruises the treatments left behind.  I realized how serious the disease could be, but my mother never let it show that she knew.  Five years after the treatments ended, she was declared a survivor, and now, more than ten years from when the treatments ended, she no longer has to have the regular cancer appointments.  My mother is a survivor, as is anyone who has had to fight the battle with cancer.  So, it is in celebration of my mother, Sarah Tomes Smith that I have not only agreed to participate in the Race for the Cure, but to personally do more to help find a cure.

I have formed a team for the Race and named it “Clique for the Cure”, so called because my small “clique” of friends have helped me form the foundation of the team.  To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Thank you in advance for anything you can donate!

[30 day Challenge] Decluttering update

Posted in 30 Day Habits at 1:04 pm by Heather

I’m now halfway through my decluttering challenge, and I forgot to take pictures of everything for a “before” picture, but I did remember to do some for the living room.

So far, I’ve hit the Office, Dining Room, and am now working on the bedroom.

Oddly, while I am seeing a LOT of progress, it is a total bear to actually do the 15 minutes of decluttering per day – I have a lot of resistance to doing this, even though I know I a) need to do this, b) I’m making huge progress and c) it’s ONLY 15 minutes!!   I’m sure the psychiatrists can explain why I am internally rebelling and the only thing keeping me going at this point is the fact that I’ve got 15 days under my belt and only have 15 more to go, and if I miss a day, I have to start all over!

But here’s the state of my dining room:

BEFORE AFTER

September 15, 2009

Week 3 of 143 plans

Posted in weekly to-do at 8:00 am by Heather

Here’s the to-do list for this week:

  • spend 15 minutes a day decluttering the house, currently working on the bedroom and then moving on to the hallway and bathroom
  • Drop crap off at $Donation_Center
  • call mom
  • call claire
  • complete first core lesson in rosetta stone
  • map out steps to get CCNA
  • call casino host about penn & teller show in vegas
  • write up the weekly / monthly / every other month checklist
  • send two postcards (perhaps from cedar point!)
  • write a letter to myself to be opened on the last day of the challenge (at futureme.org)
  • call comcast about autopay

What I managed to accomplish last week:

  • spend 15 minutes a day decluttering the house, currently working on the bedroom and then moving on to the hallway and bathroom
  • Figure out a way to put the 101 goals somewhere to see them regularly
  • call mom
  • call claire
  • install vnc on tower
  • figure out display situation for tower [stepmania]
  • upload skydiving video
  • pick up books from library
  • take wrigley to dog park
  • ask people for post card addresses

September 14, 2009

[A-Z Movies] Sunshine Cleaning [Sept 4, 2009]

Posted in A - Z Movies at 5:24 pm by Heather

Sunshine Cleaning
Starring:
Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn
Rotten Tomatometer: 72%
NY Times: ***
Heather’s Rating[1]: $$$

Plot summary (from wikipedia): Former high school cheerleading captain Rose Lorkowski (Adams) is a thirty-something single mother who cleans houses for a living. Wanting to send her trouble-making eight-year-old son Oscar (Jason Spevack) to a private school, Rose decides to take her married lover’s advice and get into the “lucrative” business of crime scene cleanup. Rose convinces her disillusioned, underachieving sister Norah (Blunt) to join her in the enterprise, which she calls “Sunshine Cleaning.” The sisters begin to find meaning in their function to “help” in some way in the aftermath of a loss, just as the job stirs up memories of their own mother’s death. Their priorities and goals tested, Rose and Norah face hard challenges as they strive to improve their lives.

Heather’s Review:  I am a huge fan of Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Steve Zahn, and they definitely showed me why they are some of my favorite actors today.  The story was touching and funny, and showed the complexities of every dysfunctional family today.  I’ll admit though, I didn’t like Norah, although I believe that’s what the director intended, and Jason Spevack was wonderful as precocious Oscar.   I’m still not sure of the ending – I liked it, but not Norah’s bit – although, if it ended any other way, I’m not sure I’d be happy with it either.  But, over all, the movie was quite good, and I enjoyed it.

Heather’s Ratings:
$$$$ = Worth paying the Friday evening price
$$$= Worth paying the Matinee price
$$= Worth a rental
$ = Wait for cable
# = Skip it


1. TOTALLY stolen from Donna who has awesome movie reviews and you should add her blog to your feed (back to review)

September 9, 2009

Week 2 of 143 plans

Posted in weekly to-do at 7:21 pm by Heather

Here’s the to-do list for this week:

  • spend 15 minutes a day decluttering the house, currently working on the bedroom and then moving on to the hallway and bathroom
  • Drop crap off at $Donation_Center
  • Figure out a way to put the 101 goals somewhere to see them regularly
  • call mom
  • call claire
  • install vnc on tower
  • figure out display situation for tower [stepmania]
  • complete first core lesson in rosetta stone
  • upload skydiving video
  • pick up books from library
  • pick on bigger task on the list and map out its steps
  • call casino host about penn & teller show in vegas
  • write up the weekly / monthly / every other month checklist
  • take wrigley to dog park
  • ask people for post card addresses

September 7, 2009

Spring Restaurant [September 1, 2009]

Posted in 101 in 1001, Restaurants at 9:30 am by Heather


On Tuesday night, my friends generally go out for Beer Tuesday, and I occasionally join them.  However, since Julie wanted to join us to drop off some tickets that I was the middle man for, and Beth isn’t drinking these days so we decided to start off my 101 in 1001 with a bang and head for a new restaurant.

Beth has her own list of “Restaurants to try”, and  Spring was one of them.  It’s located 3 blocks from the Damen blue line stop in Bucktown/Wicker park, and has gotten rave reviews for its seafood.

I wish I’d gotten a shot of the outside, but it’s in this rather industrial-ish section of the neighborhood, slightly away from the “regular” Wicker Park area.

I got there earlier than everyone else, and sat at the bar and had a very nice Pinot Noir while waiting for Julie and Beth to show up.  The ambiance is short on lighting – everything is very dim, which is why I had to take the menu home to actually get a decent picture of it. 

I had thought to get the sweet corn soup, but after Beth and I interrogated the waiter, I had decided on the lemongrass soup, which the waiter said was “so good you’ll be updating your facebook status about it”, and the Barramundi.  The restaurant was also having a tasting menu, which had the soup and a different preparation of Barramundi, and based on the waiter’s recommendation, I went with the one on the menu instead of the tasting.

I didn’t go wrong; the soup was divine, and the fish was delectable, although the dumplings weren’t quite what I expected, it was tasty.

The chef also sent out a wee soup tasting which was a shot of coconut curry potato type soup, and whilst we passed on dessert, we also got a lagniappe of a basil mint hot chocolate (shot sized) which was very delightful as well.

More pictures from Spring [Click on any picture to see more detail]:

coconut curry soup lemongrass soup
Julie’s sugar snap pea salad Australian Barramundi

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