Monday, August 27, 2012

389 - 400 Fun Things to Do!

389 - Go to an exciting, challenging, fun, and awesome workshop.  When I saw that Mike Dooley from would be making a stop in Cleveland on his World Tour III, "Playing the Matrix".  I pulled every string I could think of to get there. Luckily, my friend Jean was just as enthusiastic as I was about the potential of this experience.  It turned out to be an amazing day I will never forget, with the most dynamic presentation I have ever witnessed.  When it was over, I felt full of yes!  In the photo with me -- Mike and Jean.

I get daily emails from the Universe sent out by  They are short, fun, and quirky bits of wisdom that help me start off my day in just the right frame of mind.  One time I was getting some presentations ready for a conference, and I was so busy I thought my head would spin off my shoulders and go into outer space.  Then I read an email from the Universe that said, "It's not that you worry Carol, it's that you care so much!"  Worry implies that maybe things haven't gone well in the past, that you might fail, and you might let people down.  Caring means that you are doing the best you can, you believe that things will go well, and that you are capable of doing a good job that people will most likely appreciate.  That one sentence from the Universe (written by Mike Dooley) set me free from the times of worry that have plagued me since I was a child.  I still worry now and then, but when I remember that message from the Universe, and I calm right down and keep moving forward.  You can see why I made a big effort to attend this workshop!

390 - Take an outdoor fairy garden class.  I recently took a wonderful fairy gardening class at Graf Growers in Akron, Ohio.   It's my favorite garden store, and being a fairy gardener, I was excited to participate in this fun class.  It was extra happy to be with children, parents, grandparents, and other participants and to watch as everyone created their own amazing fairy gardens.  I put a little rose bush, ferns, thyme, hens and chicks,  a bench, fairy gazing ball, a clay piece with "love", a tiny lantern, a polka dot pinwheel,  and pebbles in a cobalt blue bowl.  It is the most delightful fairy garden I have ever made, and I have made a lot for myself and other people!  I put it where I can see it as I'm coming in the side door.  Now I have three fairy gardens in my yard.  Hooray!

 391 - Go to see three movies in one weekend!

I went to see "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" one Friday night with my daughter Maribeth.  It was a very different movie, and I liked it a lot.  Jennifer Garner did an excellent job acting, and so did the little boy who played her son.

Then Saturday night, I went to see "Hope Springs", with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.   The acting was incredible -- not just the delivery of the words, but the facial expressions, and body language. A five star rating for sure!  I went with my husband of almost 42 years, Tom who really appreciated it, too.  "Hope Springs" is for people who have been married for a long time, for those who are new to the marriage game, and for anyone in a romantic relationship, or wanting to be in one.  I guess that covers a lot of people!

Even though I love to go to the movies, and it is one of my very best stress relievers, sometimes I don't get there as often as I would like.  So when I noticed that I seemed to be involved in a very exciting movie weekend, I couldn't help but go to the movies by myself on Sunday afternoon!

 I went to see "Step Up Revolution", which is a movie about
street dancing and flash mobs.  Since I love dancing, music, and flash mobs, this was a terrific movie for me.  I want to see it again.  The energy was amazing, the love story a little predictable, and the entertainment value very high!

392 - Go to the movies by yourself!  Many years ago, I decided that I needed to learn to go to the movies by myself.  I picked "On Golden Pond" with Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda because I knew it would be so wonderful that I wouldn't mind being alone so much.  It was a spectacular movie and kept me totally engaged.  When I left that movie I had changed from a person who was shy about going to the movies by herself to a liberated movie-goer who can go to any movie on the spur of the moment without having to find a friend or family member to agree to go.  When you go by yourself, you don't have to worry about anyone else's movie experience, you get to choose the movie, and you get to lose yourself in the movie theater experience!

393 - Order a wild pizza for yourself.  These days most pizza parlors have an exciting array of toppings so you can order a nontraditional pizza very easily.  I love a white pizza, which can be made with an "alfredo" style of sauce with artichokes, onions, and mushrooms.  I was stuck in the traditional pizza world for years, now it is fun to experiment and surprise myself with unusual combinations.

394.  Rent a convertible.  This would be fun to do for a weekend of local adventure, or when  you're on a trip and you want to add a little pizzazz to your activities.  If I rented one, I would want a red one, but wouldn't turn down any other color.  My sister, Barb, had a convertible for most of her life, and we had many happy times together in it.

395 - Dip your strawberries in chocolate.  Recently, my friend Jean and I
were in Cleveland at a restaurant called "The Chocolate Bar".  If you can believe this, there were half price appetizers, one of which happened to be berries in chocolate!  When our friendly waiter brought this amazing plate of ten gorgeous strawberries and a martini glass full of chocolate, I felt like doing a happy dance.  I stayed seated, but I was doing a bit of a happy dance in my chair!

Every Valentine's Day, it is a big deal tradition for my daughter, Maribeth, and me to go to the local candy store and get boxes of chocolate dipped strawberries for ourselves and my daughter-in-law, Dyan.  We all believe that we are experiencing chocolate heaven.  Now I know that heaven can be even a little bit more exciting and delicious by having a chance to personally dip my own strawberries!  Yippee yo yo YO! 

396 - Go to a farmer's market.  There's a wonderful flea market and farmer's market in Hartville, Ohio.  I could easily spend a day in the Hartville area.  Produce there is quite extraordinary -- I even found out that purple string beans taste much like green ones, except sweeter.

397 - Light a candle to create a special atmosphere, on a dinner table, or for any occasion.

398 - Write thank you notes every day for 30 days!  Once you start thinking about it, you will be amazed at how many people make your life easier, but often go unnoticed.  You can let your mail carrier know how much you appreciate such faithful service, a manager know how helpful a salesperson was, a friend for their love and care, a former teacher for mentoring you . . .  finding 30 people to thank could be an amazing adventure!  Expressing gratitude on a regular basis can be very fulfilling and even life changing.  I read that you can't ever be grateful and upset at the same time.

399 - Send a greeting card once a week to someone with a brain tumor -- sign up at   I have been sending a card every week for two months and it has been a very rewarding process.  I make just one card a week to send along, but my friend Ann creates and sends over 80 each week!

400 -  Make a tradition of taking a photograph of your child (or grandchild) just before they start their first day of school every year.  Here are Nate and Andrew, my beloved grandchildren, just before they started fifth and second grade at their new school.  My son, Kevin, has taken a photograph of the first day every year since Nate began kindergarten.  These photographs are special treasures for sure!

Today is a celebration in reaching 400 fun things to do out of the goal of 1,000!  We are almost halfway there.  Please join me by adding your ideas in the comment section.  Together we can make it happen!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

365 - 388 Fun Things to Do!

365 - Take photographs of some of your favorite flowers in your garden.  I don't know the name of these purple flowers, but as far as I am concerned, they are my miracle flowers!  At the end of the Summer few years ago, I put this pot in the garage.  I was so surprised in the Spring to see that new growth had started even in the darkness, so I put them out and they did a beautiful job blooming again.  I don't even know if they are perennials or not.  This year I forgot and left them out in the corner of the patio during the Winter, and they started growing again in the Spring.  Early in the season, deer came and ate every single bud, but I left them out anyway, and new flowers burst forth again and again!  Usually they only bloom once and they are done, so I guess the deer did me an unexpected favor  this year!

One of my favorite exotic plants is the Mandevilla.  I am sure they come in many colors, but I always choose hot pink.  The look like they shouldn't be able to bloom in N.E. Ohio, but I always have a profusion of blossoms all Sumer long.  Their buds just twirl out like performance art, and the blossoms are the kind you can just peer into for some great flower fun!

366 - Enjoy watering your garden.  During this Summer of drought conditions, we have needed to water our flowers quite often.  I appreciate checking in with them to see how they're doing and if they need anything other than water.

367 - Create your own hot fudge sundae!  The other day my husband, Tom, brought home the fixings for hot fudge sundaes.  I was surprised to realize that I had never before ever made my own hot fudge sundae.  When you get a hot fudge sundae at an ice cream parlor, there is always the risk of running out of hot fudge before you get to the end of the ice cream.  Oh no!  But at home, you are in charge of the amount of hot fudge that is distributed.  In these days of 90+ degree weather, a generous hot fudge sundae is a happy thing!

368 - Get out some chalk and create a game of Hopscotch.  This fun game has been passed on from generation to generation.  You might even be able to teach someone how to do it!

369 - Collect flyers and brochures of fun and creative things to do.  This Summer may be the most fun ever because I have really paid attention to free and/or inexpensive concerts, art exhibits, and fun events all around our area.  Last Sunday, my friend Jean, my Dad, and I attended a free Akron Symphony Orchestra concert at Hardesty Park.  It was a delightful evening with a quirky selection of beautiful music.  There was even a place where people could learn the basics of conducting an orchestra with their own baton action.  Many people brought picnics and all ages were in attendance.  I wonder if my Dad, who is 95, was the oldest person there?

370 - Declare a day of peace, calm, and quiet.  Every once in a while, it is refreshing to not watch TV, listen to the radio, or get on your computer.  You can catch up on some reading, take a walk, visit with someone, or whatever you like.  It is amazing to find some extra time to spend however you wish.

371 - Try a recipe that scares you!  One time I asked a friend what his favorite meal is, and he told me Beef Wellington.  I wanted to make a special birthday dinner for him, but the recipe was at least two pages long in The Joy of Cooking, which was a little too intimidating for me!  So I asked him for his second favorite meal, which was barbecued ribs -- a little more doable!  Now I am on the alert for a recipe to challenge me that is a little tricky, but not too too frightening.

378 - Recreate one of your restaurant favorites.  I have recently gone on a streak of eating spinach salad with chicken, pickle slices, shredded cheese and vinaigrette dressing.  One day it occurred to me that I could put that together at home for a lot less money, and with more control over the ingredients.

379 - Take a photograph of a street sign that corresponds with someone's last name, and then pretend you had the street named after them!  This is a birthday gift which I framed and gave to my Dad, Sherman Bailey, for his 95th birthday.  He found it very amusing, but I am not quite sure if he believed that it was really and truly a new street dedication.  Maybe you'll have better luck!

380 - Have a "Zero Dollar Day".  This is a day when you don't spend any money at all.  It's a great way to feel like you're saving money.  Sometimes I even get in and out of a store without spending anything at all if I am well on my way to having a day where all my money stays in my wallet!

381 - Pre-read a few pages in the books you are going to take on vacation.  This way you won't be lugging books around that are going to disappoint you during your time away.  Thank you to my friend, Nancy, for giving me this great idea.

382 - If you're thinking about buying a book at a bookstore, but you're not sure if it will be good or not, read a paragraph 1/3 of the way in, and 2/3 in, also.  This is not recommended for mysteries though -- you might ruin the suspense!  Authors spend a lot of time devising their first paragraphs, so this has helped me over the years get a better feel for a prospective book purchase.

383 - Take a photograph of your vegetable garden bounty to send to someone out of state.   Featured here are yellow squashes, zucchinis, green peppers, and an eggplant from my Dad's big vegetable garden.  Tomatoes are now in, but have yet not been photographed.  We call his tomatoes "Bailey tomatoes" -- they are always better than anybody else's tomatoes in the Universe!  My Dad is 95 and has had vegetable gardens almost every year of his life with rare exceptions.  He works his magic in a community garden, and is very generous with his advice and assistance to other gardeners.  When I was a child, one of my fondest memories was of gardening with my Dad.  I have inherited his love of gardening, but with more of an emphasis on flowers.  Hooray!

384 - If you really love a movie, see it twice in rapid succession.  You will notice things in the second viewing that escaped you in the first.  I recently saw "Moonrise Kingdom" and was so enthusiastic about it that I saw it again two days later.  The second time around convinced me that it is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen!

385 - Observe gardens in your neighborhood and on your driving routes.  I have favorite seasonal flower delights all around town.  We have neighbors that tend to a wonderful sloping garden which I pass by almost every time I drive up the street.  This year, their purple clematis grew up and over a trellis to join beautiful red roses for a glorious display.  Now they have gorgeous red hibiscus blooming.  Every once in a while, I stop and offer my appreciation for their flowers and the hard work they put into taking care of their yard.  On another street, I look forward to their huge pink hibiscus blossoms surrounded by amazing lavender blossoms.   I am also an admirer of big blue hydrangea in bloom, especially since they seem impossible for me to grow!

386 - If you love to write, invite a friend to join you at a cafe to do writing prompts.  You can find writing prompts on the internet and in books, or make up your own.  Then you write for a certain amount of time and read the results to each other.  My friend April writes the most quirky and fun responses to writing prompts, and we always have fun trying new approaches to short writing pieces.

387 - Try a writing prompt cafe hop.  Get together several friends who enjoy writing, and have little writing episodes at different cafes all on the same day.

388 - Encourage someone you love, who is technologically resistant, to make a fun computer purchase.  This is my Dad at the Apple Store in the midst of buying an iPad.  The employees were great with him and enjoyed his sense of humor.  

If you have any ideas of fun things to do, please add them in the "comments".  We are over 1/3 of the way to achieving a list of 1,000 fun things to do!