Friday, August 28, 2009

Accomplishment #36: Watch the Sunrise (#95)

Okay, sure -- I have seen a sunrise. But not because I've actually wanted to. It's been more like, "Oh no... What time is it? Oh, UGH." You know those times: staying up too late writing papers (only to hand them in at ten a.m and falling asleep in class); staying up all night studying for the final (only to go to class at ten a.m. and blowing the test because you haven't slept and all you ate was pizza or crackers); staying up too late drinking with friends and when the sky gets light and the light less flattering everyone looks greasy and exhausted and you feel like you've been chewing on a wool blanket (but OMG, that was like, so much fun!)... But I'll admit, the more recent sunrises I've seen have been either because of insomnia or having to get up and get to the airport to catch an ungodly early flight. (That's what happens when you get old, I suppose. Though the other sunrises weren't that long ago.)

So basically, I know they're beautiful and miraculous and everything, but I don't exactly go out of my way to see them. Things that require me to get out of bed early had better be Really Important and involving gifts or keeping my job. Now sunsets -- sunsets are glorious things and I don't have to make too much effort to see those. Those happen when I'm already awake. And living in California, we get such amazing sunsets. One of the most perfect moments of my life was standing up at Coit Tower, and watching the sun set beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. And I hadn't even meant to go there to do it -- it was just one of those lucky right time/ right place miracles. Ohh, California. You're broke and a mess and on fire right now, but I love you so.

But a few weeks ago, we left the Golden State and ventured to Oklahoma. Now, let me beat you to it:

And yes, this song was in my head the ENTIRE time.

Jon's mom bought two houses there -- one in a small town called Hollis, four miles from the Texas border, and another on a lake in a town called Lone Wolf. I wasn't sure what to expect -- I'm used to going to New York or Chicago or somewhere that's GO GO GO, not small little towns where the population is smaller than the number of my facebook friends.

But I have to say -- I loved it. It was so relaxing, the opposite of go go go -- exactly the kind of vacation I needed. It was hot, and yes, the wind totally swept down the plain, though I didn't see any wheat. (We saw lots of cotton.) The sky just seems so much bigger, so much bluer, and with so many more stars. And the lake was gorgeous, with red sand and rocks.

When Jon's mom and everyone left the lake house to go back to Hollis, Jon and I stayed up there for two days and just relaxed. And one morning we woke up when it was still dark outside and walked down to the lake for this Accomplishment.

And I must say, it was amazing.

Oklahoma! August 2009
from the front deck of the lake house

Oklahoma! August 2009
walking to the beach

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

It was awe-inspiring. The colors were so vibrant, and the stillness, with just the sound of waves lapping, felt -- I don't know, sincere somehow. Clean, the way a new day should feel. In the past I dreaded the sunrise -- it meant an end to secretive nighttime hours where everything would be exposed -- my lack of preparation and good judgment, an end to fun and the start of paying for it, the hassle of a journey and responsibilities. But as we stood there and watched it happen, with nothing to do but take it all in, I recognized how much I've missed by not watching them more often and feeling that sense of calm and the miracle that this happens every day. (Who knew?) Sometimes it's easy to forget how amazing nature is when you're surrounded by a city. In the 2 weeks since that sunrise, I've mentally gone back there and just let myself be in the moment.

But when the moment was actually happening, it started to sprinkle and I found Jon's sunglasses that he'd left on the beach the day before and I took a picture of nature's cruelty:

Oklahoma! August 2009
Poor, poor fish.

Thus inspired by the early hour, we actually didn't go back to bed and wound up driving around Oklahoma which was AWESOME and I got to do something I've always wanted to do:

Oklahoma!  August 2009
Got my kicks on Route 66!

So for the first time, I watched the sunrise and got it, not dreaded it. I learned to just stop and think a little bit, and just be in that moment. (Until I see a dead fish on a rock and have to squeal and take a picture.) And that, ladies and gentlemen, really is an Accomplishment.

And that Rogers & Hammerstein totally weren't kidding:

Thirty-six down, 61 to go.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Help my friend Accomplish his DREAM!

vote for my friend Johnny Bartlett for a Mad Men cameo!

I wouldn't normally do this, but I am trying to Accomplish something -- really! -- and help someone Accomplish his DREAM. My friend Johnny Bartlett is going for the Mad Men contest role (the winner gets a Walk On part on our favorite show!), and look at him. He was BORN to play it! (And yes, that is how he always looks.)

If you are so inclined (and love Mad Men like I do), please give the man five stars. And if he wins, you can say you knew him when. Sort of.


You can vote every day until August 11, 2009.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary... errr, Blog-iversary to me!

Yes, I know, hard to believe, but this week marks my one year anniversary into the world of blogspot. I am SO tooting my own horn:

nicked from mademoiselle therese's amazing Corbis Flickr set

So one year ago, I hunkered down and wrote this. I had a plan -- I was going to do an Accomplishment a week and kick some serious bootay. I was going to be an Accomplishment Machine! Naps and inertia were to be things of the past. Every spare moment was going to be spent Making Podcasts (#49), Joining a Political Campaign (#69), and Taking Care of a Houseplant (#81). (Podcast: Uh, not done yet. Political Campaign: Check. Houseplant: Uhhh, I didn't want to tell you guys, but I killed it. I am still ravaged with guilt. Sort of.) If everything had gone according to plan, I'd be sitting pretty with 52 Accomplishments right now, but instead, I'm at 35. Which, actually, is pretty surprising.

I know myself -- I figured that I would get aaaalll excited, be super into it, and then procrastinate and let it lag and die an unspectacular death (and it came dangerously close to that), much like my livejournal and myspace accounts. But oddly enough, that hasn't happened. Okay, so procrastination and naps and inertia are still a very big part of my life, but so is this blog.

Part of the reason I've kept it going is because of scary Google Analytics -- thanks to that, I know that there have been 11,075 views in the past year (I think at least 10,000 are from me checking the blog roll and seeing if I have any comments, because I chose such a stupid name that all emails go straight to my junk filter), the average time on the site is 1:38 (most visits read 0:00), and the bounce rate is 81% (which, apparently, is not good but I don't even know what that MEANS). As somewhat creepy as Google Analytics is, it has made me realize that people out there are reading it -- I may be doing the most clicking, but I am not in Bangalore, India, and someone from there read it for seventeen whole seconds.

But another reason, and a good one: I love it. I love Accomplishing Things, especially Accomplishing Things I should have done over two decades ago. I am so lazy and scattered that having an actual list that I can cross off makes me feel totally organized, even if I haven't put the new tags that I got in the mail three weeks ago on my car. And I love sitting down and writing and actually having some structure -- when left to my own devices, I can barely think of anything to Twitter. (And, well, there's the procrastination, and I JUST got THIS as I was writing this, so that's kinda spooky.) Just writing something is an Accomplishment for me, so it's Double-Whammy Goodness.

But here's the best part -- I have "met" the coolest people, found the most fabulous blogs, learned all sorts of new and wonderful stuff, have the best entertainment to read every day, all thanks to starting this blog. Lots of stuff has happened over the past year, and I have gotten such support and kind comments, and I appreciate that. And I am so grateful and shocked that I have over 100 Followers. Now THAT I never, ever would have expected, and I am tickled.

In fact I am tickled PINK, and to commemorate that and its one year anniversary, I am redecorating the blog. The polka dots were cute for a year, but so blogger-y and I have had serious blog envy each time I look at anyone else's. I wish I knew how to make a fancy banner, but I think this is enough for one day. And come on, pink is so glamorous. Just ask Zsa Zsa Gabor!!!

Listen to Zsa Zsa, daaahlinks! Sparkleneely loves you!

Anyway, thanks so much, everyone, for reading this blog, for motivating and inspiring me, and welcoming me into the Blogosphere.

Now go Accomplish something. I am going to eat some Cheez-Its and lay on the couch.