Category Archives: Goals

A Busy April Weekend

A few pics from my weekend adventures around the city

First, there was this weird theme to my Saturday afternoon:graffiti and sign about masturbation

Then I had the exciting realization that I would finally, finally be walking past Sprinkle’s Cupcake ATM.  I’ve wanted to go for years, but I’m never in the neighborhood

Cupcake ATM in ChicagoIt was fantastic!  How was your weekend?

“goals” six months later: Madison, WI

I was fifteen minutes into fighting with a pie chart that carefully infographiced how few of my goals I had done when I realized – what’s the point?  You know that I’m behind, I know I’m behind.  It’s better to ignore it and move on.

So, here’s some pictures from my brief time in Madison Wisconsin this year (to and from the Minnesota State Fair).  I became really obsessed with the little free libraries to the point where Miranda pulled into a ditch so I could take some pictures of the red one.

Madison Wisconsin//aesthetic snafu

Please note that this post fills not one, but two goals!  If only I had ever gotten that stupid pie chart to work…..

Hopefully this will be the last memorial for a while….

My friend Charlotte’s mom, Lynne, was the most amazing artist.  There wasn’t a single art or craft that she couldn’t do and do well.  She was the kind of person who would wake up one day and decide to suddenly start making stained glass windows.  (my mom is a little bit like that too, although unlike Lynne, she has an Achille’s heel – origami of all things).

I ended up with some of Lynne’s fabric and a feeling that I should do something. When I heard that Charlotte was expecting, I decided to make a baby blanket.  I am not a quilter nor the sort of artist that moms seem to be, but I managed.

Almost all of the non-dino fabric is from Lynne’s collection; dinosaurs are the baby theme.  The amazing stripy fossil fabric is from our friend Miranda – I love her because she’s the kind of person who, when you tell her you’re making a dino quilt, immediately proffers dino fabric.

Memorial baby quilt with dinos!

Westfield Seek No Further

westfield seek no further

Last week, the internet failed me…. again.  That’s the second time this summer; I’m starting to believe that the internet doesn’t know everything (is that a sign of growing up?)

Last time it was about  Bellemont, AZ, a route 66 “ghost town.”  This time it was the origins of an apple’s name.  Specifically the Westfield-Seek-No-Further.

The prize was six free apple cider donuts from our favorite apple picking place, More Than Delicious in honor of their first open weekend and their newest sapling.

The Westfield-Seek-No-Further is a desert apple first grown in Winchester, MA before the Revolutionary War.  It ostensibly has a sweet, low-acid, nutty, complex flavor, reminiscent of English apples

One of its first literary references is the 1846 report of the New York state Agricultural Society  (found in The Apples of New York, Vol. 1,) where it is described as “the apple, par excellence” of the area, although they do mention that even then it was only found in older orchards.  Michael Pollen described the Seek-No-Further to NPR as a name “puffed with hometown pride.”   (although many websites attribute it as a Connecticut apple despite that).

As for the name?  At best, people suggested that it was an apple so good that you needed to look no further.

That is not the origin of the name.

According to More Than Delicious and A Reverence for Wood by Eric Sloane,  this is how the Winchester-Seek-No-Further got its name:

In the spring of 1665 a ship lay in Bristol Harbor, England, ready for jouneying to the New World.  The ship was not a new one; it had made the crossing almost a hundred times.  The ship’s master, Robert Carter, was dining at the English estate of Ralph Austin, an extraordinary practitioner in the art of planting.  The dinner had been a bon voyage meeting, for Robert Carter was to leave on the next tide.  “I envy you your journey,” said the host.  “You will reach America at Goose Summer and the harvesting will be at its peak.”  “In America they call it Indian summer,” said Carter.

Robert Carter broke an apple in two, admired its meat, and sprinkled it with cinnamon spice.  “It is time for me to leave,” he said.  “I should like to take one of these fine apples with me and plant the seed in America.”

“What a fine idea!  But the seed would not propagate that same apple, and a graft might not last the voyage.  But wait!  I shall get you a layering plant, and you shall be the first to bring my prize across the ocean.  I have worked a long time to create this variety; I have not named it yet.  I would be pleased for you to name it.  Perhaps the ‘Westfield’ after your farm in Massachusetts?  Perhaps it might be named after your ship!  What is the name of your ship?”

“It is called the Seek-no-further.”

Even knowing the back story, I still couldn’t find this online so… here you go internet!

apple picking at more than delicious

Isn’t More than Delicious absolutely beautiful?

Route 66 “Ghost town”: Bellemont, AZ

With a morning to kill in Flagstaff, AZ and a strange fascination with mid-20th century kitsch, I ended up on the road out-of-town to see Bellemont AZ, an ostensible Route 66 ghost town.  I say ostensible because while Route 66 has flowers growing through it and there’s a famous abandoned motel, people live there and there’s even a Harley Davidson store and a restaurant (part of Easy Rider was filmed there).

There is also, surprisingly, very little information about Bellemont on the internet.  I have no idea how that can be – shouldn’t the internet know everything? – but I’m excited to be able to add a little bit.  You start by taking I-40 west out of Flagstaff, exit 185, which is a surprisingly short drive.

Bellemont AZ Rt 66 ghost town

Bellemont’s biggest claim to fame is that part of Easy Rider was filmed there.  That history is why there’s a Harley Davidson and the Roadhouse.  They’re to the left after the Navajo military base along with the famous Pine Breeze Inn.

To the right is a really rough road (the last image above) which I’m fairly certain is also part of Route 66, along with the following sign:

Bellemont AZ Rt 66 ghost town primative road

Our stupid little rental car handled driving a bit of the primitive road just fine; you don’t need an SUV to see it.  I think it’s easy to think of Route 66 as this permanent cultural object, a pinnacle of American road engineering and it’s mind-blowing to see flowers growing through it, at least for me.  I think it’s easy to look at someplace like Detroit as this epic ruin porn and unusual, forgetting how much of America was once prosperous and isn’t any more.  Detroit is Bellemont is Claremont NH is the south side of Chicago is new Florida suburbs.

Flagstaff in general is a great way to see a bit of old Route 66.  Several of the old motels and their signs still exist.

Twenty-Seven Birthday Goals

I’ve always admired people with long lists of goals that they blog, crossing them off one-by-one throughout the year.  Since I’m still trying to get back into my life after my unfortunate seven or eight months, I thought it was time to do the same for myself, pushing myself along.

The first list, the first I got stuck after ten, which made me realize that I was being too big, too sweeping with my goals.  After all, the point is to be able to complete them, right?  So I started over focusing on the measurable and manageable; although are a few that are more inspiring than concrete.

  1. Help Gary get an apartment – Gary is the nicest, most-useful friend ever.  He took our wedding pictures, built my website, helps everyone move.  And he needs an apartment and could use some help.
  2. Run Jog a 5k
  3. Visit Miranda in Madison
  4. Make Charlotte’s baby’s quilt – Charlotte’s mom was the most amazing artist and nicest person.  She died of cancer last year, unexpectedly and way too young, and her family gave me her fabric.  She’ll never meet her grandchild, but I can pass a little bit of her on.
  5. Get my reading list to under 450 books – you don’t want to know
  6. Finish my cross-stitch pattern
  7. WORK ON FEELING BETTER – not small or measurable, but important all the less
  8. Make a fruit cake – I’ve been trying to do this for years even though I don’t like fruitcake
  9. Create/update my portfolio
  10. Get someone to hire me for a UX project (paid or unpaid)
  11. Earn $X – where X is a reasonable amount that I have made in a previous freelance year, but am not currently on target to make this year.
  12. Write 52 blog posts (e.g. weekly)
  13. Create wedding album
  14. Scan my mom’s family’s pictures – one of my two suitcases from my family trip was just family photos
  15. Scan my dad’s family’s pictures
  16. Make a list of IMPORTANT birthdays and card/call/celebrate – I’ve tried to do this in the past but included way too many people; this year, I’m focusing small and doable
  17. LEARN
  18. Finish up my back room project
  19. Decorate the living room
  20. Finish going through/clearing out my books
  21. Go on and document twelve (day+) trips – this isn’t as crazy as it sounds, we’re going on two this weekend; I’m look forward to making so much progress on something so quickly.  Route 66, AZ.Apple PickingMadison, WI;
  23. Finish knitting my first sweater
  24. Volunteer at least monthly
  25. Learn how to use some sort of photo software
  26. Get a non-Chilean-economist editing client – please, oh please.  I love my economists but I need a little variety
  27. Get a new market research client – again I love my current clients, but you can learn so much working with different clients; everyone has a different way of doing things.
  28. – 31.  currently unoccupied – for future goals or maybe like the free box in the middle of the bingo board

Filling In All the Little Boxes (except for this one)

At the beginning of the month I scrounged around and after weighing way too many options, I printed out two calenders – April & May – and Frankenstiened them together.  I’ve been filling up, not just the squares which are for the big picture, or my google calendar for the individual appointments, but my social axons.  I run from one thing to another and at the end of the day, I can’t even make sense of the plot of Hannibal while creating store maps.  The process of how they make whiskey is fighting for air space with different types of teacher selective sorting and they’re both losing to thinking about decorating my living room.

You see, at the end of that frakencal, so far in advance that it doesn’t even have its own box, is “9th Party” 9th party is a big house party, celebrating not only my birthday this year, but my big 3 0.


Last year for my birthday I worked despite blocking it off, last year my mom decided to call the day before, last year my friends forgot, last year my aunt sent me a letter about her hip replacement, last year… last year sucked.

This year, big house party!  And, for some reason, it has to be a big house party in a pinteresty, decory house.  Since none of my friends even have Pinterest, I’m not sure why I care, but I can’t get the decor out of my head.  I ordered swatches from Spoonflower for this project, bought a pile of plants, and have had serious conversations about our mantle. Said mantle:


I’m thinking another bottle or two for the right side, and then a terrarium, moving the photos entirely or…. something.  What do you think?

Things I’ve been reading – lists

I love lists – not only because they make me feel like the organized person I long to be, but I also think that they can teach you a lot about how people think and dream.

Top 101 goals in 1001 days – Most popular goal is to give blood – wonder if that’s because it’s so public and thus performative, or is that really one of the most common goals for people?

How I Became My Own Mentor – To this end, my strategic plan features all kinds of useful lists: work that’s in process, work I’d like to do in the near future, people I’d like to work with, kinds of work I realize I hate, kinds of work that really lights me up, skills I’d love to learn.  Brilliant!  I need to do this in my next coffee shop time!

List of Lists that People Make – Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts. Yes!  I have way too many ideas to keep all of them in my head at any one time.

Using Trello to Organize – Look at that page of lists!  So pretty!  I like paper though so I’m not sure how well it would work for me.

Pinterest Board of Creative Journaling –  Part of why I like paper so much – can doodle, paste things in, make it 3-d.

The Most Amazing Journal EVER – A picture is worth a 1000 words here – you should go check it out!  I ordered a moleskin and washi tape just to see if I could use this to add a little more organization to my life.

My organized evil twin is not me

I am obsessed with systems in an almost I long to be a left-brained person way. Linear, pragmatic, solution-based, I’ve convinced myself that systems can be created to crack the code on looking chic everyday, cooking dinner, staying fit, saving money, and producing good creative work. According to this as yet untested theory of mine, the only difficult part should be finding your system.  – Sarah from Pink of Perfection

I recently read the above and went YES THIS!  I crave being a orgnaized, systematic person.  Make a to-do list, cross it off, and have that glow of productivity and satisfaction every day, surrounded by my clean horizontal surfaces and things filed away.  Just find the one trick, the one system, or pen color, or type of box and BOOM!  Awesome killer adulty-type-person.  Sadly, no trick, pen, or box has kept me from often feeling like below :

Closer to reality

Closer to reality from Hyperbole and a Half

I know I’m not the only one, so I’m going to share a few things I have managed to figure out that do help me and hopefully will help you too.

  1. Everything counts!  Making the bed?  Counts!  Going downstairs and get the mail? Counts!  Put it all on the to-do list or, if you can’t handle the list of doom that might be, the “I did” list.
  2. The corollary of that – breaking down big projects really does help.  So much easier to start with draft email to contact than get new awesome job.  And remember, it all counts!
  3. Start with the 5-10 items (no more) that are always either missing (stamps) or present in way too many places (for me, hair things and lip gloss).  Come up with a place just for those items that’s easy.  I dump all my hair things and lip gloss into the same jar on my dressing table.    It’s so much easier to clean when half of it is sweep hair things and lip gloss into hand, walk to bedroom, dump in jar.
  4. It only has to make sense to you – don’t do something just because Martha does it, or your favorite blogger, or your mom.  For example, I keep postage stamps in my wallet.  Easy to find, have them whenever I need them.  Nearly everyone who has learned this thinks it’s weird; almost all of them were borrowing a stamp from me.  Organized point – Kat!

What about you?  What tricks and treats do you use to make things work for you?