#Before30BucketList: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I got pretty excited about this one. I found it on another list about things for women to do before they turn 30, not just anyone in general. Although I have weird views on what a woman is and all that, I do identify as a woman in most instances and have dealt with society’s views on women for my whole life. Plus, reading is pretty much my life, and for some reason I find that I haven’t read nearly enough “classics” that I should know like the back of my hand by now, so I jumped on this pretty quick.

I kind of chose this book randomly. First, everyone knows about Sylvia Plath. I follow a blog called The Belle Jar. I’m deeply affected by mental illness (though I’ve never been suicidal), and am constantly interested in how women lived during different eras because fuck, man, I couldn’t even imagine.

I was afraid it would be slow-reading, as many older books are to me, but I delved right in and didn’t stop. Between all of other lifely duties, it took me only a few days to finish the book. Some parts were riveting. Some parts were confusing. Mostly it left me with a sense of empathy and pride — because I understand what it’s like to not understand, and because so many of us have persevered to make a different world from the one in which Sylvia Plath lived.

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

Do you think she imagined someone like me reading someone like her when she was alive?

(I’m not going to write a book review or summary because that’s not really my style.)

Thankfully, I didn’t get depressed after finishing this novel, as I usually do when I read (or finish reading) books, which is kind of odd considering the material. Maybe it’s because I was more excited to have crossed another item off my list.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. Whether or not you take anything away from it is up to the way your brain interprets things, but either way it’s a good story.

Companions: Sylvia Plath

Cost
Book: $9

Goal Total: $9

9th Goal Accomplished
List Item #15: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman
On 4-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167

#Before30BucketList: Learn Astronomy

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I was worried about this one. I didn’t even think twice about adding it to my list when I saw it recommended on another, but I had no idea how I was going to go about it. I can’t afford to take college classes right now, nor would any astronomy class count toward my degree in teaching high school English, and I absolutely didn’t have the time to randomly research stuff online — and even if I did, what stuff?

I tried finding free or cheap classes at my beloved libraries but was disappointed. Then, an awakening.

I don’t know if you have this where you’re from, or if you shop at ACME, but for a few months they were doing some Monopoly game in which you collected pieces earned from certain purchases and along with the pieces came either a coupon or a chance to win more stuff online. I hated it, because it took up a lot of freaking time setting it all up and figuring out which pieces I had or needed and which coupons I wanted and if I cared enough to try my luck online. But then I found one with a free online cooking course from Rouxbe (which I’m currently still taking, and since “Learn To Cook” is on my list, you’ll read about it soon enough).

Realizing that if they had online cooking courses, they probably had online anything courses, and if ACME Monopoly was giving them away for free I could probably find other deals. So I went to Groupon, and I was not let down.

I found an Introduction to Astronomy course from International Open Academy for $5. If you go to their webpage classes are around $100-$200. Do not do this. If you want to take any of their classes, check Groupon. I don’t know if you’ve heard of International Open Academy, but they act like they’re super accredited and your certificate of completion will be accepted by fucking NASA and the CIA, but odds are it won’t even be accepted by your community college or 5-employee company.

Nonetheless, I’m not doing this stuff to become a genius and land a 6-figure job. If I wanted to do that, I know I would have to spend more than $5. I’m doing this for myself and for simple I-like-to-learn-stuff purposes, so to me it was worth it.

There’s all sorts of funny-business that you should know if you do decide to take one of these classes. Read the fine print. You have a certain amount of time to redeem the groupon, then you have a certain amount of time to start the class once you enroll, then you have a certain amount of time to finish the class once you start. I think Astronomy was 45 days or something. I finished in about 4.

Given, I did spent all of my time at the computer taking notes and tests (yes, they have real graded tests but you can look at your notes — or google — so they’re not really that difficult). It wasn’t the most I’ve ever applied myself, but it also wasn’t the least. I did try to remember as much as I could and I wrote everything important down so I can always access it later if my memory fails me.

It was basic, elementary astronomy. I read a review where someone said you learn all this stuff in middle school. However, I’ve been out of grade school for 12 years and can’t even remember what I learned that last year, let alone way back to sciencey stuff I wasn’t interested in back then. So I did learn a lot.

For instance, you know how they got rid of our beloved Pluto? Well, it turns out they just downgraded him to a dwarf planet, of which we have several others in our solar system.

They’ve discovered other Earth-like planets in other solar systems. You can see certain planets with the naked eye, others with binoculars, and others with telescopes. Meteor showers often happen yearly.

Those are just the simple, easily-remembered things I learned. They went into further detail about the moon and stars and constellations, comets and meteors and meteorites and asteroids. There’s so much out there, and common folk like me look up and the sky and think we know nothing about the beyond, but really we know quite a bit. We just need to take the time to learn it.

So overall I was very pleased with my Intro to Astronomy Course. It may not be college-worthy and I definitely won’t be on my way to becoming an astronomer simply because I took it, but it opened my mind to more possibilities and happenings all around us. I look forward to using the binoculars my mom’s friend gave me to search the sky for things I’ve never thought about before. I’m excited to re-read my notes and put some of my new findings into action. Another list item is to watch a meteor shower, and now I have a much better understanding of what exactly they are and when/where to see them.

Also I have a fancy certificate, even though it doesn’t mean anything.

Certificate

Companions: My notebook & pen & computer & the sky & binoculars

Cost
Course: $5
Binoculars: Courtesy of Mom’s friend
(Also my husband complaining that I ignored him for this class.)

Goal Total: $5

8th Goal Accomplished
List Item #30: Learn Astronomy
On 4-20-2017

Bucket List Total: $158

#Before30BucketList Preparation and Assistance

Okay so this is only part of a post. A preface, if you will.

Obviously you should know by now that I’ve been working on my #Before30BucketList. One of the things coming up on my calendar is to “Complete a 5k / Walk for Charity”. Another is to “Throw a Fundraiser”.

I’ve gone and gotten myself all signed up for The Color Run in Philly on June 25th. I have a few friends coming along (as long as they sign up, ahem!) so we’re all working together. We’ll be walking, of course, because who runs? (Don’t answer that.) We’ll be jumping and sliding and having a ball getting color blasted all up in that muhfuhka. But we’re also trying to raise money for The Color Run’s partner this year, Back On My Feet.

color run

Our team for the Color Run is called “Color Run Padawans” (I haven’t quite figured out a way to link to our team, I don’t know if they even have team pages) and our fundraiser is “Padawans Color Running for ‘Back On My Feet’“.

We’d love for you to join us. Whether by running walking alongside us, cheering us on, donating even a small amount to our fundraiser, or even just sharing and spreading the message. The Color Run is all about happiness and community and Back On My Feet is all about giving second chances and helping. What’s not to like?? (Plus my #Before30BucketList fits in perfectly).

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So just wanted to put this out there. This is a #Before30BucketList preparation in which you can help, if you feel like it. Of course, I’ll update you once I’ve completed the goals — but I do need some help for at least one of them.

“Do Good” — George Feeny

#Before30BucketList: Learn To Dance

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I may have cheated on this one a little bit. I should probably retitle it “Take A Dance Class” but I don’t feel like it and this is my list so I’m allowing certain liberties. Especially life-got-in-the-way-because-I’m-taking-on-too-much liberties.

I really have no rhythm and can’t dance very well and actually don’t dance at all unless I’m drunk, so I decided that I’ll never learn to simply dance and that I should take a dancing class instead. I found some near me at dance studios for those fancy dances like ballroom dancing and Tango and stuff but they were expensive so again, my handy-dandy free library classes saved me.

I found a free line dancing class and got super excited because if you don’t remember this from my Rock Out At A Concert post, I was raised country and am still country in my soul and used to dance the two-step around my living room table 24/7 when I was young.

I tried to find a cowboy hat or boots to wear to my first class but I seem to have lost everything once important to me and held on to everything meaningless, so I just went looking like my normal self (aka in my Star Wars PJs and skater shoes).

When I got there I was pretty surprised to find literally everyone over 60-years-old. The instructor looked to be about 80. But damn, was she feisty. Everyone else caught on faster than I did and she didn’t hide the fact that she got frustrated with me several times. But once I was doing well, she made sure to let me know and was always very nice when we weren’t dancing.

We learned random line dances, not the popular kind you’ll find on YouTube (I tried). She called them the “Mambo”, “Disco”, “Hip-Hop”, “Waltz”, and “Cha-Cha”. They sound like normal dances, but those she actually taught us are nowhere to be found on the internet. She said she gets bored with the same old dances over and over again so she looked up new ones, but I don’t know where.

I was the best at “Hip-Hop”. Of course I would be. It involved swaying your hips and doing lots of crossovers and used all four walls. I enjoyed it because we danced to both country and actual hip-hop, and it was interesting to apply the dance to different songs and styles of music because one was faster than the other. Interestingly, all of the participants preferred to dance to the hip-hop song, I think because it just seemed to flow a little better.

Dancing is a workout, in case you didn’t know. I got pretty excited about attending this class because it also worked its way into my “Start A Workout Routine” item. I was sweaty by the end of each hour, when the instructor made her announcements about balance classes and donating peanut butter and getting your blood pressure checked. I remember the very first day, at the end of class, when she said “If you’re not going to be here next week, please let me know” and looked directly at me. I held eye contact and replied “You’re not getting rid of me, now.” Everyone laughed.

I, unfortunately, missed the first two classes because I hadn’t even found out about them until the third, and then the last two because I had to work (more on that later, since “Get A Job” is another list item). Originally I had planned on getting my mom to come take pictures and videos of me in the class, but that never happened so I don’t really have any proof that I did, in fact, learn to dance (a few dances).

Also my brain’s a little foggy today so I apologize if this post isn’t as witty and adventure-filled as the others. I promise this class was the highlight of my week for a while.

I also planned on doing belly dancing, but that class was at night and cost $15 a week and just didn’t seem to fit into my schedule so I had to cancel that, too. However, I plan to take every opportunity to learn more dance moves I come across.

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Here’s a picture of me dressed up as Madonna pretending to perform, which is kind of the same thing as dancing (or at least the only picture of me that came close to dancing). I didn’t want you to feel left out with no photos and all, but now I realize you might be scarred. Sorry.

Companions: Adorable older classmates, hilarious dance instructor.

Cost
Class: Free
Gas & Tolls: $14

Goal Total: $14

7th Goal Accomplished
List Item #33: Learn To Dance
On 04-20-2017

Bucket List Total: $153

#Before30BucketList: Learn A DIY Craft

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

Right around when I was first making my list, my mom invited me to go to her Mindfulness Class with her, which was held at her local library every Monday — for free. I didn’t put it on my list because it wasn’t really something I was going to follow up on, but I did go (because this is not only my #Before30BucketList year but also my “Yes Year” aka my “Year of Experiences” in which I try to say yes to everything and do as much as possible and probably kill myself in the process).

Anyway, it worked out perfectly that I was figuring out my goals at this time because when I read them to my mom and worried about how I was going to afford and/or find everything she pointed out that all of our local libraries hold all different kinds of free classes. So I spent way too much time looking up every class offered in all of my county and the neighboring county (because I live literally on the edge of the two) and wrote down anything I might be interested in or that would apply to my list.

Originally I found two classes that could count as “Learn A DIY Craft” and I was considering making this one my “Take A How-To Class” but the second crafting class was canceled so here we are. I may have skimped a bit because it was only one class and I didn’t really learn a lot about the craft, but I did complete two projects and plan to follow up on my own to learn more.

The class was origami, which I’ve always been interested in but never really pursued. When I got there they asked me if I’d ever done origami before and I said no but halfway through class I remembered that back in middle school we used to make cootie catchers basically every day and I used that memory to turn them into programs for my wedding, and I designed, printed, cut, and folded all 80 by myself (rarely anyone even took one).

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These are the cootie catcher wedding programs, not what I did in the origami class.

So I did remember a few things that I learned along my wedding-prep route, like folding twice (once on each side) made things easier and how to best align the paper so you got even folds. That doesn’t mean I was an expert, however. More than once the other women in class asked me to help them because I’m impatient and kept going ahead without instructions and looked like I knew what I was doing, then ended up being wrong and having to help them undo what I had previously done and redo it the right way once I got the hang of it.

There’s not really too much to say about this class. It was fun and the instructor had been a kindergarten teacher so she dealt with us rebels well. I’ve noticed in my free class-taking time that the majority of people like to goof off and not take themselves too seriously. There were also snacks and drinks and the whole atmosphere was wonderful, so I rather enjoyed myself.

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If you can’t tell which one I am, well, you need to come around more often.

I got the hang of things pretty well and made a super awesome basket, which I still have in my room holding various knick-knacks I refuse to move into another room but also don’t know what the hell to do with. Originally we were told we’d be making two baskets but we were so goofy about the first one that we had about 5 minutes left to make the second one. I insisted that I could stay if anyone else could, so most of us hung around to make the second. That’s when everyone learned I lived 20 minutes away and couldn’t believe I drove that far but then kept inviting me to other classes so I don’t know what was going on in their heads.

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I gave the top one to my friend for her birthday because I’m poor and kept the bottom one for my crap.

At the end of the day I felt successful productive and inspired to teach myself more Origami, so I do believe it was a success.

 

**EDIT — I bought an at-home origami kit from 5Below the other day and have been doing all sorts of creative animals. I’ll update with pictures when I feel I’ve finished, but for now I just wanted to add that in and change some of the specifics at the bottom.

Companions: Group of Older Women also Taking the Class, No-good instruction manual

Cost
Class: Free
Gas: $5
Tolls: Courtesy of Dad
Materials: Included

At-home Kit: $5

Goal Total: $10

6th Goal Accomplished
List Item #63: Learn A DIY Craft
On 4-6-2017

Bucket List Total: $139