Monday, January 30, 2012

Toilet Paper, Immodium, and Ear Plugs

I mean if there is anything that will make you decide to just stay home it's the suggested packing items for Morocco! I was aware of the toilet paper issue. Having personally stood over a gap in the earth called a rest room in Italy, I was not worried so much about the toilet differences. I was already a little leery about the sanitary eating issues though when I was getting poked and prodded for my Hepatitis shots.

I was also not aware that prayers were called at night. So I plan to pack ear plugs, but still doubt I'll be able to hear much over the noise of my aunt's IPAP and snoring (kidding!) (kind of!).

So basically extra packing things for Morocco needs to include :

Wet Ones (I have these oil of olay wipes I'll probably take instead)
Anti-diarrhea medicine (though I usually have the opposite problem when travelling so I'll take that too)
Ear plugs
Toilet Paper
Sunscreen (I don't really like the way I look in hats, so taking one will be a chore for me) and
A hard sided suitcase for all the undetermined fragile things I'm taking back home.

Still trying to determine if the awesome Moroccan shoes are made in giant human sizes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Andrea Bucket List - Part 2

As much as I love food I would think this section of my list would be longer. It seems I need to stretch my imagination a bit more on this one! I probably should look over the list of foods to eat before you die. I know there is one out there! (Update seems imminent)


Eat poutine in Montreal

Become a Wine Connoisseur

Eat 5 deep fried foods at the Texas State Fair

Collect 30 wines that can age.

Take the Kentucky Whiskey tour

Drink Absinthe in Paris

Drink a pint of beer in Ireland

Do vodka shots in Russia

Have a formal dinner party with wine pairings

Eat tapas in Spain

Eat kimshi

Visit the Heart of Charleston and eat Low Country Cuisine

Stuff myself at Maine’s Lobster festival

Eat at Charlie Trotters in Chicago

Eat at SuperDawg in Chicago
Eat peanut pancakes in Singapore

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to pack your life (or two months of it) in 22"

Pay attention, Nancy, it goes fast (or so Matt says!)

I think I've seen this method before in ancient rugs and baskets. And also? I don't like to do laundry on a trip but then the chances of me needing to pack for 60 days is very, very low. I think the little handy, dandy scale is really cool.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh you want to know the REAL price?

I noticed this weird trend on Delta lately (where I look for most of my flights). It says the ticket price to a place, which actually doesn't look to bad. But in TEENY TINY letters you see the taxes which in effect DOUBLE the cost! Like for example I was looking at a fight to Nairobi in October (just for the heck of it, this is what I do when I have a project due in four days) and the big numbers say $1063, but then little digits below show there are over $600 in taxes. That's a big difference! So glad then to see this:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Now if only I can get them to notify me when the prices get within my budget (other sites do this!). And convince Craig that I need to go :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Because everyone needs ANOTHER list to complete

I admit it. I wasn't really aware of UNESCO sites. When I happened on the blog PostCards and PLaces, I decided to look it up.

Here are the places I have already been (like 1% of the sites)
Czech Republic
 Historic Centre of Prague
 Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec

Palace and Park of Versailles
Paris, Banks of the Seine
Bordeaux, Port of the Moon

Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (Berlin only)

Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (HILARIOUS what the call the Vatican!)
Venice and its Lagoon
City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
City of Verona

United States of America (small shame that I have only been to ONE!)
 Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

Place I will be going in just a few weeks(WHOOT!):

Medina of Fez
Medina of Marrakesh

However in reality I don't intend to complete all 900+ sites. Many of them are very naturey and while I am not opposed to nature in theory, it is not my preferred travel destination. I am more for culture and people than beautiful scenery. I do however find the many pre-historic items on the list fascinating and might add some of them to my bucket list.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Bucket List Shoving Match

I had all the best intentions of starting my New Year's Resolution to donate platelets once a month. I drove to the Blood bank. I answered all the questions about medication and travel. Oh I need to check something, they say. And then they came back.

Oh. Umm. Sorry? But Labadee, Haiti? Not good.

What do you mean? I didn't have sex with anyone. There were no blood transfusions done. What is the deal?

And then I flash to the gorgeous scenery. That much green. That much rain. It means mosquitos. Malaria carrying mosquitos. So here I've been stressing over Morocco in March and it turns out I'm high risk NOW.

So yeah, and since I'm going back to Labadee in say two weeks, this means I won't be donating  anything blood-like for at least another year. So I need to add something to my 12 for 12 to replace my failed blood attempt. I thought about buying flowers once a month for a year, but really trading a bucket list contribution item for a bucket list beautifying item? It seems a bit off.

So I went to my bucket list of contributing items and one jumped out at me. Contribute a microloan at

I thought I'd start small. You can loan as little as $25. This is the cost of a lunch out with the kids for me and when they ask if we can go out, I'm going to tell them no. We cannot because we spent the money helping Stephen. And they will be all WHO IS STEPHEN? And I'll show them Stephen. See that FULLY FUNDED notation? I DID THAT! He only needed $25 left to complete his loan and I gave the last $25. So somewhere in Africa a farmer is being told that his loan is ready. It took 32 strangers to help him out and frankly it brings tears to my eyes thinking that this man needs enough to support his family of six on LESS THAN WE PAY FOR OUR MORTGAGE IN ONE MONTH.

Perspective people!

Am I guaranteed to get this money back? No. Is this more than I can afford to lose? No. Do I feel an enormouse sense of accomplishment for doing it? HELL YEAH!

If you have never heard of Kiva and/or are interested in helping people in other places from the safety of your home, please check it out!

I love me a good packing post

I always find it interesting what people find as important to pack and also what they don't. It was nice seeing CeCe at Life's Little Victories list the medications she (as a nurse) finds important:

 Tylenol, Tums, Imodium, Dramamine and Motion Sickness patches, Benadryl (as a sleep aid), Sudafed (the real stuff). Don't forget bandaids and some topical antibiotic (like Neosporin).

I would like to add that I also love Gas-X strips. If you haven't heard of these, check them out because they are LIFE SAVERS! Also on cruises or when there are chances of a sunburn, I can't travel without aloe gel.

Mic has broken it into a science and I learned about the Eagle Creek Pack-It system. Cuz that's all I need. ANOTHER packing system!

How do you pack? Anything you never want to forget?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The three times rule

I have a lot of thoughts jumbling in my head this Monday morning. This weekend was not even very packed but I fell asleep last night at 8:30 and woke up at 6:30. I made cream of wheat for Craig and juiced like 25 oranges (the farm has a small orchard and I am up to my ears in citrus) which creates a lot of thinking time. Like there has to be a more modern way for me to juice oranges. I like this one because it looks like a science experiment :)

 Also I was thinking about what my friend Dana told me this weekend about a three times rule. She was actually commenting on the Malawi phenomenon I had had in the last couple weeks. See, one of the friends I am meeting in Morocco (Nancy) has a friend/coworker who is moving to Malawi for a few years and told her that she was welcome to stay with them if she wanted to visit. Since Nancy knows I'm more than up for most travel ideas, she mentioned this to me. All I know of Malawi came from the collection we did in fifth grade for Bangladesh and Malawi. This made me believe that Malawi was located someplace in Southeast Asia. I was wrong.

Malawi is in fact located in Southern Africa, southwest of Tanzania to be specific. And Kenya/Tanzania have been my dream vacation locations since I was a little girl. So I'm thinking wow, this would be fantastic but Africa again REALLY? The likelihood of Craig letting me go back any time soon is low. Like below Absolute Zero.

So I kind of forgot about it. Until Rebekah comes home from girl scouts to tell me the country they will be studying and displaying for World Day is MALAWI. OOOOOkay. Mark one. Then when visiting Dana her husband hands me a book written by a man who worked in the Peace Corps as a teacher in MALAWI. Mark two. I said maybe it means something. One more Mark and I'm meant to go. Dana said like a three times rule? And I thought YES! Maybe that's what it is. It could be a five times rule or even ten times, but how many times does something come up before it's a sign.

I mean is it all a sign? Or am I just now more aware of this country and it registers on my mind now. I think there is a term for this but it escapes me. If you know it PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Whether you believe in God's signs (which I do) or fate or coincidence, you have to know about those times where ideas or items keep showing up in your awareness and you get that feeling that someone is trying to tell you something.

This has also happened to me with the event Burning Man. I noticed this event occurs on several Bucket Lists out there. It wasn't something that spoke to me, but I was not surprised to find it on my friend Cindy's list. And then today when I read the Bloggess (whom I read every day if I can), and her weekly wrap up included this video which requires a warning.

DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK UNLESS YOU DO NOT MIND MINOR NUDITY. If that doesn't make you click on it, I don't know what will!

Burning Man and Dr. Seuss

So now I have two marks for Burning Man and two marks for Malawi. Things that make you go Hmmmm.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The art of demanding a passport stamp

In Man Vs Clocks A to Z of travel (which is a very interesting read and frankly impressive with the amount of work and time he obviously put into the post!) he notes that his passport doesn't have stamps to European countries because UK citizens don't get stamps there.

Oh. Em. Gee. Small confession here. I travel for the stamp. Ever since I was a kid if I could earn a stamp I wanted one. I wanted to have PROOF that I had travelled. Pictures don't count. Memories fade. But by gosh, stamps from foreign countries prove travel. That matters! This is one of the reasons I HATE that you get stamped in the first European country you visit. This means that I have a ridiculous number of French stamps when I haven't actually visited France in 10 years! I am hoping that when we fly to Paris, then stay for a couple days and THEN go to Morroco we can get a Moroccan stamp. I WANT A STAMP IN ARABIC!

Also, this is why I am not the biggest fan of cruising. I would be willing to wait hours in line if I could just get a stamp. In St. Maarten, I made Craig walk with me to the shipping docks (not exactly the nicest most touristy section of the island, I can tell you) to go get a passport stamp. It's not like we were the first people to ever do this. When we started walking down the narrow street with the chain link fences and stacked storage cars, people would ask us if we were heading to get stamped and then point in the general diection.

Which included a tiny, mobile home with a man leaning against the side in a uniform smoking a cigarette. I waved my passport about and asked if he would give us stamps. Without saying a word he grabbed both our passports, then went inside the building leaving us standing alone. There were a couple tense seconds where Craig glared at me because we had just FREELY HANDED over our passports to a stranger, before he came out and told us to have a good day in (I think) Dutch. It wasn't English or French I know.

Then as we walked away a car pulls up leaving the docks security area and asks us in very broken English if we are headed to a ship. I look at Craig who says yes and the man offers us a ride. Keep in mind that the walk was very very long but how could we explain to the seemingly nice man that we would rather walk the distance than get a free ride. So we slowly got in the car and to be honest I don't remember much. He talked some, but I was praying the whole time that we weren't just about to be national news about a missing couple. But he took us back to the ship exactly as he said and refused any payment for the ride.

It was another one of those crazy Andrea experiences you get when travelling with me. I think it's what my mother calls "God's protection for children and idiots."

See also: Picture I wish I had taken, Andrea's trips to the seedy parts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

you'd think with this clock Prague would always run on time

Not so much really.

The Prague Astronomical Clock is a spectacle collecting dozens of tourists in one spot looking up to watch the little show. It's a pickpocket's dream so my purse was held in a Klingon Death Grip during the whole show. I personally think there are things you just have to lose yourself to as a tourist.

This is one. I mean it's the oldest working astronomical clock, first installed in 1410. To me it's a miracle of science and human achievement. Plus it's really close to cheap beer!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Andrea's Bucket List- Part 1

I was shocked how many of my friends emailed me or posted on my facebook that they didn't have bucket lists. WOW. One asked me if things were "okay" to put on the list and my answer was "It's YOUR list do what you want!" Another friend was afraid to start one because she didn't have the time or money to do any of it right now. And I realized. Bucket Lists can be scary. It's a giant HA HA at you for things you can't do right now. So I came up with a few ideas I figured I'd share. Plus I want to post my bucket list on this blog (but mine is realllllly long so I will have to do it in installments!) so I have it on the Internet in case my computer I have it on dies....though I do have it on google docs as well. It's important information this Bucket List.

1. You can't make a mistake. It's your list. If you change your mind, delete an entry. It's not set in stone. I add to mine all the time. Initially I wanted to ride a camel IN the Sahara. After doing research, yeah, not so much. Riding a camel period is enough for me!

2. You don't have to complete them all. So you don't get to them all so what? Who really cares? I promise there are no Bucket List police! I have things I am unlikely to complete (volunteering for a month abroad? Unlikely while I'm married to Craig. And I'm stuck with him till I die. Or he does. Hmmmmm.)

3. It doesn't have to cost any money. In fact you could have a bucket list of all FREE things. Now that could be a challenge! You could have a bucket list of only things you want to volunteer your time with. So you stay at home with your kids. Go to a nursing home FOR FREE and hang out for a couple hours, play bingo. The kids will learn something (patience, understanding, sympathy) and the elders will love the new company. Just let the residents win at bingo. Those games get ugly!

4. Bucket Lists tell you about who you are. And where you want to be. It's an exploration of self. It's a motivation to stop letting life HAPPEN to you and deciding you are going to LIVE it. It's a positive reinforcement that something good is coming up and the next turn you take will be that much more to achieve. I don't mean to get all uplifting and crap but I personally am sad when I hear someone doesn't have or want a Bucket List. I mean if you don't know where you are going then how do you know you got there? Or even more so how can you look forward to the journey?

One thing I learned about my trip with Craig was that surprise visits that HAPPEN to you take all the joy and anticipation out of it. His ONLY complaint about the whole thing is that he didn't have the weeks to look forward to the trip. Talking it out with friends and family. HEetold me the next time I wanted to do something I could just do it but LET HIM KNOW.

And that is my bucket list in a nut shell. It's a way of telling myself. HERE. This is your journey. I have no idea how you are getting there. I have no idea WHEN you are getting there. But check out the books. Read about them. Research them because ONE DAY. One Day you will be the one standing there taking the picture and helping someone else get there too!


Set foot on each of the seven continents.

Climb the cliffs to Masada

Trek to see Anasazi Cliff Dwellings

Participate in Carnival in Venice or Brazil

Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, BC

Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty

Throw tomatoes at Tomatina (thanks Cindy for reminding me...I wanted this on my list too!)

SCUBA in the Great Barrier Reef  ( I have a horrible fear of sharks.....this will probably never happen)

Raft in the Grand Canyon

Rappel in the dark at Natural Bridge Caverns

Take an around the world trip (maybe?)

WATCH the running of the bulls in Pamplona

Go on a red dress run

Travel somewhere foreign alone.


Drive across America coast to coast

Heli-Hike in British Columbia

Hike in the Catskills

Travel  for 24 hours with only a purse.  January 2009 in Las Vegas

White Water raft in West Virginia

White Water raft in the Grand Canyon

Sky dive

Kayak in the San Juan Islands

Jeep (or ATV) through Moab

See Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills

Dance on the bar at Coyote Ugly

Ride a hot air balloon October 2009 in Central California

I have lots more parts but this is enough for now!

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's not surprising, but I hate surprises

For eighteen years of marriage I have bought my own gifts. I'm not terribly big with unknown because frankly I'm an ungrateful wretch. I have only learned how to accept gifts in the last year. It's hard for me to say thank you. It's hard for me to appreciate what others do for me because, well, I'm not very good at acting surprised. I'm not that person who wears the ugly shirt because it was a gift. It wasn't until a dear friend of mine accepted a gift from me with wise words that I realized the art of gift-RECEIVING. Her response was a prayer that my life would be enriched double what I had given to her. And whatever bands holding my heart three sizes too small burst and I "got it." Receiving gifts is about the giver too. It's not about me. It's about the joy they have in giving something to me.

My husband is also a horrible gift receiver who hates surprises. So the fact that for 6 months I planned an elaborate vacation (organizing time off from his work and coaching responsibilities) came as quite a shock to those who knew us well. In October I planned a quickie vacation. We left Monday night, played golf on Tuesday, had lunch at In and Out, and dinner at Ruth's Chris and came back on Wednesday. The dinner was a shift because the day was foggy and dinner was late and the ocean view I had wanted to have at George's Ocean Terrace was a no go, so to Craig's happiness (he hates California kooky cuisine) we went to Ruth's Chris. Which for the record has a different menu in California. Much kookier.

Through a series of delayed flights and almost missed (seriously running through the SLC airport shoving little old ladies aside and Craig calling out just leave me, I'll meet you there!) planes, we arrived in San Diego late, late, late at night. Their car options were limited so we were asked if we wanted an a Challenger. Why yes, yes we would!


Then we checked in to our hotel room at Estancia La Jolla. This hotel is beautiful but strange. See how the buildings are all connected? We had to follow a series of hallways and doorways that made us feel like we were in the Shining. But thankfully the beds were comfy so we were all ready for golf in the morning.


The whole purpose of the trip was to play at this course. It was Craig's dream course Torrey Pines. This is the place where Scott Peterson was picked up in the parking lot with a trunk full of cash, camping equipment, cell phones, viagra and shovel (the extent of my useless knowledge knows no bounds!)

Craig actually played very well and I shot like a 150 (over double what I should have) and it's hard to believe the months of practice and lessons paid off but they did.


I felt a sense of accomplishment for completing a course that is used for professionals. And a fantastic sense of accomplishment for creating a surprise getaway for Craig that he (and I) will never forget.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

When I grow up I wanna be Matt Long

Growing up being a state of mind and not body as it's highly likely I'm older than Matt! I'm finding that now that I am opening my eyes to this phenomenon called the Internet I'm learning a lot of new stuff. Hello, 2002.

In 1997, when Carrie and I travelled to Europe for three weeks, creating a travel schedule and reservations were WORK. I had to stay up until 2 in the morning to catch the hotels first thing in the morning to make reservations. In broken French and Italian, I explained I would like to reserve a room with a shower for two. It's a miracle we only had one reservation mishap. I booked the wrong hotel and when we showed up at where I THOUGHT we were booked, they sent us walking three blocks over to where I had really booked. It wasn't a bad place and cost us $37/night TOTAL so I wasn't complaining. Also nothing was prepaid. So we basically showed up in foreign cities speaking very little of the language with a prayer and a pocketful of francs or lira HOPING rooms were available.

I picked hotels that were mentioned in multiple travel guides figuring if they paid off at least two publishers they couldn't be too bad. I had no idea what these places looked like or what their neighborhoods looked like and (other than the travel guides) had no reviews. It was the dark ages, people.

I'm almost afraid that the Internet has taken all of the surprise, fear, and anticipation out of travel that would have me up at night reading and rereading articles prior to travel. I mean in 61 days I am going to AFRICA. Speaking neither French NOR Arabic and I'm not even tossing in the night. All the nooks and crannies of travel planning are available. Everyone who has travelled to Morocco and has half the time to talk about it has posted on web pages and blogs all their experiences. I've found blogs of people who live there now as well as blogs of people who visited. And I cannot stress enough the value of

I can't believe I'm even lamenting this. I mean basically I'm typing that I'm upset that all I have to do is have fun! I think I've been married to Craig too long!!

Enter Matt Long. This poor man has no idea that I've spent the last 24 hours combing his site and basically stalking him, trying to figure out ways to sneak myself into his luggage so I can learn travel at the feet of a master. Context Travel posted his blog about the exact tour my aunt and I are taking in Paris on facebook and in the magic that is online epiphany, I found my travel soul mate. Well not quite because it's not that I want to be WITH him, so much as I want to BE him. Have I scared you yet, Matt?

His website it what I envisioned creating. I can only imagine the time and care that goes in to his site. I am eternally thankful that he did though because I love it like I love a vanilla cupcake with extra icing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pictures I WISH I had taken

I take a lot of pictures when I travel (hundreds) and when I look back over past trips the one thing I wish I had more pictures of was PEOPLE. Those people who made my trip extra special.

For Example:

1. Neville (or was it Nigel? It was some very British, "N" name)- Kathryn and I hired a cab for two hours to see the "true" island and Nassau. He was true to his word. Apparently he was a former police officer and had contacts all through the island, stopping a few time to talk to cops working the streets to get info. He started at the bottom and took us to the (for lack of a better word) Ghetto where he explained the stray dog problem on the island. We ended up at Atlantis where he snuck us in (because the security guard was also a former cop) and we saw the aquariums and stuck our toes in the famous man made beach.

2. The young man and woman from Amsterdam who sat with us on the train from Prague to Dresden- They had worked in Vienna at a hotel for the summer and were working their way home via Prague to visit other countries. These amazing children (the girl was only 16) travelled all over Europe on their own. They could speak several languages and were very informative about travelling to Amsterdam (restaurants are mostly tourists and businessmen because families do not eat out in The Netherlands). They also had lots of questions about the US we were happy to answer.

3. Rodney- our bartender on our Western Caribbean cruise. I am so hoping he will be on the ship this trip too. He was the manager of the pool area bars and when we showed up every day he would know our drinks and tell us stories about his home country (Jamaica, where we will be travelling this time so hopefully he can help us on stuff to do as well!).

4. Brandon- (AKA Miss Kitten Caboodle) Brandon lead a group of five ladies through the hot spots of Las Vegas with patience and calm. He made sure we were properly taken care of at every night club and let us know all the ins and outs of VEgas night clubs. Brandon is the reason I want to dance on the bar at Coyote Ugly. He is also the reason I dressed like a drag queen last Halloween.

I guess the adage is You never regret taking too MANY pictures. I know this is my Aunt Jeannette's philosophy ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Beef History of a Meat Eater

I could go on and on about the way I was raised with respect to food. But to keep this short, I will stick to meat. My parents loved steak. And hated throwing away leftovers. This meant that I ate a lot of steaks growing up and a variety of meals that included leftover steaks. Which meant by the time I was old enough to consciously choose my plate contents I passed on steak. Remember how I tend to broaden these decisions? Soon this morphed in me refusing to eat anything beef.

Enter meeting my farm bred, cattle-raising husband at age 18. The first 10 years of our marriage was tough. I refused to eat beef, and he hated having chicken every meal. Eventually, I slowly added beef into my diet with prime steaks. And I realized all that I had missed. Soon my in-laws were sending home large packages of beef from the farm to eat. Many friends know I travel to the farm once or twice a year to pick up coolers full of steaks, roasts and ground meat. I fully realize how spoiled I am.

And how unique this is. In fact sometimes I forget that not everyone has access to a working farm and ranch. Friends don't even think twice when I email that we are loading hay or picking up seed. This last weekend though took the cake.

Email exchange between me and my friend, Nancy:

Andrea: I'm heading back home with Craig after picking up our boar

Nancy: I can't say I see a sentence about picking up a boar every day or well... ever! You Texans.

Andrea: It was supposed to be boat!!!!! Lol

Heh. My poor friends don't even know when it's a typo or when it's just the next crazy thing Andrea is doing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All these FIRSTS must be a sign OR 12 for 12

What a unique day January 1, 2012 is! It's the first day of the WEEK, MONTH, AND YEAR! I take this as a sign. And after my paucity of Bucket List cross offs last year, I figure I need to take matters into my own hands and pick specific things off the list to complete for the year.

First off I need to Organize my bucket list! (which is actually on my bucket list but I won't count it for my 12 :) )

1. Books to Read (from 1001 Books to Read Before You Die):

1. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
2. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. The Count of Monte-Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
4. The Purloined Letter – Edgar Allan Poe
5. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
6. The Story of O – Pauline Réage
7. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut  01/03/12
8. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
9. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John Le Carré 1-13-12
10. Choke – Chuck Palahniuk 01/08/12
11. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
12. Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe
13. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
14. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
15. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
16. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
17. Cocaine Nights – J.G. Ballard
18. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
19. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
20. Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel 01/05/12
21. Beloved – Toni Morrison
22. Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
23. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
24. Rabbit, Run – John Updike
25. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
26. Perfume – Patrick Süskind
This is just over 2 a month. Some of which won't be a problem, but Brothers Karamazov has been partially read for years so this will take commitment.

2. Movies to Watch (from the list of movies that won Best Picture):

1. 1959 - "Ben-Hur"
2. 1952 - "The Greatest Show on Earth"
3. 1951 - "An American in Paris"
4. 1969 - "Midnight Cowboy"
5. 1971 - "The French Connection" 01/12/12
6. 2009 - "The Hurt Locker"
7. 2010 - "The King's Speech"
8. 1985 - "Out of Africa"
9. 1984 - "Amadeus"
10. 1979 - "Kramer vs. Kramer"
11. 1978 - "The Deer Hunter"
12. 1949 - "All the Kings Men"
This works out to one a month. Hurt Locker is on my TIVO so it's my January choice.

3. Ride a camel (Morocco)
4. Get hennaed (Morocco)
5. Dance on the bar at Coyote Ugly (At NFR 2012)
6. Drink Absinthe in Paris
7. See a solar eclipse (an annular solar eclipse will occur in northwest Texas that we are planning to see)

8. Plant a vegetable garden and learn how to can using a pressure cooker
9. Donate platelets once a month for a year.

10. Spend 3 months getting my body in optimum shape STARTING TODAY!
11. Rollerblade
12. Learn Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance
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