Tag Archives: 34 before 34

34 before 34… in summation…

Yesterday, I celebrated my 34th year of life… in Paris, France. Thinking about this list I made last year (34 before 34), I never would have guessed that I would be in Europe at this time. I also feel that this trip has been a major accomplishment and it kind of overpowers most of the 34 before 34 list. However, I did cross a few items off before I left so here are my thoughts on those. I didn’t get to everything… but if we want to get all technical, I did start my list a while after my 33rd birthday. SO YEAH. And you know… Europe.

24) Go to 10 different museums
OK… I didn’t get to 10. But I did quite a few: Guggenheim, MoMA, American Museum of Natural History, the Met, New York Historical Society, Ellis Island, and the New York Public Library (yes, this counts because I visited a curated exhibition). 7 out of 10 isn’t so bad. I had wanted to go to the Transit Museum and the Museum of Sex, but never got around to it. And yes, I can still go and I plan on doing so in the near future. I’m not much of a museum person, but when I made the list, I worked for the Guggenheim and had free admission to every museum… so that made it somewhat easy to do. And I’m an idiot for not going to EVERY SINGLE ONE while I could. But that’s a lesson I’ve learned… take advantage when you can.

2) Go on a sailboat
OK… again, I’m checking this one off on a technicality. It wasn’t a SAILboat, but it was a boat that cruised the Hudson River. So I’ll take it. The Pac-12 Alumni group does an annual boat cruise around the start of summer. Free booze, gorgeous weather, great friends, and ridiculous views of Manhattan… yes, please.


Part of doing this list is to do things somewhat out of the ordinary. I didn’t know this cruise existed when I made the list… but just the nature of being open to new things has encouraged me to do things that just come up.

17) Go speed dating
Somehow this came up with a friend of mine and I was more than happy to oblige her and go along. Though I didn’t care so much about actually meeting someone, I was excited to cross something off my list and have a unique experience in the process. It was pretty funny… a true practice in small talk and quick conversation. Most of the guys start with the same types of questions: “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “Have you done this before?” But occasionally a guy would just totally be himself and we’d just have a bit of banter. Nobody really struck me as dateable and perhaps my approach to the whole thing was a bit too casual. It was a fun time though.

A few weeks back, comedian Tig Notaro was on the Nerdist podcast. She has a saying that she’s used for a long time, but after all she’s been through (look her up if you don’t know) it means a lot more… and it totally resonated with me: “How about now; how about right now?” Part of creating this list is about forcing myself to do things I normally wouldn’t do. But I as I said before, the creation of the list has pushed me to do other things as well.

It has been a hell of a year… a lot of ups and downs, but I feel accomplished in so many ways. Obviously it’s my intention to continue these adventures. I want to do things now; do them right now.

Stay tuned for 35 before 35!

Hey, don’t let it go to waste…

What a weekend…

Spring is in the air -and I’m telling you, there really is nothing quite like Springtime in NYC… especially after a long and lingering Winter. The city is buzzing… itching to get out and DO. And you know, that’s my favorite.

I had a fantastic weekend that started off with crossing something off my 34 before 34 list:  6) Go to an improv show

On Friday, I went with a couple of friends to the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. Having long ago studied the rules of improv, I have to say that I was unimpressed. There were 5 performers and many of them were quite selfish- trying to make the bits work for them rather than “yes and”ing. However, it was a fun time with friends and that was the key. Also, I love the sense of accomplishment I get from crossing things off my list.

The highlight of Friday, however, was thanks to a bit of social media. As we were walking to the UCB show, I checked Facebook and saw that a dear old friend of mine had posted a picture of the Empire State Building. He was here in NYC! So I messaged him and we were able to meet up.


In 2002… after some adult beverages

Though we hadn’t seen each other in a while, it was wonderful to see a friendly and familiar face in my new setting… and getting to catch up after many years. It’s nice to be reminded of the importance of the people in our lives… I know… that’s a very general statement. But I really believe that we are here (on this earth) to make relationships… to connect to people… and though we may not always be in touch with each other… the connections always remain. And that’s kind of the essence of existence… no?


In 2013… after some adult beverages

The rest of the weekend was spent out and about… playing softball (a lot of it), watching the Final Four, drinking, dancing, just having a general great time with great people… and even meeting a few new ones.

And not to bring it down, but my mom starts chemo today. I can’t do much for her being thousands of miles away… but I can stay positive. I can remember that life is short and that I need to take advantage of absolutely everything. I’m making an effort to make the most of my life. I’m seeking things to do, and opportunities to get out and meet people and make connections. And this is how I can support my mom… by LIVING. I took a big bite out of life this weekend… just like my mom is going to take a big bite out of cancer. (Good gravy, I know that sounds corny, but please know this is just about the most sincere thing I can say about it right now…)

Blog song title: “All My Life” by Foo Fighters
Photo credit: my trusty iPhone (though the first picture is from a very old digital camera)

Time alone is good, I spend my days in the city…

I’ve been so busy with other activities (and other writing) that I have neglected my 34 before 34 list. I have managed to accomplish a few items… technically. Since it’s my list, I reserve the right to determine to what extend these goals are accomplished. And frankly, as long as I’m doing some form of this list I think its purpose is being served. So here – we – go!

8) Get drinks on a rooftop (swanky style)
Back in early February (right as that fun winter storm, Nemo, hit), a friend from California came to NYC for her bachelorette party. We ended up at 230 Fifth – we didn’t stay long and it seemed like we were there for the views and the views only… which were pretty spectacular. Of course, it was freezing ass cold… as is evidenced by the massive red robes they gave us. And as much as I didn’t want to play tourist with the group of girls from out of town, I couldn’t help but get someone to snap a quick picture of me with the ESB in the background…


It’s all so red…

9) Eat at a restaurant where reservations are required
This was actually not as difficult as I thought it would be. Especially because I went during Restaurant Week. This is a great deal because you can eat at restaurants that would normally cost a week’s salary… My friend Melis and I went to Porter House at the Time Warner Center and ate a delicious 3 course meal for something like $25. Salad, filet (SO GOOD), and cheesecake. We did make reservations… but the place was empty when we got there. It did fill up pretty quickly… so reservations may not have been required but I was glad we had them.

15) Go an entire weekend without the Internet
I’m pulling a technicality here… I previously went a week without Facebook. I think that’s about as far as I’m willing to go at this point.

32) Go to SantaCon (or Pirate Con… or both)


That’s a lot of Santas…

So I missed SantaCon. I opted to spend time with a friend in Staten Island. I watched some mid-major (kinda) college basketball, drank whiskey in an empty theater, ate some pretty good food, and had a delicious new beer.



I avoided the scary crowds and somehow managed to have a good time (hello, the Staten Island Ferry is AWESOME… and free). So I’m crossing this one off. I didn’t do what I set out to do, but I still experienced some new things… and that’s the whole point of this list, right?

I’m still working through my other items… some require the warmer weather of the Spring and Summer… but I’m as excited as ever to get them done!

Blog song title: “Life on a Chain” by Pete Yorn
Photo credits: ME, guestofaguest.com, ME

So long my friend…

SO, I’ve decided to take a Facebook sabbatical. Apparently this is a thing. Do a simple Google search and you will see countless articles and blogs – even full websites – dedicated to this relatively new phenomenon. Everyone seems to have a reason to do it… mine is that I simply can’t stay away from it and it feels like a problem. I am constantly checking updates and it has started to make me anxious. I’m not sure why… but it was getting bad. Partly this is because I don’t do much at work… but also because my life has hit a bit of a winter lull.

I did have a similar goal on my 34 before 34 list – #15 Go an entire weekend without the Internet. Frankly, I think this is as close as I’m going to get to that one… especially since about 90% of the time that I am on the Internet, I am Facebooking (oh, anthimeria). I suppose this counts as additional motivation for the break.

And so, somewhere around 8 o’clock this morning, I deleted the app from my phone and posted my final status… at least for a few days. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold out… but I will chart my progress here.

Blog song title: “Under Cover of Darkness” by the Strokes

Tu vuò fà l’americano…

I’m in a bit of a transitional phase right now… new year and on the job hunt (and don’t get me started about boys)… so what better time to get cracking on my 34 before 34 list?  I’m working steadily on my museum goal since my free access will expire at the end of this month… I’m about halfway through that one. And since I can’t travel right now, I figured I’d get cracking on #13: Start learning Italian.

So if you can’t tell by my last name, I am part Italian. And ever since I did a report on the Italian Renaissance in middle school, I have wanted to speak Italian. I took French in high school… and because I was an English major in college, I was required to become proficient in a foreign language… so I stuck with French. And for a brief moment, I was fluent. I can still read it pretty well… and I still know the Hail Mary in French (thank you, Catholic school). I also know a surprising amount of Spanish… it just soaked into my subconscious from living in southern California.

But Italian is the language I wish I knew.

So since I can’t afford Rosetta Stone or even an in-house language course, I had to figure out how I was going to get started – and on the cheap. A friend recently showed me a book he was using to learn Spanish – Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish. I flipped through it and it was not only entertaining, but seemed to approach language learning in an interesting and creative way. So I looked to see if the author had any Italian books… unfortunately there was no “magic key” but she did have an introductory series for a bunch of languages – Italian included.


The book is cute and starts with simple phrases and builds you up to slightly more advanced phrases. There are no specific grammar lessons (which I still can’t decide if I like) and no pronunciation guides either – apart from individual letter sounds at the beginning… this resulted in me pronouncing phrases with a Spanish accent (you can take the girl out of southern California, but you can’t take the southern California out of the girl). So because I function on multiple learning modes, I needed an auditory component. So I turned to the Apple App Store.

I quickly found a couple of apps – TripLingo and Busuu. TripLingo is really just for travelling. Busuu actually tries to build your vocabulary. But as I attempted to go through the exercises, I couldn’t get the French and Spanish out of my head. So I downloaded the same app for those 2 languages as well… and found that if I could compare phrases and words in all 3 languages, I could remember them…

It is all slow going… as language learning can be. Obviously, I need to just go to Italy and immerse myself in the language and culture (anyone feel like donating to my travel fund??)… but the bright spot in all this is that my French and Spanish are really improving. I’m also realizing how many other languages I’d like to learn…

So I am going to cross this off my list… even though my polyglottic aspirations persist. My goal was to start learning… and that I have done… maybe for next year’s list I will make a goal to put it to good use.

Blog song title: “Tu vuò fà l’americano” by Renato Carosone (yes, this is the song sung by Jude Law and Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley… one of my favorite movies… I would like to go to Italy in the 1950s…)
Photo credit: ME

With a pencil and a pad, I figured it out…

Once upon a time, I had big plans for this blog. I was going to chart every move I made as I navigated a major move across the country. I would share each of my struggles and all of my successes creating a chronicle of my experience. Somehow, early on, I started writing major thematic entries and felt silly writing smaller pieces about the day to day.

I’m not making any promises here, but I am going to attempt shorter but more frequent pieces. I do so enjoy the writing process (yes, even just for this blog there is a process)… and I think I need to do it more often. Also, by doing so, I will get to accomplish yet another of my 34 before 34 challenges… write every day for 7 days.

For this I may have to dig into some past experiences… so things won’t be super duper fresh… but it will still be me. So thanks for reading… and get ready for more…

(And I realize I should save this one for tomorrow to help out with that whole “7 days in a row” thing… but that would be cheating… in a very meta-way).

Blog song title: “Seven-and-a-Half-Cents” from The Pajama Game

Hey man, now you’re really living…

I had the opportunity to cross not one but TWO items off my 34 before 34 list this past week… on the same night. Now, part of what made crossing these off the list so awesome was the company I was with. I’m not going to talk much about it because it’s all really fresh… but my new special friend definitely added a whole other dimension to the experience. On to the items!

20) Eat raw oysters.



So when my special friend (we’ll just say SF from here on out) suggested going to Fish and getting oysters, I was a bit nervous. Not only was I really worried that I was going to hate them, but now I had to worry about embarrassing myself in front of a cute boy. So I let him order and then asked for a little guidance. I didn’t even know how to eat these suckers (do I slurp? do I chew? what do I use that adorable tiny fork for?). He ate one to show me how it was done and then it was my turn. I put a little cocktail sauce on and I was ready… sort of. I tried to explain to SF that this was a big deal as I grew up a very picky eater… he didn’t quite get it. I guess I needed a bit more ceremony for the occasion, so I had him snap the picture above. And then I went for it.

I had two fears going into this challenge… one, that the texture would gross me out and make me gag (seriously) and the other was that they would taste SO fishy that I would gag (yeah, seriously). I was pleasantly surprised to find that neither of those were true and ended up having a couple more. I even tried a raw clam… (did not like).

We went on to enjoy a delicious lobster bisque, a crab cake, some scallops… and even some more oysters. We had plans to go to a midnight comedy show at the Comedy Cellar, but we were done eating pretty early. Since we were in the West Village, he suggested going to Fat Cat.

So on to the next one…

4) Go listen to live jazz

Jam session at Fat Cat

Jam session at Fat Cat

Now, I’ve been to this place a few times before… they have pool tables, ping pong, board games… and live jazz. I have heard the jazz here before (like in the background), but I never actually sat and listened. So we managed to get one of the couches that surrounds the band and got to sit and listen. I really like jazz… and sitting in a dark bar in New York City listening to a great jazz jam session was pretty damn awesome… and surreal.

Throughout the night I definitely had a few”is this actually my life?” moments. A great dinner, followed by live jazz and midnight stand up comedy… with a cute boy. Yup, this is my life. And it’s awesome.


Blog song title: “Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living) by the Eels
Photo credit: me & my iPhone and ineskuusik.wordpress.com (I wish I had taken my own pic at Fat Cat, but I didn’t think of it… yeah, I will be better about taking pics of this 34 before 34 thing)

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