Category: new things

New Thing: Be In My Life

be in my life
Every year I make a list of new things to try. These New Things are a pretty predictable mix of physical challenges, weird foods, and books/movies that everyone-other-than-me is familiar with.


But this year, I’m trying something different. Something that’s, honestly, probably a lot more challenging than running a 5k or taking a trapeze class.

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New Thing: Read East of Eden

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I always thought that I hated Steinbeck.

His books seemed to be a never-ending parade of men and farms and depression and desperation. I remember dragging myself through Grapes of Wrath in 11th grade English, staring into the middle distance with bone-shaking boredom as we worked our way around the room, reading passages. Everyone was sad. Everything was covered in dust. Some smart, kind person was always failing and floundering, despite their best intentions.

These were not the novels that self-absorbed 17-year-old girls connected with. (P.S. spoilers below) (more…)

New Thing: Watch ‘The Sandlot’

watch-the-sandlot

Each year I make a list of new things I want to try; it’s part of how I live my life on purpose. Some of these new things are exciting, many are terribly mundane.

Apparently, I spent most of my childhood living under a rock.

It was a PBS, “go-play-outside”- shaped rock, but a rock nonetheless.

This means that when you try to talk to me about mid-90s Nickelodeon programming, I’ll just stare into the middle distance. The Simpsons? I wasn’t allowed to watch it because Bart was “a smart aleck.” I saw The Goonies for the first time at age 22 and – let me tell you – that skeleton piano does not play well to English majors who take themselves very seriously.

All this is to say: I was not expecting much from The Sandlot.

If it was anything like my viewing of The Goonies, I anticipated rolling my eyes a lot, cringing at racist jokes, and annoying my fellow viewers by pointing out holes in the plot.

Instead, I was charmed and endeared and found myself getting a teeny, tiny bit misty-eyed.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Sandlot, the plot is super simple and a straight forward. A sweet, nerdy boy named Scotty Smalls moves to a new neighborhood with his mom and newly minted step-dad. Stepdad promises to teach boy to catch but is usually too busy. Boy discovers group of neighborhood kids who play baseball every day in a nearby sandlot. Bonding and coming of age ensue, as well as hijinks involving lost baseballs, a terrifying dog, and an assumed-to-be-mean-and-creepy neighbor.

Of course, our young hero makes friends and becomes slightly less nerdy. Our scrappy sandlot team beats the snotty, established baseball team who wear uniforms. The terrifying dog is just a St. Bernard who likes to stockpile the balls that come over the fence and the Boo Radley-ish neighbor is none other than James Earl Jones! And he was a famous baseball player before he went blind! And he just wants to be buddies and talk about baseball and give our heroes a priceless baseball signed by “Murderers’ Row,” several of the best Yankee hitters in the late 1920s!

Here’s the thing about watching a decently-made kids movie as an adult:
the things you’d fail to notice as a child get you in The Feels this time around.

When Smalls awkwardly asked his stepdad (a young Dennis Leery?!!) to play catch? OH LITTLE BUDDY YOU’RE GETTING ME IN MY STEPMOM HEART.

When he made his list of “Things I need to learn about baseball? I FEEL YOU FELLOW SCHOOL NERD AND LIST MAKER.

And the bit at the end? Where the narrator updated us on the adult lives of each character? And Benny and Smalls are still friends? Well, as someone who’s known her best friend since fifth grade, I get it Smalls. I get it.

So if you haven’t seen The Sandlot yet, go watch it.

Even if you didn’t spend your childhood living under a PBS-shaped rock.

What are childhood movies do you love? Which ones do you think can stand up to an adult viewing?

Help me think of new things to try!

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If you’ve been reading Yes & Yes for long, you’ve probably noticed the frequently changing, occasionally updated list over in the sidebar. Each year around my birthday, I make a list of new things I want to try and then (with varying degrees of success) I try those things and write about them.

And while I rarely check everything off my list in a given year, it’s a really, really great way to live my life on purpose. It gives structure to my free time and really forces me outside of my comfort zone. It strengthens my friendships and makes lifelong memories. It helps me find new things to love (and confirm that no, I never need to drink blowfish sake again. Not that I thought I would.)

It can be oddly hard to think of new things to try! Like, I find myself googling other people’s bucket lists. I like to aim for new things that are relatively cheap (usually under $100) or somewhat easy (don’t require months of preparation.)

Like the deeply Type A human I am, I find it’s easier to think of new things if I give my list a bit of structure.

Books + Movies
* Read Lolita (some very lively comments on that post)
* Watch Casablanca
* Watch The Godfather
* Read Catch 22 (which I JUST HATED SO MUCH)

Acts Of Physical Prowess <– sarcasm
* Run a 5k
* Shoot a bow
* Take a trapeze class (!!!)
* Take a belly dancing class

Food
* Try Bibimbap
* Try miracle berries
* Make cheese
* Bake bread

Personal challenges
* Learn to walk in wedges and wear them every day for a week
* Go raw for a week (spoiler alert: I failed)
* Do a five-day cleanse (haaaaated it)
* Do a polar plunge (yes! I even did it again the next year!)

Totally Mundane Things Everyone Else Has Done
* Take a historical tour of my neighborhood
Eat dim sum
Go to a batting cage
* Put a significant amount of money into a Roth IRA

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Last year’s list was particularly unchecked (mostly because I was moving, getting married, road tripping for 6 weeks and backing out of a book deal) but this year will be better! More new things! More checkmarks!

But I need your help. What other new things should I try?

So far, here’s what’s on my list for this year:

  1. Take an adult ballet class (those Barre fitness classes don’t count!)
  2. Go to a nudist beach or resort
  3. Go carless for one week (this makes me oddly nervous)
  4. Drive a jet ski
  5. Go storm chasing (my husband is a meteorologist storm chaser!)
  6. Take an overnight bike trip
  7. Take a sailing class
  8. Stay overnight on a houseboat
  9. Make kombucha from scratch
  10. Watch The Sandlot
  11. Read East of Eden
  12. Visit the Wabasha Street Caves
  13. Harvest some wild mushrooms
  14. Make (or attempt) a pavlova
  15. Go to a trampoline park
  16. Try paddleboarding (IT JUST SEEMS SO BORING)
  17. Take a burlesque class
  18. Attempt contouring makeup
  19. Let someone do energy work on me
  20. ..
  21. ..
  22. ..
  23. ..
  24. ..
  25. ..

I like to leave a few of these open – just to see what weird opportunities life presents – but I’d love to hear your suggestions!

What other new things should I try? And do you have an on-going list? I so, SO recommend it!