Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Update to 101 things to do in 1001 days

At the beginning of 2010 I posted a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I posted a couple of times with updates but that was ages ago. Today I dug out that old post and had a review of what was on it. Many items no longer have relevance to me. Quite a few others have been completed. Here's what it looks like now.

1. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years
2. Go vegetarian for one month - I've been vegetarian for over a year now - can tick this one off.
3. Walk the Milford Track - we're booked to do this in December this year
4. Spend a holiday exploring the top of the North Island (everywhere north of Auckland) - had a couple of trips to Northland which is a great start but also have a vague plan to continue with this item in the future.
5. Visit the Coromandel - not yet
6. Visit Tauranga - not yet
7. Make a quilt - not likely - craft work just isn't on my horizon these days.
8. Go to 3 music concerts - Womad twice and the Joe Cocker concert - done!
9. Invest in a decent sound system - have a functioning stereo setup - done!
10. Downsize my house and my mortgage - sold the house, have no mortgage, am renting - done!
11. Blog at least once a week - a bit of a fail on this but maybe on the improve
12. Have a massage once a month - not so important to me anymore
13. Declutter my house - I did that when I moved. This is an item that needs to be executed on a regular basis
14. Clean out garage - as per #13
15. Stick to my budget - I threw the budget out when I sold my house. This hasn't resulted in any issues for me and I'm saving a decent amount per month and have no debt.
16. Track all expenses - nope, see #15
17. Try 50 new recipes - I won't try list all the new recipes I've tried but I reckon it would be getting close to 50. Going vegetarian and needing to cook gluten and dairy free regularly ensures I try new recipes often.
18. Listen to one new musician / band every month - fail! But I also don't feel this is important to me anymore.
19. Buy a piece of art - this is also not important to me anymore. I'd rather be out looking at the great outdoors which is the best piece of artwork around.
20. Find a great cupcake recipe - I've finally decided that cupcakes are overrated so this is off the list!
21. Replace my lounge suite - nope.What I have is perfectly functional so won't be replaced anytime soon.
22. Make new cushions for the lounge - nope. The cushions I have are just fine.
23. Increase mortgage payments - no mortgage anymore.
24. Go skiing - done!
25. Compile my favourite recipes - all my favourite recipes are in a folder in the kitchen. Done!
26. Give blood regularly - I give as regularly as I can. It seems that blood donation time often coincides with me getting a cold sore or a cold.
27. Become a volunteer for the Samaritans - nope. This is still in the back of my mind to do but not a priority right now.
28. Go sky-diving - hmmmmmm. Why is this on the list? It can stay for now but it seems doubtful I will rush out and do this.
29. Only buys clothes / shoes for replacing existing items - this is pretty on course. The exception is specialised clothing for outdoors / alpine environment etc as I am still building up what I need for that.
30. Take 3 cooking classes - I did one and now my cooking classes tend to be via youtube.
31. Complete Christmas shopping by October - hahahahaha. Whatever.
32. Attend a yoga retreat - maybe I will do this one day but I would rather be climbing a mountain or camping by the beach than doing this.
33. Eat less red meat - done! I eat none.
34. Eat more fish - done! I eat fish on a regular basis.
35. Donate $10 to charity for each task I don't complete - Will do this.
36. Go camping - yes. Often.
37. Go on an unplanned road trip for a weekend - I do end up doing quite a few last minute trips into the outdoors. Road trip? Not likely.
38. Put together an emergency kit - I've done this although I think all emergency kits need regular review and updating.
39. Take a dance class - nope. It's possible I might try swing dancing though.
40. Do yoga three times a week for a month - I probably got close to this a year or so ago. Now it's more likely to be three times a year.
41. Go to a live comedy show - done! Have been to several.
42. Buy fresh flowers once a month - nope. Not important to me.
43. Make 25 different cocktails - nope. But I've tried lots of different pinot noirs and a fair few whiskeys. Does that count?
44. Try out a new restaurant once every two months - nope. Eating out isn't a priority. I'd rather cook something different at home than pay through the nose for mediocre food.
45. Make a winter dress - nope. I don't need any more clothes and when I do it is likely I will go buy something rather than make it.
46. Spend a rainy day with someone in bed - still working on this one. There's always so many other things to do.
47. Sleep under the stars - done!
48. Read a science fiction book. Really? Why did I put this on here. I am so far behind on my reading these days it's unlikely I will force myself to read a genre in which I have no interest.
49. Prepare and have a romantic candlelit dinner at home. I might have to do this sometime. This can stay on the list.
50. Read at least one non-fiction book a month - like I said above, I am very behind on my reading. When I do read it does tend to be non-fiction these days.
51. Complete a sudoku every day - I have been doing this recently as it helps keep my brain active.
52. Go to a wine and food festival - this can stay on the list but not sure if it will be achieved.
53. Go to 10 plays - since the list began I have probably been to 2 plays. I'd like to see more though.
54. Go white-water rafting - done!
55. Menu plan every week - nope. This can come off the list. I am now into planning each meal around what we have in the fridge and cupboard. I buy a ton of in-season fruit and vegetables every week and this forms the basis of what we eat.
56. Reduce grocery spend to $70 / week. I'd have to look at this. I'm not too focused on cost at present, more interested in quality.
57. Review goals once a week. Oops. Once a year maybe.
58. Make soap. Maybe one day.
59. Take a bubble bath every month. I jump in the spa on a regular basis so this one is replaced by "Soak in the spa.".
60. Build something out of wood. Really? Like what? What was I thinking?
61. Buy a "round town" bike for running errands. Since moving into a house on the hill it makes more sense to stick to a bike with good gears. I tend to just use my road bike.
62. Set up spare room as a real guest bedroom. Nope. Off the list.
63. Go on holiday to Japan. That would be great but I think there are other countries that would come before Japan. Would be cool to go to Nepal. Malaysia.
64. Donate 100,000 grains of rice on I did do this for a while. Not sure where I got up to. Might have to look into this and get back into it.
65. Create a cleaning schedule. hahahaha Cleaning happens when it happens. Usually not often enough.
66. Take a class and learn something new. youtube is my classroom. I learnt how to make homemade corn tortillas that way. :)
67. Donate food to the local food bank once a month. Nope. Hmmmm. Will think about this.
68. Do a random act of kindness once a month. Haven't kept track of this. Seems doubtful. Although I do think I do acts of kindness often anyway.
69. Knit something. I have been thinking about doing this. I wonder if it will get past the thinking stage?
70. Make a loan through Kiva. Nope. Have to look into this further.
71. Go see a 3D movie. So not interested in this.
72. Keep in regular contact with my brother. I think I fail with this one although it's easier these days with him being on Facebook more often.
73. Sew Christmas stockings. Nah!
74. Go to an art gallery every month. Not every month. Need to do more of this.
75. Get involved with local Transition Towns group. Nope. Can't see that happening.
76. Take a pole-dancing class. Done!
77. Assemble a first aid kit for the car. Great idea! Need to do this.
78. Have a productive vegetable garden year-round. I wish. I did notice that my broad beans have sprouted over the last few days which is a progress.
79. Complete a scuba diving course. Let's replace this with "Take up rock and ice-climbing."
80. Learn to garden organically. Still to do.
81. Reduce food wastage. I would like to think I've done this but I think I still fail as I find containers in the fridge with yucky stuff in them.
82. Visit my parents twice a year. Big fail. I never seem to have any annual leave as I'm always off on outdoor adventures.
83. Write an “if anything ever happens to me” letter. Need to do this.
84. Clean out and organise my filing system. Still to be done.
85. Check my car's oil and water every month. hahahaha Once a year perhaps!
86. Change the oil and oil filter at least annually. Oh. Did this. Once in the last 4 years is ok right? Plus, apparently the bung in my sump is.... um.... bung and can't be removed easily so may never happen again. I am sure the car will die before it needs to be done anyway.
87. Once a month meet a different friend for lunch. Not doing too badly on this.
88. Clean out the dreaded box of cables. Nope. It sits in the corner glaring at me. One day.
89. Swim in a lake, a river, the sea and a pool. Done!
90. Wear matching underwear at least once a week. hahahaha I reckon as long as I wear clean underwear then that is good enough.
91. Put $10 in a jar for each completed task. Not done.
92. Try geocaching. Nope. Maybe.
93. Donate to one new charity each year (ongoing). Nope. I am rethinking charity donations.
94. Take more photos. Yes!
95. Take an art class. I did this!
96. Visit a waterfall I haven't been to before. Done!
97. Write a positive thought down every day for a month. Nope. But I do think positive thoughts every day.
98. Kiss in the rain. Done!
99. Mid-winter swim. Done!
100. Write my name in the sand and take a photo of it. Done!
101. Bake bread once a month - new recipe each month. I now bake bread several times a week. Same recipe every time because I found a gluten free recipe that works and don't want to go back to producing bricks.

Not bad I reckon. I wrote this list at a time when I needed to figure out some direction to go in. These days I am so happy with the life I have and enjoy what I have got and what I am doing, that I don't know that I need a list anymore. I reevaluate life often and I think that's the key.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tararua adventures

I've just had a wonderful weekend up in the Tararua Range. On Friday I headed up to the road end at Holdsworth to join up with a group to have my initial assessment with Mountain Safety Council as a step on the pathway to becoming an instructor with them.

We arrived at the carpark at 7pm, carried out some introductions then walked into Donnelly Flats to set up camp for the night. I had opted to carry a bivvy bag rather than a tent. This saved on weight and I figured it was only me for the night so I didn't need a larger shelter.

After completing a few tasks it was time to settle down for the night. I had packed my 4-season sleeping bag with the thought that it might be a little chilly in the night. Lucky I did as we had a really hard frost overnight. I woke in the morning to find ice on the outside and inside of my bivvy bag. I was snug and warm in my sleeping bag though so was happy enough - until I had to get up and dressed. It was super cold. That cup of tea and plate of porridge was extremely welcome. Here's a picture of part of the campsite in the morning. My bivvy bag is on the right with my sleeping bag poking out of it.

The ground looks white... because it is! Brrrrr!

After breaking up camp the plan for the day was to walk along the Atiwhakatu Track, walk up the spur track to the Mountain House Shelter, have lunch and then descend back to the carpark down the Gentle Annie Track. While completing these we would be checked out by the instructors on specific aspects of navigation, group management, etc.

After the chilly start, the weather was fantastic so the walk itself was enjoyable. It was pretty slow going with lots of stops to cover aspects of navigation, environment, etc. After a lunch break at the Mountain House Shelter we headed down Gentle Annie with a stop at Rocky Lookout on the way down. We ended the day back at the car park with a debrief.

At this stage I turned round and headed back up the Gentle Annie track as I was due to meet up with my partner and his kids at Powell Hut. It took about two and a half hours to walk back up there and it was pretty much dark when I arrived. Powell Hut is just above the bushline. The following pictures are of the hut and the view from the hut.

There was quite a crowd in the hut for the night (that's the downside of huts being a short walk from a roadend) so it was pretty rowdy and busy. The next morning the weather was still looking good so we packed up and headed uphill to Mt Holdsworth. I bought a new camera a couple of weeks ago so am still playing around with settings. One thing it can do is panorama photos so I was trying that out and got really hooked on taking those. Anyway, here are some photos.

We had a snack break at the top of Mt Holdsworth before descending to the Atiwhakatu Track via the East Holdsworth Track. That track was pretty steep and a little rugged in places but it was pleasant walking through the bush hearing the birdsong on the way down. After meeting up with the Atiwhakatu Track we had a lunch break on the river before heading back to the car.

All in all it was a great weekend and nice to get up on the tops in such good weather - especially considering it's the middle of winter!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Big plans are afoot!

I've been a little slack on the blog front but I blame the fact we've been busy in the great outdoors and therefore not home all that much. Over the last month or so we've completed a three-day tramp over Queen's birthday weekend, attended an alpine instructor's workshop weekend on Mt Ruapehu and went ice-climbing on Mt Ruapehu this past weekend.

The plan is to climb Mt Aspiring this Christmas so the heat is on to get fit and increase skills ready for that. Here are a couple of photos to show what Mt Aspiring looks like. The first photo shows the Bonar glacier in the foreground and northwest ridge leading up to the summit on the left-hand side. There are a couple of options for the exact route but it's either up that ridge the whole way or start on the front of the ridge by the glacier, head up a snow ramp and then join back on to the ridge to climb to the summit. Which route you choose depends on the conditions at the time. It seems that if there is a lot of snow then you go up the ramp. If there is not much snow then you go up the ridge.

This second photo shows the last bit of the ridge leading up to the summit. Looks pretty good, huh? Fingers crossed we get a good weather window and have a great day like in this photo.


This past weekend we were based at Tukino, on Mt Ruapehu, where there is a small club skifield. They haven't opened for skiing just yet but are due to open on 21 July. We shared the lodge up there with 20-something members of the NZ Alpine Club who were up there on an annual climbing weekend.

Here are some photos from the past weekend.

Mt Ngauruhoe from Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu from Tukino Lodge