Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

39 Before 39


Oh, hai! I am checking in to my long-neglected blog. You see, today is my birthday and I am 38 years old. I am posting today not because I am fishing for birthday wishes (although I do love them), but because I have decided to jump on the internet bandwagon of doing X things before I turn X years old, or, in in my case, 39 things before I turn 39 (gasp) years old.

I anticipate that 38 is going to be a tough year for me, I want to mitigate that as much as possible, and so I think that setting a bunch of (mostly) fun goals for myself will help with that. My mother died of pancreatic cancer when she was 38 years old. And even when I was a child and thought that 38 was actually pretty old (as only a child can…), I never really thought I would make it past 38 myself. Now that I am older I realize that 1. I will probably not die this year and 2. 38 is really not that old at all: it’s actually heartbreakingly young.

So this list has a few purposes: to get me to do new things, to remind me to do things that I love, and, in at least one instance, do things that I need to do. It will also serve to remind me that I am young, healthy, and able to challenge myself to do things that will make my life better. Obviously this is not something I want to take for granted.

Without further ado….my list:

  1. Go to Disney World.
  2. Shoot and develop a roll of film (I have tried this before and failed, I want to succeed this year!)
  3. Make a lemon-meringue pie.
  4. Teach Rudy not to bite.*
  5. Go on a picnic at a Lowell Summer Music Series show.
  6. Drink at least four beer samplers (this goal is specific because when I told Gist about my list and mentioned ‘drink more beer samplers’ as a goal, she said “But don’t you want your goals to be SMART?” That’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely for those of you who don’t write grants. I replied “It’s a life list not a funding application.” But for her, this goal is SMART.)
  7. Knit a fair isle hat.
  8. Get new glasses.
  9. Go to all of my favorite Boston-area museums: the MFA, the ICA, the Gardner, the Museum of Science, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the DeCordova.
  10. Cook something new for dinner twice a month – bonus points for blogging it.
  11. Start my bike photo project.
  12. Clean and organize the front hall closet.
  13. Go ice skating.
  14. Spend as much time as possible with the pups in the forest.
  15. Be tidier with my belongings.
  16. Read 52 books.
  17. Commute by bike as often as possible.
  18. Write and mail seven letters.
  19. Learn to crochet.
  20. Take a picture a day.
  21. Write in my five-year diary every day.
  22. Take a trip out to way-western Mass and visit MassMOCA.
  23. Ride a bicycle in Chicago’s protected bike lanes.
  24. Take a yoga class.
  25. Vote as often as I can.
  26. Go on a Lowell National Historic Park Boat Tour.
  27. Choose to be cheerful rather than crabby.
  28. Curse less.
  29. Take a walk (preferably with a pup or two) every day.
  30. Play one board or card game a month with Gist.
  31. Make more ice cream.
  32. Go to the beach.
  33. Ride the rail trial, translation: ride my bike for fun, not just to get places.
  34. Get enough sleep.
  35. Be as helpful as I can be.
  36. Make mole.
  37. Grow a tomato.
  38. Grow a cucumber.
  39. Smile more.

So that’s the list. It should be fun (well except for cleaning the closet, but whatever.)

*Who is Rudy, you ask? Rudy is the cutest and craziest six-year-old (we think) Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix that ever lived. See:

Day 28 - Saturday, January 28th 2012

He’s 10 pounds of joy but he definitely needs to learn some (okay, a lot) of manners, chief among them not to nip when he gets excited. We adopted him last Friday morning from the Northeast Animal Shelter (the same place we got Simon.) We weren’t really looking for another pup but we saw Rudy on NEAS’s Facebook page. He looked so much like Simon, that we decided that if he was still there in a couple of weeks we’d go an see him. The rest is, as they say, history. Both Rudy and Simon are adjusting well and we’re all having a great, if a little crazy, time.

Rudy & Gist

Simon and Rudy's first walk in the forest!

Day 27 - Friday, January 27th 2012: Happy Rudy Day!

I have a dog who will wear clothes (Simon absolutely will not!)


Author: Marianne

Hi my name is Marianne Gries, welcome to Art is the Handmaid of Human Good. I use this space to write about and share pictures of things that interest me. That includes my life in Lowell, my adventures in car-lite living, the food I cook and eat, my dogs, home improvement projects, vacations, knitting, and interesting things and places I see and visit. Thanks for stopping by!

11 thoughts on “39 Before 39

  1. Your list looks awesome! Let me know if you need someone to go ice skating with! I’m actually thinking that Superbowl Sunday might be a good choice to go to the arena in Lowell, as people will be busy…. 😉

  2. That’s a good list. Makes me think I should also do a 39 before 39 what with my 38th birthday in a couple of months.

  3. How about “blog more often.” We miss your posts. –DickH

  4. I hope you had a happy birthday, if also a bittersweet one. Your 39 plan sounds awesome.

    Do you already read / know Maggie Mason at Mighty Girl? She’s big into the life list stuff and often has cool links and resources for personal project management along these lines.

  5. This is a wonderful list, and I love the idea of being proactive of what will likely be a tough year. I knew that you lost your mom, but I didn’t realize it was at such a young age (both you and her), and I am so sorry. I hope that you get everything accomplished you want this year. Happy Birthday!

  6. Great list! I like the ice cream one: I got the jeni’s ice cream cookbook for Xmas, which I learned about from your blog. Looking forward to more discoveries!

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