Thursday, March 21, 2013

Organizing My Life

When I created my list of 30 before 30, I knew that some of the items on the list would be harder than others.  However, some have really surprised me.  For example, I thought paddle boarding would take a great deal of grace and balance (both of which I lack.)  I learned that it was much easier than I anticipated and was pleased with the results.  On the other hand, I thought, 'doing something with all my photos' would be a piece of cake.  I would need an afternoon free to put together some photo albums.  Wrong!  This was, by far, the most time consuming challenge of all.  I blame my OCD I inherited from my mother on this one.  Thanks, Mom!

I started this project by taking down the boxes of photos hidden in the back of my closet.  This is a collection of beat-up shoe boxes that have survived every move I've done since 18.  The contained random photos from when I was a baby up through mid college, when I stopped using disposable cameras and everything went digital.  Throw in a collection from Logan to make things extra complicated and my task grew.  So I started organizing.  I am a chronological girl when it comes to photos.  I started creating piles for each age range as best as I could tell.  Unfortunately, I have a hard concept when it comes to ages of children, even when the child is me.  A kid could be 4 or 12 for all I know.  Just creating these piles, not even touching a book took me about 3 evenings.

Next I started organizing my digital catalog.  iPhoto is one of the many reasons why I LOVE my MacBook.  It is so easy to organize your photos.  First I lumped all my photos into albums by year.

Then I divided out all of the photos into events within that year.

Then I created a few folders of 'collections' since Logan and I are creatures of habits and enjoy the same events year after year.

Again, I have not even touched a photo album yet and am now a week into the project!  After all the photos were organized it was time to get started.  I went with the physical photos first.  I created photo albums, while trying to keep as close to the chronological order as possible.  I devoted a few albums just to vacations.  I also created a book to keep all the photos, bibs and medals from the various races that Logan and I have participated in.  This process took roughly 2 more evenings.  (Each evening session lasted about 3 hours.)

Isn't it beautiful?
Now for the fun part.  Obviously, this would not have been put on my bucket list if it wasn't something I would enjoy doing.  I went onto one of my favorite websites, Shutterfly, and began to play.  It took about one full day of having Shutterfly on in the background while I created photo albums on their website for each year.  I wanted to create a photo-book for each year that I had digital photos of.  Once the images were uploaded I created a book, one year at a time.  Each year took me roughly 3 days to create, spending about 2 hours a day on it.  After all my books were created, I waited to see if there were any good deals to come through from Shutterfly.  (One of the reasons they are a favorite website is because they have awesome coupons.)  Take an additional 20% off all photo-books plus free shipping, SCORE!  Now comes the waiting...  waiting patiently for my bright orange package
to arrive.

I really do get like a kid in the candy store when these orange packages arrive at my door.  Finally, this project is complete.  After weeks of working, I can finally cross this item off.  After a total of roughly 50 hours of organizing over a period of about 2 months, I have 33 albums capturing all the important moments of my life to date. 

Of those 33 albums, I have 10 photo-books that I created using Shutterfly.  Something that I decided to do in each of the photo-books was a 'Top 10 Moments' list for the year.  It was really fun to reflect back on what all we enjoyed doing that year.   This might not have been an adventurous item to cross off, but it sure was the most rewarding.  I feel a big sense of accomplishment.  Now, let's see if I can keep up with my books in the future, so I am only making one book each year, instead of 33!  

This is my favorite book:
It is a collection of photos of our sweet puppy, Mallory.

This is it.  After all my hard work, my life can fit into two
shelves on the bottom of my bookcase.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Not So Easy Rider

Well, I might have been a 'Girl on a Motorcycle' but I was not 'Born to Ride.'  Today my dad helped me check off another bucket list item in a not so graceful way.  Before today I had a very Hollywood image of what my motorcycle experience would be.  Dad would show me really quick the basics of how to operate the bike, I would take it around the block a few times until I got the hang of it then we would ride off into the sunset in James Dean fashion.  The reality was not nearly as glamorous.

I started my day the way any poser would do, dressing myself in the most 'bad ass chick' attire I could find.  I went with all black, boots and obviously a bandanna.  I would have polished off the look with a leather jacket, but let's face it, I live in Florida and that isn't really appropriate for our 80 degree weather.  If I am dressed the part, I'll catch on even quicker right?

Don't mess with me.

Well, it turned out that my riding skills were as bad as my wardrobe choice.  After taking me around the neighborhood and showing me how to control the clutch and throttle, we got to an open area far away from other cars, children, or anything else that I could possible run into.  We ran through all the steps several times and it seemed like I had the hang of it.  Time to hop on.  I put my left hand tightly around the clutch and was ready to slowly release while gently accelerating but instead I decided to let go of the clutch quickly, freak out and fall onto the curb.  Before today, the Harley had never been laid on its side.  I guess I wanted to change that.  

We went through all the steps again and I mustered up the courage to try it again.  This time I started off much better.  I transitioned into first gear very smoothly and got going without stalling out.  I made a few turns, no problem and was on my way back.  Good job Casey, next time maybe you will even be ready to switch into second gear.  You are really getting the hang of this, I said to myself.  That was until I got close to my dad where all I had to do was simply break.  Crap, how do you break?  Well I can tell you what not to do.  Do not squeeze the clutch and break at the same time followed by releasing the clutch quickly, freaking out and turning to your side until the bike is almost on top of you and is now doing donuts on its side.  Awesome job!  I have officially knocked off a headlight cover, scratched up the side of the body, created an oil leak and ruined the paint job on my dad's perfect condition Harley in less than an hour.  If there could be an award on who could do the most damage in the shortest period of time, I could have easily earned it.

So the day of fun came to an end... I was not going to get back in the driver seat even if I was given permission, and I think my dad was done watching me try to kill myself.  So I checked myself over, made sure I didn't have any physical wounds to go with my emotional ones.  I hopped on the back where I belong, and cruised around the neighborhood while I made uncomfortable jokes before we put the motorcycle back where it belongs... safely in the garage far away from me.  Lesson learned:  Stick to the vespa and mountain bikes and leave the hogs for the pros.  
A little taste of the damage I caused

I didn't take any photos on the bike, I thought a photo of it safely in the garage was more appropriate