My seventh annual December To Do List! What a time to be alive!
If ONLY you had clicked on anything else, you might have found yourself with a few productive minutes. Instead of ogling puppies or Baby Yodas, all you get are a few ill-placed words. As long as your eyes are glued to the screen anyway, go right ahead and scan down to greet this legendary listicle.
As I will spend about half of December in Washington State and half in DC, what will I do?
I dominated my most recent December To Do List! Snooze.
Results, outcomes and the correlative aftermath of same are about to be apportioned, so cut out the tedious part (aka reading it) by aborting your web session now and hitting the sack. You’ll need the rest. We may soon have a Wall to tear down after all.
Also, it’s 2018. WTH is going on?!
Goal for December 2017: Do all 11 items on my tremendous, very stable To Do List.
Wow, another year in the books. 2017 is almost toast, but we still have a fair bit of work to do.
For the fifth year in a row, I present my December To Do List. And like all the many years before it, it’s an amazing, transcendent ride that will have you weeping for joy, and high-fiving people you don’t even know!
Okay, as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker likes to say, “None of those words are true.”
But that shouldn’t stop you from closing this post now and heading out to high-five someone! Or just give them a hug. They may need it.
These lists have a certain sameness to them, because December also represents the season I return to Washington State for the holidays. And there are certain things I like to do when I head back to my home state. I’ll spend about half of December in DC and the other half in WA. (Editor’s note: At press time, I’m already there!)
December 2017 To Do List
Write a concert review – I’ve been doing it all year, might as well do one in December too.
Attend two Seattle Seahawks games – The games are do or die, luckily for us fans, just the way Russel Wilson likes it.
Sleep in a cabin – Have a few spirits, watch bad movies, tussle in the snow. Escape.
Witness Star Wars: The Last Jedi – (Hint: I did this already! Making this list easier for myself!)
Check out four new (to me) breweries – I did three last year so let’s make it harder this December! Sigh.
Eat a Dick’s Drive-In Deluxe burger – I said I’m putting this on my list every year, did you not believe me?
Do some outdoorsy things – Hike? Ski? Just get outside.
Write – This blog has seen little activity in recent months, so I’ve hired a few gifted spam bots to craft incredible click bait content and relentlessly post until you cry mercy!
See family – That’s why I come home for the holidays, so might as well do it!
Go somewhere I haven’t been to in a while – Vague and unspecific. Just the way I like it, makes it easier to win this list.
Wild Card – Something that might have made this list, if I was smart enough to think of it ahead of time.
As part of the preparation for the upcoming 50K One Day Hike (April 29th), I’ve been doing a few mini-training sessions in the evening. There just aren’t enough weekends anymore.
The plan: Walk 5 miles most brisk-like. My briskness indicator varies due to the route I take, stupid traffic, and lights and all that, and a few nagging injuries to my left leg. But I try to walk fast. Even so, the pace is slower than what I did in last year’s ODH (14:48 minutes per mile) but for that I did run a little over the course of the full 31.1 miles.
With barely any time left, I do need to get in some longer hikes! 50K won’t walk itself. This is why we train.
I’ve found these walks are an excellent time to ruminant on the cosmic mysteries of the universe and whatnot. And listen to music. So I’ve been pumping up the jams as I trot about the city, hopefully not startling anyone that might mistake me for a wild-eyed, crazy speedwalker.
Distance: 5 miles
Walk #1 Time: 1:23:09 Route: Capitol Hill/Navy Yard Albums listened to:
Broods – Conscious
Catfish & the Bottlemen – The Ride
Walk #2 Time: 1:24:37 Route: Capitol Hill/The Mall Albums listened to:
Kaiser Chiefs – Stay Together
Empire of the Sun – Two Vines
Walk #3 Time: 1:19:26 Route: Capitol Hill Outfit: Stylish white Tee, gray shorts Albums listened to:
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Phantogram – Three
Walk #4 Time: 1:25:47 Route: Shaw/Parkview Albums listened to:
Weezer – (The White Album)
The xx – I See You
Walk #5 Time: 1:19:00 Route: NE/NW Attitude: Sunburned Albums listened to:
Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
Bastille – Wild World
Walk #6 Time: 1:23:40 Route: Capitol Hill/Navy Yard Albums listened to:
Pearl Jam – Ten
Pearl Jam – Vs.
Walk #7 Time: 1:18:36 Route: NE Epiphany: This is world record!! right? Albums listened to:
Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
Pearl Jam – No Code
Walk #8 is in the future, therefore difficult to describe.
…read six books I own that I haven’t read. I have so many…
…hit up another Seattle Seahawks road game. Nashville? New York? San Francisco?
…do an adventure trip. Whitewater rafting? Island hopping? Trekking? Who’s in?
…start one new venture.
…organize, clean and get rid of stuff. On an epic scale.
…complete three home improvements.
…tear down walls.
…steal your dog to play with. Forget to give it back.
Let’s look at how I fared from my 2016 list:
Success rate: 7.5/10
…visit two new baseball stadiums. Only four left! Result: Complete! I went to Denver for the Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) and Phoenix for the Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field).
…read 33 books (one more than last year); watch 101 movies (one more than last year). Result: Got there just under the wire! Read 33 books and watched 111 movies.
…visit two new countries (one more than last year). Result: Success! I went to both Honduras and India for the first time.
…run in at least four races (one more than last year). Result: Fail! I only ran one race, the Semper Fi 5K. I tried to run the Army Ten-Miler but had to travel for work. I did the One Day Hike (50K) for the fifth time, but that’s not running.
…find a reason to do something even crazier than the last time. Result: Last crazy time was whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, so for this crazy time…let’s see…how about 4 nights/5 days backpacking in Colorado? A total of 43 miles with a 39-pound backpack while being stalked by a bear!
…hike over 250 total miles. (Last year I hiked 185) Result: I crushed it and hiked 358 miles! Easy.
…take no prisoners and give no shits. Result: Hard to quantify this, but I tend to give a shit, so 1/2 right only!
…pick a few musicians and go deep into their music catalog. Result: Nope! Did not do this.
…binge watch three new TV shows. Result: Indeed. In fact, I quadrupled my output and binged 12 new TV shows. See which ones here.
…play with two puppies. Result: This is a given. One of them was my niece’s new wiener dog, Jedi. He wants to come back to DC with me, I know it.
I crushed my December To Do List! I did 12 out of 11 things! Wait, what?
It’s 2017, so I’m bending the rules, along with hearts and minds.
Hop on board, this new year is about to get interesting! Let’s leave all the ugliness behind us.
Goal for December 2016: Do all 11 items on my painstakingly (for you) curated To Do List.
Result: Success! 12/11
December 2016 To Do List
Sip at three new (to me) breweries – Always looking to have a brew or three, see. Of course! Beer is good! I went to Odd Otter Brewing Co. (Tacoma), Populuxe Brewing and Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. (Seattle).
Take a road trip – But where to? Buckle up. Did a few short trips around Washington State; to Mt. Rainer, Seattle and Arlington/Marysville.
Attend a Seattle Seahawks game – Boom! December 24th vs. the Cardinals. And…they lost a wild and crazy game.
Experience two Oscar buzz movies in theaters – Someone has to do it. Well, I kind of did it. I saw Arrival and tried to see La La Land (but it was sold out). I saw Rogue One, which should get 3-4 noms for music and special effects. So there, I’m claiming it!
Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – As always. Burp.
Eat or drink at four new (to me) places, like coffee shops, bars or restaurants – Keeping up on my goal from Oct/Nov on trying new things. Did it! No sweat.
Get some snow on me – What is winter without wonderful white snow? I threw a few iceballs and did a five mile snowshoeing trek in Mt. Rainer National Park.
Hike! 20 miles at least! – Walk it off. I already achieved and more the hiking goal I made this year (read: hike 250 total miles), this is gravy. Done! And done!
Get rid of some stuff – I have clothes to donate, and some other things that need to go. Unclutter. Tidy. I organized a bunch of things to get rid of. I only managed to donate a few things to the 9:30 Club’s holiday charity. Plus I chucked some stuff still at my parents house.
Watch the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff Game (Peach Bowl) – I won’t go to the actual game in Atlanta, but I’ll be watching. Oh yes. Go Dawgs! I watched it at The Loose Wheel in Puyallup (which was surprisingly packed out with UW fans). Did not like the result, no I did not.
Wild Card – Something that in hindsight, should have been on this list! I went to visit the Tahoma National Cemetery near Kent and Covington, where 3 of my grandparents are buried in honor of military service. Jack Parker (1921-2006), Walter Bailey (1919-2016) and Verla Bailey (1927-2013).
Bonus Wild Card – I attended my sister’s wedding at The Rustin Chapel in Tacoma!
2016 will be more than 2015. In the sense that I will invent even bolder predictions and fail even bigger. That’s the theory.
I didn’t do well on the 2015 bold predictions front, but that can be forgiven because no one is holding me accountable! (Right?)
Yet, I still did a lot. I went to eight different countries, but only one new one. I waded along beaches, rafted along crocodile infested rapids, climbed the head of a lion, those types of things.
I didn’t run all that much, but I hiked a fair bit. I played a lot of sports, from volleyball to softball to soccer to flag football. I watched a lot of sports as well, mostly football (Seahawks and Huskies) and some baseball. I went to a ton of music concerts…and reviewed a few.
What does 2016 have in store?
The theme is ‘More than 2015 or bust‘.
In 2016, I predict I will…
…visit two new baseball stadiums. Only four left!
…read 33 books (one more than last year); watch 101 movies (one more than last year).
…visit two new countries (one more than last year).
…run in at least four races (one more than last year).
…find a reason to do something even crazier than the last time.
…hike over 250 total miles. (Last year I hiked 185)
…take no prisoners and give no shits.
…pick a few musicians and go deep into their music catalog.
…binge watch three new TV shows.
…play with two puppies.
Let’s look at how I fared from my 2015 list:
Success rate: 6/10
…visit three new baseball stadiums. Surprised? Result: Nope, I only went to one this year. St. Louis.
…do something crazy. Climb a mountain crazy. Run a half-marathon crazy. Crazy like that. Result: I went white water rafting down the Zambezi River and waved to the crocodiles! Cray cray.
…read at least 35 books. I haven’t read that much the past few years. Doubling down. Results: Nope. I only got to 32! So close!
…read seven books I own that I haven’t read. I estimate I have over 30 unread books lying around! Results: Well now…no, I only managed to read five.
…run 300 miles. That’s 25 miles per month. That sucks. Results: Hahahaha! Wow, I failed this one miserably! I ran 86 miles. I’ll blame the fact that I didn’t run much the first few months because I had thrown out my back. But to be fair, I knew that fact when I made the prediction.
…get myself to at least one new country. I haven’t been to a new country since 2012. Result: Boom! United Arab Emirates!
…write more. Result: Yes and no. I wrote more for the blog Parklife DC, but wrote somewhat less for this blog. But overall, it was more!
…volunteer to be a commissioner of a sports league. (Hint: I already did this for volleyball…victory! 1-0 already!) Result: Done.
…win a championship with one of the sports teams I play on. Let’s do this! Result: Our sand volleyball team won a championship via forfeit. Lame, but another team I was on should have won it all also, but the league scheduled the final match on a day no one was available to play. I call victory.
My last goal was in December. Let’s peek at how I fared.
Goal for December: Do all 11 items on my freshly minted To Do List.
Total: 9 (out of 11)
December To Do List
Touch snow – I would say go skiing, but my back may not have recovered enough by then. Result: No. I could have driven an hour and stuffed frigid snow down someone’s back. But I didn’t. Instead, upon my return to DC, it snowed.
Attend two Seattle Seahawks games – One in Philadelphia and one in Seattle. Result: Boom, son! Done!
Grace Portland, OR or Vancouver, B.C. with my presence – They both need it! Result: Indeed. I hit up Portland for an evening of…stuff. I believe alcohol and karaoke reared their ugly heads. Don’t quote me.
Watch two Oscar buzz movies in the theater – With extra butter. Result: Yep. Wild and Unbroken.
Take a hike – I need to find out what bears do in the woods. Result: True. I did a quick 8-mile jaunt along the Foothills Trail in Orting.
Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – Eat it! Result: I ate it.
Try 10 new beers – AKA beers I’ve not had the pleasure or displeasure of drinking before. Result: This I did in abundance. I should get extra credit, because I had about 25 new beers…but who can remember?
Eat at Thai Tom (Seattle) – Or any Thai restaurant on this Seattle Times list. Result: No. I tried, but the line to get in was out the door. So I went to a different Thai restaurant a few blocks away.
Visit Two Beers Brewing Co. (Seattle) – Or any brewery I haven’t yet visited in Seattle. Result: Burp.
Visit one Espresso Vivace coffee shop (Seattle) – Or any coffee shop from this King 5 list around Washington state. Result: Sipped!
Wild Card – Add something awesome when I think of it. Result: I can add anything here, right? Well, I’ll put down the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, because it is crazy excess for coffee lovers.
If the ‘writing’ and posting to this blog does indeed have roots, I am not aware of them. Random doesn’t happen with forethought.
I can say, roots be damned, that I do, as the mood allows, like to string a few words together. Some call it writing. That’s a classification more sophisticated than what happens here. I prefer to call it cuneiform or scrawling.
Travel is a topic as good as any to scrawl about.
As a strange habit, I shoot poorly composed photos of paths leading off into the distance. It is either inspirational or tedious. You can find a sampling of this nonsense on The World page.
I posted a few new ones to the page and included them below.
In honor of my upcoming 50 kilometer One Day Hike along the C & O Canal Towpath, let’s enjoy a few quotes.
‘In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.’ – John Muir
‘Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.’ – Steven Wright
‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.’ – O.A. Battista
‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.’ – T.S. Eliot
‘Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose, Americans now get in a car. On average, the total walking of an American these days – that’s walking of all types: from car to office, from office to car, around the supermarket and shopping malls – adds up to 1.4 miles a week…That’s ridiculous.’ – Bill Bryson from A Walk In The Woods