Thursday, September 17, 2009


Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, shall we?

(side note: you may want to take a second and go grab yourself a snack.  Trips down memory lane are best enjoyed with something yummy. Yes, I’m serious.  I’ll wait. Yeah, it’s not a problem. No, no. I’m fine, I just had an apple and some dark chocolate PB- Thanks though.  Just grab something for yourself and meet me back here…..

Okay? All set? Great.  Here we go.)

Christmas morning 1996.
I’m sitting with my family opening PILES of gifts.
We go in rotation, of course.  Brother. Sister. Heather. Mother. Father. Repeat. 
One gift at a time. [I am quite certain that gifts have been opened in the manner just about every Christmas morning since 1992, when my younger brother was just a few days older than four months.

I was in eighth grade, and if I remember correctly, I received my first pair of Calvins and a grey CK logo TShirt. [Topped with a spritz of CKOne – I had NEVER been cooler!]

I’m sure I also received piles and piles of presents.  I don’t REALLY remember much else of what I got. [note to my parents and also, umm, Santa: this story is not to say that I a) don’t appreciate those presents, whatever they were,  or b) that I will forget ANY of the presents I receive this Christmas ;)  Ok. Just needed to clear that up]

Christmas 2009 plea aside, I do remember one specific unveiling of that year. Dethatching the bow from the package and heaving it at the tree, peeling off the paper that hid it.  My treasure awaited: a large lined journal, about the size of a school notebook, but thicker, with a deep evergreen canvas-like cover.

In all honesty, I probably was grateful for the gift at the time, excited to write in it, for sure, but I never could have thought that it would be something I would care so much about to remember 13 years later.

In eighth grade, the book became a place for what you might expect any eighth grade girl to write.  Poems so very far from any kind of valuable literary quality (including one on the quaintness of Lodi, WI).  Short essays about what mattered most (boys and the regular drama that was middle school girls).  Lyrics to whatever songs were declared “my songs” (most definitely featuring Matchbox 20 & Jewel). 

One day, most likely in an effort to clean my room as quickly as possible, the book got buried deep into the depths of my adolescence closet and I forgot all about.

The following year, now a freshman in high school, [with an eleventh grade varsity-wrestler boyfriend: I had NEVER been cooler!], I was on a mission.  It was the day before my Winter Band Concert, and I had previously told my mother, SEVERAL times that I knew EXACTLY where all parts of my required band uniform hung (in perfect crispness, do doubt) and she need not worry about a thing.  Operation: LOCATE TUX SHIRT was in full effect! 

My closet was filled to the brim, from the floor up (hey, what are these bars across the top for?) and I was deep into my search when I came across a large lined journal with a deep evergreen canvas-like cover. 

My initial thought: HOORAY! Where have you been!? How did you get here?! Of course I didn’t FORGET about you, I have been PINING to write in you again and searching DESPERATELY for you. (I have a knack for personification in my every day life)

The journal didn’t buy it though, and to prove my devotion I stopped the search right then and there and spent some time writing frivolously on the next few pages.  A short story about finding a lucky penny, my thoughts on stars being a force of magical romantic power, and more lyrics (Faith Hill? Seriously!?) 

Time went on.  I found my tux shirt. Lodi High School won Division Two Team State for Wrestling. I was assistant Stage Manager of Guys & Dolls that spring. I received my first piece of jewelry from a boy. My first real relationship ended after 11 months of dating. And the deep evergreen covered journal sat on my bookshelf.

Spring of 1999, in the second semester of my sophomore year [dating a hott (with two t’s) senior from a neighboring school.  I had NEVER been cooler!] I rediscovered the book, which had fallen behind my shelving unit and added entries in my now defined personal writing voice.  Short, fragmented sentences and an over use of commas aided by lists as often as possible, and often side noted comments in parenthesis.  (sound familiar?)

The first list I ever entered into the book was in early fall of 1999. I had just started my junior year [with a new found desire for singlehood and not wanting to “distract myself” with romance and relationship drama.  I had NEVER been cooler!]

(side note: yes, of course, I was having mad crushes on my closest guy friends- which while warranted (these are a few of the GREATEST guys in the world, honestly) in hind sight is hilarious to think about now and at the time clearly obvious to everyone around me, but I did not care. I was determined to fake a deep desire for independence.)

The list had no title and was written with a set of metallic Crayola brand colored pencils.  Up until now, the pages I had written on had been in order, front to back, without skipping any space.  But this list was different:  Inspired by an episode of my at-the-time favorite show, Jack & Jill, (did anybody else watch this?  I LOVED it- despite it only being on for two seasons, I stand by the belief that the show had SUCH great actors whom remain some of my favorite today – hello Amanda Peet and Justin Kirk! ) I opened to a random blank page and started scribbling a light, composition in short three-four sentence paragraphs defining what I wanted, specifically in a romantic relationship. 

Apparently, when I was 16, my hearts desire was someone who would take me to the toy store and wind up all the toys at once, and someone who wanted to ride roller coasters in the summer and teach me how to ice skate in the winter.

 and hold my hand and bring me flowers (though never roses.)   [okay- so I’m still a sucker for that last one.]

And suddenly, I couldn’t get enough.  Through the previous 3 years of picking up and putting down the deep evergreen book I had written a total of no more than 20 pages of material, and suddenly, I was a list making, page filling, machine.

Things I like.
Things I don’t like.
Memories from High School.
My most favorite songs ever.
Places I would like to vacation.

And pretty soon, I couldn’t help but share the love. I started sharing my book with my friends.  If you were to flip through what is called by many of my friends as the Elusive Green Book (Elusive – hard to express or define), you would easily find over two dozen people’s handwritings, most of which in list form. 

The EGB has been used for documenting memories from specific time periods, wish lists, what to pack lists, debating the merits of staying in current relationships, and most often – creating a list of the top ten most datable guys.  (freshmen year of college, many dorm-mates and friends added their own lists of top ten datable guys throughout the school year. Debates were had late into the night often) 

In the summertime, I would make lists describing my experiences working the beautiful Wisconsin Dells.  During the school year, I would procrastinate my writing an exegesis outline by outline the scenes from my life that should be put in the movie version of my life. An ongoing list of most favorite quotes of famous people is near a list of funny things my girlfriends have said.  The list of people I have kissed is no where near as long as the list of people that make me laugh out loud. (I think this is a good thing.)  And on the eve of each birthday since 19, I have made a list of “While I was ____”: Documenting ages 18-25 (so far) in list form.

The EGB is filled. Not a blank page left. And, several years ago, I purchased EGB volume 2; slightly brighter and lighter in color, yet the listing remains.  I admit it, and embrace it; I am a lister. [And I have never been cooler?]

Several weeks ago Angela and Caitlin posted their FITNESS BUCKET LISTS on their blogs.  I thought it was SUCH a great idea. (Clearly) 

As Angela points out on ohsheglows, inspired by the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, “A bucket list is essentially a list of all the things you want to accomplish before you, ahem, kick the bucket.”

I agree with Angela as well, that the best part of the fitness bucket list is that it can be say ANYTHIGN you want.  It is your list and you can make ANY crazy and “out there” fitness goal you have ever dreamed up.  I promised myself that when I made my list I would think outside the box and not being confined to where I am NOW in my fitness levels- but instead look to the future and know that I CAN do the things I’ve always wanted to try, experience and complete.  No holding back.  What do I want to do in my lifetime?

I started a rough draft in my mind while running the trail last week, and I decided to make it official last night.  So I got out EGB V2.0.

Heather’s Fitness Bucket List [with slight explanations]

-Become a Strong Swimmer [I don’t really know how to swim.  So much so that I fear the deep end a bit. I would like to be able to swim to safety if I’m ever, you know, stranded in water more than 5 feet deep.]

-Take a boxing/kickboxing class [powerful, much?]
-Climb a Rock Wall [the last time I tried to climb ANY kind of rock anything it was getting dark and I was unsuccessful. I want to conquer this]

-Play on a team in an organized league [I don’t care which sport. I miss this a lot. Basketball. Soccer. Ultimate Frisbee. It matters not to me.]

-Run a race in each of the 50 states. [I think this is my favorite life goal I’ve ever made. Ever.]
-Complete the Disney Marathon [am hoping that a Disney marathon will be my first marathon – mom already promised to come cheer me on if I’m at Disney :) ]

-Coach. [Someone. Something. Somewhere.]
-Jump off a Diving Board [deep end? Eek.]
-Run the Boston Marathon COURSE [I don’t plan on ever running the Boston Marathon – but I would LOVE to do the course on my own or with friends.]

-Take a Body Pump class weekly, for at least one season [my best friend has taught me of the wonders of body pump.  She even taught me some moves and encouraged my buying my “body pump bar.” ]

-Make 10 3-pointers in a row [shooting baskets is therapeutic for me. The most I’ve ever made in a row is 4]
-Complete the round trip on my favorite local trail in sub 3 Hours [its 14 miles long]
-Do ten monkey bar Pull Ups in a row [I don’t remember the last time I tried to do a pull up- but I am certain it was unsuccessful]

-Run a few miles the morning of my wedding [there is a blogger who ran a RACE the morning of her wedding. How awesome would THAT be?]

-Participate in a fun run while pushing a stroller [ :) ]

My list is FULL.  And although some things are a little wacky, I am stoked about it all.  Every last one of them. [may go find monkey-bars tonight to verify my skill, or lack there of, of the pull up.]


  1. I still have my list book... thank you again!!!!
    Did syse make it on that list?

  2. Awesome, awesome thing to do. I'm going to do this!


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