So I'm finished my first week of "school," and things are going reasonably well. I'm finished my first book and started on my second, John Shelby Spong's book Why Chirstianity Must Change or Die. I've had this book for years, but it's mostly been on the shelves of one of my two elder children, so I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm not expecting any big revelations--I've read some of his other work, and this seems at first glance to be more of the same. And while he wrote the book for a lay audience, I already have theological training that takes me beyond that level. But I do hope that in reading the book, new questions will arise for me to tackle during my year.
As far as some of the other "requirements" are concerned:
1) I tried setting my home page to the Wikipedia random article, as suggested. It drove me nuts within the first two days, and I switched back to Google, where it will remain. I use Google half a dozen or more times per day, and having it as one of my multitude of bookmarks instead of my home page was, to put it simply, a pain in the a$$. And far too many of the random articles that came up were one or two line "stubs" with no real substance to them.
Instead, I have Stumble, which I use for about ten minutes at a time whenever I go on the web, which is at least twice a day. While a lot of what comes up is just cute kittens, I've also read a lot of good articles that I wouldn't otherwise have read. And about half the time, I end up at least once on a random Wikipedia page. So if the point is to read things you wouldn't necessarily read, and broaden your horizons, I consider stumbling to be an acceptable substitute.
2) I can't afford a gym or health club, or a trip abroad for that matter. So, since the good weather is finally here (touch wood!), I'm going to be walking three or more times per week. Did twice this week--not so great. But I did spend Monday night doing some fairly hard physical labour helping a friend clean a really, really dirty house. So I'll call that done, and do more walking next week.
Eventually, I hope to have some kind of home gym to do weights and maybe something like yoga, but this is a start.
3) Posted more than twice on my blog, though I didn't manage yesterday. Today is the post you should have gotten yesterday. Have some exciting plans for the future of this and my other blogs, but they're only in the embryo stage at the moment.
4) I have to check out The Economist at the library. If the content is too American, I'll be looking for a Canadian equivalent. But I will be looking to subscribe to some weekly journal or other in the near future.
Now on to the choices.
Languages: I have to choose a language to learn. I'm going to choose either Spanish or French, depending on whether or not I can find some conversation partners for either language. More on this later.
Three new skills:
My list of possibilities so far includes:
A martial art
Aluminum can crafts
Drawing realistically, specifically the human figure
Web Page Design
Social Networking (using Twitter/Facebook, etc.)
Making homemade organic cat food
That's a pretty eclectic list, I know. But all of the above skills have some things in common:
a) I either have never done them before, or I have but never did them well and have forgotten how because it's been so long
b) Most of them require either materials I have on hand or can lay my hands on cheaply, and instruction available locally that isn't horribly expensive. The better options (and the ones I'm most likely to select) are free or nearly free. Some of them (bow hunting, skydiving) are expensive, but have appealed to my sense of whimsy for so long that eventually I'm going to give them a try.
c) I can believe that the options above are or will be by the end of the year within my physical and mental capabilities.
There are some ommissions to the list that others might think would be definite inclusions. I don't have learning to play a musical instrument on there. That's because I'd like to develop my viola and piano skills to a higher degree, and as soon as I'm employed, I'll be taking singing lessons again, too. That's enough of that area for now. So no instruments, and if you are tempted to suggest opera singing, well, what do you think I was doing in my lessons when I had to quit? :D
So my question to you all is: Do you have any suggestions for skills I might learn during the next year? Cheap is obviously preferred, easy not necessarily so.