things & stuff, no. 1


the things i seriously need to do:

  • sew pockets into all my clothes
  • figure out how to sew
  • make those outfits I dream up
  • start listening to French music
  • procure a sufficient quantity of journals and put them in the right places
  • carry pen and paper at all times
  • write everyday
  • breathe


the journals i feel the need to keep:

  • journal for bringing to school, day trips, travels
  • slips of paper or index cards to keep in the back pocket at all times (see “sew pockets into all my clothes”)
  • free-writing notebook to keep in regular writing space for daily writing sessions (see “write everyday”)
  • dream journal to keep by bed for the ideas that come to me before, during, or after sleeping
  • project journal for long writing projects
  • electronic journal for when i feel like typing
  • sketchbook where i actually draw
  • photo journal for scenes that look nice
  • blog, whatever this thing is for


the features and sections i want to have on this blog now:

  • Pieces: pieces others write that I want to share and that show pieces of life and what I’m thinking about
  • Sewing + Crafts: make stuff and post about it
  • Writing Journal: thoughts from a writing journal, updates on writing progress, maybe posts like Sophie’s Poetry Thief posts
  • Adventures of a Pearl: creative challenges and progress updates towards goals
  • things & stuff: lists of things & stuff from life each week



Dream List 2017

It’s 2017 and I still have a gazillion ambitions, a gazillion goals, a gazillion ideas. And the bucket list has lost its appeal for me. (And then the bucket list regained its appeal for me.) The idea of checking things off to live my dream life makes me uncomfortable–then I will never be good enough. I check enough things off my daily to-do lists, and the satisfaction comes with having finished the tasks. Rather than focusing on progress on a fixed set of goals, I want to focus on the process and practice of life.

I like Disney’s bucket list. She posted it at a time when I was thinking about the same thing, maybe worded differently.

Every year, I have made some progress towards but ultimately failed my goals and ambitions. As Mariëlle points out, I have ridiculously high standards. I like to emphasize the importance of high standards and am very competitive with myself, but I agree with Mariëlle. I think it’s good to work hard and aim high, but not in a way that is counter-productive or unhealthy.

So I have been thinking about my life, as I have been doing since ever. I’m almost halfway through my last year of high school, and too soon I’m going to have to live and be an adult in a big and scary world. The cliché life is too short is hitting me. So much time these days is focused on the future–on applying for colleges, on reflecting on my aspirations in the college application process, on searching for scholarships, on studying for the next test, on planning for a future club activity–and I am perpetually tunneling forward, striving for the next step. I have experienced great moments of fun too, when I wasn’t thinking or worrying about the far-off, when my mind was engaged in the current moment of existence. I want to immerse in more moments in this way, and I want to breathe in fresh air as I move through time.

I want 2017 to be a year of the quotidian (the beautiful quotidian–the sacred is found in the quotidian) and adventure and challenge and fun and learning and exploration and kindness and creativity and presence and nourishment and sustenance and balance.

I am deciding on one goal (or two goals if you separate them):to breathe God’s goodness in every day, to believe through action. In other words, to enjoy the time and space to experience joy, and to share that with others. Its similar to Disney’s #1 item–to bring glory to God–with a wording that works for me. To remember to breathe in and out, every day, to remember the important things in life, to gradually put more of what I want to be into practice. I will have more program and scholarship applications, schoolwork, activities, and projects to work on, and I have smaller, concrete self-improvement steps to take, but this is basically what there is to do. And it’s a process and a practice which I will never check off–and that is refreshing and relaxing.

But I still have a gazillion ideas, and I’m going to put them into a dream list. Maybe 2017 will be the year of epicness, but it will be okay if I don’t accomplish most of it (as is more likely). And maybe I’ll post or not post about the things I actually or don’t actually do.


  • 50 books in 2017
    • novels, anthologies, poetry books, plays, etc

Write (stuff I’m proud of) in 2017:

  • 10 minute play
  • a longer play
  • two essays
  • a short story
  • a bunch of poetry
  • a novel (actually finish?)

Sewing & Crafts:

  • creative practice posters
  • finish making slopers for bodice, pants, skirt, sleeve
  • a cute casual dress
  • postcards and cards (postcards are super cool and they don’t even need envelopes! yay!)
    • with scrap paper glued together in a cool way
    • geometric-inspired
    • with watercolor
    • with acrylic
    • paper cutout (need to get or borrow exacto knife for this)
    • unconventional materials
  • shorts
  • serious black dress
  • statement black dress
  • decorate graduation cap
  • white lace dress
  • decide whether I should get an Instagram, with which I would curate a collection of photos

Be like Stargirl

  • learn to play the ukelele (probably not this year)
  • make myself a sunflower bag
  • start a conversation with a stranger
  • write a letter to a stranger
  • figure out how to cook and bake so I can make cookies for neighbors
  • learn how to give a genuine compliment (and practice)

Other skills and endeavors

  • computer science
    • finish CS50X (and therefore learn some C, Python, JavaScript, SQL, CSS, HTML)
    • figure out how I can use programming to do cool stuff
    • learn C++, Java
  • figure out how to cook
  • do the splits
  • single pirouette without falling over
  • double pirouette
  • developpe above 90 degrees
  • become strong enough to do all the combinations in ballet class that we’re supposed to do on demi-pointe on demi-pointe without falling over
  • read a French book–finish that book that I’ve been on chapter 1 of for at least a year
  • get a job

Travel (travel, not be a tourist)

  • Explore my neighborhood again
  • Drive to some pseudorandom elementary school/middle school/neighborhood in my town and explore the area
  • At least one of those ponds that I hadn’t heard of (until an enviro classmate collected a water sample from there) but apparently exists in my town
  • Visit those local museums that I feel like I should have visited already
  • The libraries I haven’t been in yet
  • Local parks I have not yet explored

Pieces, No. 5

On the Political Value of Fashion by Hoda Katebi

There is no such thing as a person who isn’t political. Our decisions are political.

I feel miserable. How do I fix it? by Mariëlle Coppes


How to give a compliment that people will remember for years by Mariëlle Coppes

I used to hate receiving or giving compliments because they all seemed so fake. But compliments aren’t fake if they are thoughtful and genuine.

Want to Know How to Build a Progressive Movement Under Trump? Look to Standing Rock by Audrea Lim