Teeth Whitening

Number 98 on my 101 things to do in 1001 days  is to whiten my teeth.

My teeth need to be brighter than my hair.

Charlie and my dental hygienist think I have nice white teeth. I think they could be a little whiter.

Floss for travel and floss for home.

On a daily basis I floss, rinse with Crest 3-D White Lux mouthwash, and brush with an electric toothbrush and Crest 3-D White toothpaste.

Lumibrite seems to be a favorite on the internet.

I have tried 2 different whitening systems that use gel in a custom mouthguard.  One was from the dentist: Lumibrite. The other was generally available through mail order: ContrastPM. I’m opting for Lumibrite.

This should be at least 2 weeks of whitener which is sufficient for a good job.

Now Lumibrite is available from Amazon at a good price of 4 syringes for $13.38 so I have ordered some to use with my Invisalign retainer.  (When I bought it from the dentist it was $25 per syringe.)

Hoping for these results.

I hope to have gleaming white teeth for our travels near and far.

I haven’t been paid or perked for anything said in this post.

Do you have a good dental plan?


Kiss Me — I’m Irish?

The second item on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days is to confirm my ancestry through DNA testing. I read all the pros and cons not just for which kit to select but also the risks of DNA testing in general. I decided to go ahead.

Three generations — I’m the short one.

I predicted before getting the results of the test that I would be found to be Irish.

I’m the little girl on the right.

So with names like McMenamen, Callary, Donnelly, O’Connor, etc. in my family tree I felt Irish.  As a child especially I looked Irish.

I’m less than 4% British which surprised me.

The results of my DNA test are that I’m 57% Irish, 20% western European (probably French and German/Austrian).

I was surprised to find I’m Finnish.

My next genealogy step is to research some of the hints and connections my DNA suggests. And I can check Number 2 off my 101 in 1001 list.

Are you interested in your genealogy?

Personal Mission Statement

Number 3 on my 101 task to accomplish in 1001 days is to write a personal mission statement. Writing a mission statement is a process not a one-time task.

Change is inevitable.

I have started with the following information.

Steps for Developing a Personal Mission Statement

Step 1: Identify Past Successes.
I spent some time identifying four or five examples of my personal success in recent years. These successes could be at work, in my community, at home, etc. I wrote them down and tried to identify whether there is a common theme (or themes) to these examples.

Our house has changed a great deal over the past 20 years.
  1. Success at work leading the household and managing the money
  2. Success at church being perceived as a believer and music leader
  3. Success at home transforming the house into a welcoming and practical but beautiful place to live
  4. Successfully transforming finances into a retirement nest egg
  5. Success at traveling to learn more about the world

Themes: past successes all relate to leadership, steadfastness, and creativity.

Step 2: Identify Core Values.
I developed a list of attributes that I believe identify who I am and what my priorities are. The list can be as long as needed.

  1. Spiritual
  2. Creative
  3. Decision-maker
  4. Intelligent
  5. Practical
I want my life to express my values.

Most important overall core value: Spirituality

Once the list was complete, I narrowed my 8 or 10 values down to around five of the most important ones (listed above). Then I chose the one value that is most important to me.

My next assignment is to:

Step 3: Identify Contributions.
Make a list of the ways I could make a difference. In an ideal situation, how could I contribute best to:

  1. the world in general |
  2. my family |
  3. my employer or future employers |
  4. my friends |
  5. my community

Step 4: Identify Goals.
Spend some time thinking about my priorities in life and the goals I have for myself.

Travel is high on my list.

Make a list of my personal goals, perhaps in the short-term (up to three years) and the long-term (beyond three years).

Step 5: Write Mission Statement.
Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of myself, begin writing my personal mission statement.

Examples of personal mission statements:

“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” (Denise Morrison)

“I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others.” (Joel Manby)

“To help others live the lives they would if they only knew how.” (Andy Andrews)

This is a tough and thoughtful task which takes, for me, great concentration and consideration.  I’m working on it.

What value is most important to you?

Our Digs in London — Finally

I have been putting off and putting off committing to accommodations in London.

We’re staying in Chelsea Mews — former stables.

I wasn’t sure whether Sug would meet us over there or not so I was researching both small and large apartments at the same time. Impossible.

Looks like our bedroom is up a flight of stairs.

Sug has decided, instead, to go on a mission to Central America so I limited my search to accommodations for two, Charlie and Jo.

We’ll be staying the area in the green circle.

I searched two different websites: AirBnB and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and finally settled for an AirBnB one bedroom flat in Chelsea, an area of London north of the river and west of London city center.

We’ll be in walking distance to Earl’s Court underground station.

Because we’re staying for 7 days in the same place we are getting a 10% discount. (While we were visiting Paris we moved once across the city on a Sunday which was a hassle.)

Google maps has a feature that shows an overlay of pubic transportation with a click of the mouse.

One important feature is proximity to the London Underground, especially the Piccadilly Line (dark blue line on the map) which goes directly to Heathrow Airport.

I’m going to try to get tickets to tour Buckingham Palace.

I’m excited to now have all our accommodations pinned down so I can begin to plan the sights and attractions.

Have you tried AirBnB or VRBO yet?


The second item on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days is to confirm my ancestry through DNA testing. I read all the pros and cons not just for which kit to select but also the risks of DNA testing in general. I decided to go ahead.

The Ancestry DNA kit comes in a 5 by 7 box.

After researching the various tests I decided to use Ancestry and pulled the trigger when the cost was the lowest I had seen it, $59.

The kit contains everything needed.

After ordering I received the kit in about a week.

DNA is checked via saliva in a tube.

First step is to activate the kit online which I did by entering the code on the collection tube. The directions were easy to follow. I chose not to participate at this time in the Human Diversity Project.

The vial is filled with saliva up to the line not including bubbles.

Second, after waiting at least a half hour after eating or drinking I spit into the provided tube.

The funnel is removed from the tube and replaced with a cap containing stabilizer.

Again following the directions was easy.

The stabilizer goes into the saliva as the cap is screwed onto the vial.

I shook the saliva and stabilizer mixture for five seconds before sealing it in a special bag from the kit.

The tube is sealed inside a special envelope before being put in the mailing box.

I mailed the tube back to Ancestry in the mailer enclosed with the kit.

A pre-paid return box comes in the kit.

I should have my results in 6 to 8 weeks.  I bet it tells me I’m Irish.

Are you interested in your genealogy?

101 in 1001 #4 — Spring, 2018

Here is my new list beginning May 10, 2017 (first list ended 11/13/2011, second list 8/11/2014, third list 5/9/2017) until February 5, 2020. I’m almost one year into it and have definitely made some progress.   Completed items are in blue, black is the color for original post. Pink is the color for concrete plans. 

  1. Get a dog. Complete! 3/31/2018  

    Cafe culture.
  2. Have ancestry confirmed through DNAKit ordered.
  3. Write a personal mission statement.
  4. Stain the interior wood doors.

    3 sets finished – 2 sets to go.
  5. Hang a door at the entrance to the laundry.

    This solid wood door with 4 lights might fit the opening in the laundry room perfectly.
  6. Take a trip to the UK. Planned for Fall, 2018.
  7. Get rid of 50 books.

    No matter how many books I get rid of I still seem to have more.
  8. Evaluate and upgrade home electronics: CD player, speaker, turntable, tape deck, DVD player, TV.
  9. Make the guest room ready for guests.

    The treetops room needs to have all clutter removed before it is ready for guests including my shoes piled in the corner.
  10. Revisit my will, trust, and POA.
  11. Visit National Wildlife Visitor Center
  12. Visit Cryptographic Museum
  13. Make a stone patio with firepit.
  14. Host a swap meet.

    We’ve had book swaps and soup swaps. Maybe we’ll try something new.
  15. Get rid of 101 items. I am forty items lighter.
  16. Hang photos in upstairs hall
  17. Take dance lessons
  18. Host a Casablanca party/movie night.

    Someday I’m going to have a Casablanca themed party.
  19. Host a dinner party for 8
  20. Organize trip to a Caribbean island – Cuba. Complete! 8/1/2017 
  21. Work on family recipe book
  22. Visit a waterfall Cunningham Falls, Thurmont MD Complete! 8/1/2017 

    Cunningham Falls in Maryland
  23. See the Southern Cross in person
  24. Go to the beach for a long weekend

    The last time we were at the beach (in California).
  25. Host a scavenger hunt.
  26. Make a month’s worth of meals one weekend. Planned for June, 2018.
  27. Make a home maintenance calendar.
  28. Set blogging goals.
  29. Work on wardrobe: buy what I need, get rid of what I don’t, make a list of everything.
  30. Sort out things in attic by attaching children’s names, give away, sell, etc.

    The attic is overdue for a major tidying.
  31. Learn to copyright (watermark) photos
  32. Complete legacy file
  33. Make a photo album of Mommie
  34. Paint some canvasses
  35. Chapel in the yard at The Glade

    There must be an appropriate spot for a small chapel in our yard.
  36. Ride on a Vespa
  37. Locate and catalog local thrift stores
  38. Develop a cleaning schedule
  39. Write a novel based on work
  40. Increase net worth by 25% Currently up 6%
  41. Visit Statue of Liberty.  Complete! 10/27/2017 

    How beautiful is Lady Liberty!
  42. Paint landscapes/seascapes on canvas/wood
  43. Take a cruise. Leave from the Port of Baltimore.
  44. Memorize a poem.
  45. Make a household inventory with photos
  46. Finish laundry room
  47. Give heirlooms to children – hope chest, china, desk/chair, Christmas china, sleds – 1 for each

    3 sleds
  48. Finish painting trim in pink bedroom
  49. Make a master menu for 14 days of meals
  50. Wash all the windows in the house

    We have a lot of windows.
  51. Paint dining room table – finish sanding, prime and paint
  52. Use my God box.
  53. Build bench for mudroom.
  54. Build shelves in master bedroom.

    We must finish the bedroom shelves.
  55. Landscape the front yard

    The foundation planting is taking shape.
  56. Read 2 biographies
  57. Read 2 classics
  58. Design Etsy boutique packaging
  59. Fund my Revocable Trust
  60. Achieve my personal weight goal
  61. Get rid of 5 big items from the house:  Complete! 10/30/2017
    This dinosaur is history.

    Lawn mower 


    Lawn mower


    High chair


    Yard cart



    Cedar chest, Skittle game, Rocking horse, Chandelier, Easel,  Dollhouse, Saddle/horse gear

  62. Design and print business cards
  63. Celebrate our 10th anniversary. 9/12/2019
  64. Organize papers, bills, and contracts from renovation
  65. Trip to Venice/Serbia/Greece.
  66. Attend 5 concerts — Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto No. 1, SaintSaëns Organ Symphony, Glenmar Dance Music, 50th Anniversary Organ Concert, BSO Gala 2017 Complete! 9/9/2017 
  67. Visit Smith Island, Maryland Planned for the end of July, 2018 
  68. Start a new blog: “Let’s Fake the Music”
  69. Lead a Bible study at home
  70. Plan my funeral
  71. Hang exterior shutters Complete! 9/23/2017 

    The before and after of the shutter installation.
  72. Build a structure for trash cans and recycle bins
  73. Upgrade deck off master bedroom with new surface and railings

    The master deck.
  74. Make curtains for master bedroom
  75. Install all trim
  76. Paint all trim
  77. Finish painting exterior details (oil tank, vents, etc.)

    The tank is painted.
  78. Clean out car
  79. Clean up all paint cans
  80. Clear out the basement
  81. Remove 10 boxes from the attic
  82. Set up a better home office

    Perhaps we can set up the office area in the pink bedroom better.
  83. Refinish sleigh bed Complete! 9/23/2017 

    A recent project was refinishing the bedframe of the sleigh bed.
  84. Build frame for full length mirror

    This mirror needs a frame.
  85. Renovate pink bathroom

    We’re making progress.
  86. Renovate powder room

    Let’s update the bibliotheque.
  87. Paint all interior doors grey

    First floor doors finished; 3 doors on second floor still need painting.
  88. Have 5 parties. Complete! 3/17/2018
  89. Coffee table for conservatory
  90. Paint secretary

    I think painting will improve this secretary.
  91. Finish living room curtains 
  92. Dye hall rug

    This rug is a little bland.
  93. Fix hall water wall Complete! 3/28/2018
  94. Paint green vanity

    The dressing table in the master bathroom might not want to be green anymore.
  95. Refinish tall dresser
  96. Finish cushions in dining room
  97. Clear out mud room closet

    The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.
  98. Whiten my teeth
  99. Plant sunflowers Complete! 7/14/2017 

    A wall of sunflowers attracts bees and gold finches.
  100. Fast for 24 hours
  101. Private

Furniture: Keep or Toss

I have been lax about my plan to get rid of 101 things. (#15)

My grandmother’s secretary: I’m not sure if I should paint it or pitch it.

For months I’ve been stuck at forty items.

Authentic mid-century tall dresser which had a mate that was sold. My son’s grandmother would be happy if he could use it.

I have some furniture that I really do not need but have kept for sentimental reasons.

Charlie’s mother’s cedar chest which should go to her granddaughter.

Some came from my family and some from Charlie’s.

A little demilune chest (next to the bed) belonged to Charlie’s grandmother. It fits almost anywhere.

In the next few weeks I am planning to make a decision on these pieces and either plan to keep them or give them away or sell them.

Perhaps Charlie will be willing to give up this vintage dresser owned by his grandparents. Our new closet might take its place.

Hoping someone else can use this furniture that has served multiple generations so well.

What would you “never part” with?