Life List


1

Faith and I met when Thomas was 1.  We last saw each other not long after he turned 2.  He turns 10 in less than a month.  So to say it had been awhile is an understatement.

I’m not sure what happened to cause us to drift.  We weren’t extremely close to begin with.  We hadn’t known each other long enough to reach extremely close.  She is a wonderful person and we got along well, the time just hadn’t been put into it.

She lived not too far out, but not down the street.  We both had kids.  My mental health was going down the tubes.  I feel like there was something more as well, but I don’t recall.  It wasn’t a big blow-out fight or anything dramatic between us.  Life just prevented us from hanging out and so we kind of drifted.

But we did keep in touch over various social media.  So I knew the major events of her life, and she knew mine, even if the fine details weren’t being discussed.

When Lisa moved and I questioned how I was going to find myself in a kayak again, Faith spoke up with there being local places that kayaks could be rented, she just didn’t know where and she didn’t have the guts to do it.

At least not alone.

Faced with all of my social life leaving the state, and hearing an offer of an old acquaintance wanting to give things a go, I didn’t miss the opportunity.

I sought Lisa’s advice on where to go, I planned well in advance with Faith when we could do this.

And yesterday I found myself in 1 of 2 rented kayaks, Faith in the other, and off we went on adventure.  An adventure we’ll never forget.  The trip we bought, which is self guided with instruction on where to get in and what to look for to get out, was promised to be 1-2 hours.  We took 3, with an hour of it sitting in our boats, anchored to the side of the river, just catching up on 8 years of history away from one another.  It was like we were never apart.  It was easy.  For all my social anxiety and awkwardness, it was so easy.

We got stuck, we found ourselves going through fast water spots backwards with little control of our boats.  We laughed.  We cried out in half terror, half amusement.  I found myself sitting in the middle of a river when we were too stuck to move without someone getting out.  I pulled her through it, working hard to not lose my boat in the process, and at one point just sat in the water up to my waist, to catch my breath.  I’ll tell you though, my hip was sore from sitting so cramped for so long, and that water was instant relief.

We came out soaked head to toe and thrilled with the experience.  We were a sight.  We elicited laughs from fellow boatmen, who were better at it than we.  But we made it to the end, proud, soar, and not the ones lamenting the loss of keys and socks to the river.

And we came out knowing that while we can’t get together weekly, she lives an hour or so away, gas isn’t cheap and time isn’t limitless, we will make at least once a month happen.  She works closer to me than she lives, so we’ll do the occasional dinner.  Her son is a couple of years older than Thomas, we’ll get the kids together somewhere roughly half way between our homes.  She and I will kayak or canoe again at the end of the season.

I’m not without hope.

I have Faith.

0

I think life is about doing the things that scare you until they no longer scare you.  When was the last time you did something that scared you?  Did you do it again and again until fear was the last thing you could imagine feeling?

This year has been about crossing things off my to-do list for life.

I’m back in class.  I mean really back.  I’ve taken out loans.  If I stop going, that is all the sooner I have to pay that money back, with no degree to advance my career, to make is possible.

I sat down and wrote out a financial plan.  Some are just goals, like what year I hope to be off all government assistance by.  Some is actually dated such as going in and refinancing our car the first day of my vacation in July.  It’s almost ridiculous that taking control and making a plan could be scarier than floundering in the pools of broke, oh so broke.

This July I’m taking a 9-line zip line tour.  I can only imagine that my current “OMG WEEE!” will have the addition of “I’m going to DIE” once I’ve climbed up high, am strapped in, and it’s time to fly.

I’m boarding a plane in November to meet face-to-face a friend I’ve only ever known online.

While there I’m catching up with another friend I met in real life, who, depending on if she gets the job or not, might be able to help me rappel down the side of a skyscraper.

This year, I’m living.  And living can be some of the scariest shit there is.

So I have to ask, when was the last time you did something that scared you?  Will you comment and tell me about it?

3

I have been married for 10 years as of today.  That is more than 1/3rd of my life.  No joke.  I’m 30-years-old at the end of this year, but not yet.  So my math holds tight.

Way back, before Luke was born, when Pat and I were separated and he had just moved out with our son, my mom told me she didn’t think we’d last.  Pat was a nice guy but…

Thank you, mother, for driving me back to my husband with a determination to make things work, better than anything else could have.

Even now, 6-7 years later, when we go through rocky periods, I reflect back on that moment with my mom, and really all the odds out there, which are not in our favor, and my sheer bullheadedness kicks in and I’ll be damned if I’m going to fall to a statistic.  I enjoy beating odds.

And yes, we have rocky periods.  Sometimes they last days or hours, other times they last months.  I think that’s normal.

Marriage is work whether it’s in year one or year fifty.  Marriage is a lot of work.  It takes effort, patience and in my case, bullheadedness.  And sometimes things aren’t perfect.

But other times things are exactly how Nicholas Sparks would lead you to believe.

Then the rest of the time things aren’t over the moon, but they aren’t in a swamp either, and we can go through the day-to-day married to our best friend, raising our kids, and just enjoying a state of low to no drama, and general contentment.

That, my friends, is a healthy marriage.  The highs, the lows, and the sweet, normal, between.

Happy anniversary, my love.  You are my best friend and my first real love that doesn’t involve the color white and a pedestal.  So with that in mind, I promise not to lose my bullheadedness anytime soon.

(Edit in response to Pat’s response (Really?!?!?) to me singing love songs while writing this: “I’m writing our anniversary post!  It goes live Wednesday at 1oAM  and if you don’t read it, I’ll take back everything I said in it!”)

(Second Edit: Wow, I linked to some crappy times up there.  So I think I should link to where I realized how much Pat loves me. And why our marriage works so wellWhy I love him.  And how he became my hero.  Oh, and he held true to his promise about The Bloggess, though my mom and sister took me, he stayed with the kids making it all possible.)

I’m damn lucky.

3

On the 19th of March, my mom, sister and I piled into my mom’s car and drove.  Her GPS “Maddy” took us the scenic route past farms, cows, horses and trains, without an interstate in sight.  But we were in no hurry.  We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 2 hour drive.

We got to the bookstore in Dayton with plenty of time, so we parked the car and decided we’d go into the bookstore to look around, and find out event details.

Around this time, I realized my husband had given me a 50 with the idea that he didn’t like me wondering so far from home without any sort of cash.  I sent him a quick note warning him he’d set me loose in a bookstore with cash.  He made it clear he had been aware longer than I had, of the situation, and that I would indeed owe him.

There was one survivor.  He goes by Washington.

Funny how all three of us bookworms didn’t really realize that the book signing in a book store would involve, you know, many, many books.  I think we blocked that part out in our quest.

Our quest to meet The Bloggess.

After we spent ourselves broke, we wandered to a nearby subway for an early dinner and then a few other shops to poke around.  But with only an hour and a half left before the signing started, we made our way back to the bookstore to find our place in line.  With a heads-up from the vixen Dawnie, I knew we needed to be there well in advance.  We were the second group in line, but it grew well before 6, when we could find seats.  By the time The Bloggess was presented at 7, it was standing room only.

We had front row seats.  Score!

The Dayton reading had the privilege to be the audience that was not allowed to witness a single curse word, as she read a chapter from her book.  So Jenny, in advance, set about finding the chapter with the fewest F-bombs, and friends.  The winning chapter had only 12 words that needed replaced with hippopotamus.  You heard me, hippopotamus.  But oh you should have heard her!

We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.

Then we single file got to meet the Goddess that is the Bloggess and have her sign our books.  Our coveted books of inappropriate hilarity.  I was lucky enough to be able to have 2 copies signed.  I bought the paperback version for myself (with a new bonus chapter, yo!) and had my older hardback version signed for my good friend Lisa who was spending the day back in Columbus growing older.  No, seriously, it was her birthday.  When I mentioned this to Jenny, she was sure to wish her a happy birthday in writing.  Lisa is one lucky hippopotamus!

We are all very lucky hippopotamuses.  Not just that this book has been written by someone so very real and honest and inappropriately hilarious.

But that this single person could make it clear to all of us who are so very isolated and alone, that we are in fact one of millions and not so different after all, is something we all needed.  We aren’t the only one with chronic pain.  We aren’t the only one with crippling anxiety.  We aren’t the only one with depression so bad we can’t leave our bed for days if not weeks.  We aren’t the only one who has cut to feel something.  We aren’t the only one.  You, I, Jenny.  We are all so unique but in the ways we need to be the same, to not be alone, Jenny has made it clear we are a community.  She has given us that gift.

So we are very lucky hippopotami indeed!

0

This list is no where near it’s end but my OCD drive to organize is kicking in.  As such, this will be my last actual post regarding what I hope to accomplish in my life.  However, as I sort my goals into categories, I will keep the link in the top right, also found here, up-to-date.  I am happy to share the list, it will just no longer be a simple 1-1983 like I’ve been working on for the last year.  So here you go, in no certain order which is in dire need of a change, are items 151-200 on my bucket list.

151. Take a Zumba Class
152. Get decent at Zumba
153. Take a Latin Dance class
154. Get decent at Latin Dance
155. Take a Yoga class
156. Get decent at Yoga
157. Do 100 push-ups
158. Make it to the top of a climbing wall (December 17, 2012)
159. Successfully climb something made by nature
160. Read 1000 books as an adult
161. Read 2000 books as an adult
162. Have a spa day – The works
163. Own an Orchid
164. Keep it alive
165. Without help
166. Star at a 5 Star hotel
167. After a 5 star dinner
168. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary
169. Go on a ghost tour (Spring break 2002 – New Orleans)
170. Own purple suede shoes
171. Own a pair of heels that cost at least 150$
172. Learn to walk in stilettos
173. Become a better photographer
174. Photograph a wedding as the official photographer (October 2010)
175. Photograph the wedding of someone I’m not related to
176. Watch a spacecraft launch live and in person
177. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
178. Relearn how to sew and use the skill as an adult
179. Ride a train across Europe
180. Kiss the Blarney Stone
181. Learn how to knit
182. Knit a blanket
183. Learn how to crochet more than just a single rope
184. Crochet a blanket
185. Learn how to quilt
186. Quilt a blanket
187. Ride in a hot air balloon
188. Sleep in a castle
189. Learn to scuba dive
190. Scuba dive in the Caribbean
191. Earn over 100,000 in one year
192. Earn over 120,000 in one year
193. Have a net worth of 1,000,000
194. Tour the landmarks of this nations birth and history
195. See Washington DC as an adult
196. Read the Bible all the way through
197. Read the Koran all the way through
198. Read the Tao-Te-Ching all the way through
199. Read the Torah all the way through
200. Read The Book of Mormon all the way through

0

Bucket list, life list, call it what you will.  Here are items number 101-150.  Ans as always, you can see the entire list as completed thus far, including what I’ve managed to check off the list as completed can be found here.

101. See the Colosseum of Rome
102. See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
103. See the Taj Mahal
104. See the Great Barrier Reef
105. Take a snorkeling lesson while there
106. Visit Victoria Falls
107. Attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans
108. Go on a road trip
109. Attend New Year’s in Time Square
110. Ring in the New Year in New Zealand – As close to the international date line as I care to get
111. Learn to appreciate New Year’s first
112. Experience Zero Gravity
113. Go horseback riding on the beach or into the sunset
114. Ride a camel
115. Ride an elephant
116. Give an elephant a bath/shower
117. Go parasailing
118. Have a bench, fountain, or tree dedicated in my name
119. Before I pass so I can visit it
120. Learn how to bake (Summer and Fall of 2012)
121. Learn how to bake from scratch (Fall and Winter 2012 into 2013)
122. Learn common and banking words in sign language
123. Ride in a limousine (Summer 1995ish – OK, don’t remember exact year)
124. Own a Mustang Convertible
125. Have sex in the rain
126. Get a tattoo for my family
127. Take Samantha to get her owl tattoo or something she holds dear to represent the strong women in her life
128. Go a day complaint free
129. Go a week complaint free
130. Go a month complaint free
131. Have my blog mentioned on a radio show
132. Be a guest on a radio show
133. Have my blog mentioned on a TV show
134. Be a guest on a TV show
135. Be considered an expert in something
136. By someone who has the right to call me such
137. Go to a concert
138. Go to the Opera
139. Go to the ballet (2007 – Sleeping Beauty)
140. See the Nutcracker
141. See Swan Lake
142. See Wicked
143. Pick strawberries
144. Get down to 200 pounds
145. Get down to 175 pounds
146. Get down to 150 pounds
147. Run a 5K
148. Run a 10K
149. Run a half marathon
150. Run a marathon

0

Anyone who has been reading me since last March, might remember I’m working on building, and completing the activities on, a life list.  Being legally insane, I’ve decided that since I was born in 1983, I wanted a life list of 1983 items, keeping in mind that I am with reality enough to go ahead and include some amazing things I’ve already done.

Bucket list, life list, call it what you will.  Here are items number 51-100.

51. Get a tattoo
52. Make Pi Day parties an annual tradition
53. Build a legacy
54. Have an inheritance for my children
55. Survive the zombie apocalypse
56. Pick 3 more “holidays” to throw parties for – 1 for each season
56.1. March 14 – Pi Day Pie Party
56.2. May the 4th – Star Wars Party
56.3. September 19 – International Talk Like A Pirate Day Party
56.4. December – To be decided between November and January
57. Take a deep breath and have fun. Because if I’m not having fun, I’m doing it wrong.
58. See Van Gogh’s Starry Night in person
59. Own a pair of glasses for every day of the week
60. Own a scarf for every day of the month
61. Own a dress for every color in the rainbow
62. Be crawled on and lovingly mauled by at least a half dozen puppies at once
63. See a play in the globe theater
64. Learn to punch through a board
65. Take some form of dance lessons with Pat so he and I can perform when we renew vows
66. Poop on a purple potty.
67. Ride a train from the West Coast to the East Coast.
68. Climb a rock wall
69. Rappel down the side of a skyscraper
70. Accomplish my Pop Culture Musts List
71. Never stop adding to my Pop Culture Musts List
72. Go kayaking
73. Become good at kayaking
74. Buy mom a designer purse
75. Have a savings account with an actual balance that is maintained and added to weekly
76. Complete the weekly savings challenge
77. See a show on Broadway
78. Zipline
79. Go whitewater rafting
80. Get off government assistance
81. Accomplish an advanced degree
82. Have at least a basic understanding of physics
83. Read all the books on the BBC’s Top 100 Books list
84. Learn to fly a plane
85. Visit Niagara Falls
86. Visit the Hoover Dam
87. Visit the Grand Canyon
88. Take my kids to Disney
89. Take my Grandkids to Disney
90. Go on a cruise
91. See the Great Pyramid of Giza
92. See the Hanging Garden of Babylon
93. See the Statue of Zeus at Olympia
94. See the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
95. See the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
96. See the Colossus of Rhodes
97. See the Lighthouse of Alexandria
98. Walk the wall of China beginning to end.
99. Visit Stonehenge
100. Camp at Stonehenge

Want to see the life list in full up to this point as well as what I’ve accomplished on it?  Visit here and take a peek!  Hint, I’ve crossed a few things off the list!

Next Page »