Life List Update 2015

Each year, instead of making a resolution I like to go through my Life List, remove items I no longer care about, cross off things I accomplished, and add new things I want to do. Life isn’t static and neither are we–we change we grow. I’m not interested in being chained to a list I made once and never altered.

Last year a dear friend’s husband passed away and it pulled certain things into my life into sharp focus. I was working on updating my life list at the same time, and I became aware of how unimportant much of my list seemed. This year, it’s someone close to me who has a terminal illness and it has only magnified this feeling. It’s not that I don’t want to do any of these things, or that they don’t sound like the most fun ever. It’s that I know now. I know I have of what’s important, and that’s being with family and having conversations with friend, and enjoying the life that I have right now. I have just about all the things I want in my life. The goal is to enjoy it.

That said, keeping a Life List is a great way of having on hand a list of fun things to do when the opportunity arises, a list of goals to work on when you feel like you might need purpose or motivation, and is, overall, a good brainstorming exercise to breed enthusiasm for life and living.


  • Make a list of daytrip destinations
  • Take the kids to see the redwoods
  • Take the kids to a warm beach
  • Stay in a hotel in SF for a few days
  • Visit NYC
  • Take the kids to the Exploratorium
  • Take the kids to the Planetarium in SF
  • Take the kids to Delores Park
  • Take the kids to Golden Gate Park Conservatory
  • Have a weekend away with just Anthony
  • Try Anthony’s favorite dim sum place
  • Visit the basque restaurant again
  • Try the new Thai place in town
  • Eat some local Indian food
  • Visit the Assyrian market
  • Return to Alemeda flea market


  • Pimp my closet
  • Write eBooks
  • Decorate Elias’ nursery
  • Own backyard chickens
  • Teach Elias to cook
  • Teach Isobel how to cook
  • Take a thrifting roadtrip with friends
  • Sing with Stefalynda
  • Learn to make his grandma’s black beans & chile mole
  • Learn to make my grandma’s fudge sauce & carrots and wine sauce
  • Create a Family of Isobel & Elias book
  • Visit a local you-pick farm
  • Participate in Family Kite Day in the mountains
  • Bike the Virginia Corridor Trail with family
  • Xerescape part of my yard
  • Visit the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve
  • Get business cards
  • Get my business license
  • Swim in a turquoise sea
  • Participate in a drum circle
  • Tour a European castle
  • Teach Isobel to cook
  • Teach Elias to cook
  • Turn a wall into a photo gallery
  • Learn to edit video
  • Speak basic Spanish
  • Walk on an English moor
  • Research our family tree
  • Have a family snow day with sledding
  • Visit the UC Davis arboretum
  • Have a campfire at the beach
  • Plan a getaway to the cabin with friends
  • Try on wedding dresses (since I missed my opportunity)
  • Grow my own mushrooms
  • Help a needy family have a bountiful holiday
  • Cook a food for a homeless shelter
  • Bathe in a hot spring
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Taste ice wine
  • Try new cheeses
  • Go camping
  • Try Geocacheing
  • Learn to work my GD sewing machine
  • Have an English-style tea
  • Walk on the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Knit a fancy scarf
  • Make homemade bagels
  • Fly First Class
  • Take family photos at the beach
  • Create a coloring book for Isobel with my friends
  • Sing a karaoke duet to Shoop with Stefanie
  • Craft family Christmas stockings
  • Learn to bake truly excellent bread
  • Perfect my punch
  • Prepare for the apocalypse
  • Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant
  • Take a trip to NYC
  • Record my Grandma’s life story
  • Record Anthony’s Grandma’s life story
  • Create a car emergency kit
  • Explore the Tikal ruins in Guatemala
  • Cook a campfire meal
  • Become proficient at building a fire
  • Learn basic and advanced embroidery techniques
  • Crochet an amigurumi animal
  • Plant a dwarf orchard in the backyard
  • Learn to make preserves
  • Visit Hong Kong
  • Get a meaningful tattoo
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Set up a compost bin and a rain barrel in our yard
  • Visit the SF MOMA
  • Hike Vernal Falls in the Spring with family
  • Visit Japan and eat ramen
  • Meet as many of my online friends in real life as possible
  • Stay in a woodland cabin
  • Explore the Badlands
  • Visit a Viking museum in Sweden
  • Visit a natural history museum
  • Visit the Rosicrucian Museum
  • Visit as many museums as possible
  • Photograph my favorite local sites
  • Throw my parents an anniversary party
  • Renew our wedding vows
  • Witness a huge lightning and thunder storm
  • Host a dance party for Isobel
  • Watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly
  • Grow a fabulous herb garden on my patio
  • Visit San Juan Bautista Yard Sale Festival
  • Fondue party!
  • See Rifftrax live
  • Contribute financially to our family
  • Help Anthony get his game published
  • Display my photography in a gallery show
  • Visit a giant planetarium
  • Look through an observatory’s telescope


The Spring Thaw

There is big news in our household: after what can only be described as one of the hardest years of my life, full of health breakdowns and terrible scares, ambulance rides and unexpected surgery, unimaginable loss, and financial instability, the ship seems to be righting itself and finally heading to calmer waters. It’s been almost a year since the company Anthony worked for eliminated 100 positions – including his – and he has made great use of his time. In addition to taking care of some much-needed surgery, ending our infertility streak, and helping me through a difficult pregnancy, he’s been researching alternate career paths. We live in one of the hardest-hit areas of the country for unemployment and although he applied for every job in his same field he’s found, competition is fierce, so we investigated starting over in a few related and new fields, too. He never gave up on the search for a viable career within our rural-suburban hometown where we could remain where many of our friends and the bulk of our family live. All the work he’s put in over the last year has paid off and Anthony was hired by a local company that makes use of his talents and the classes he’s taken during this time. It is a fantastic opportunity. In addition to this, there are a couple of other opportunities presented to us, and within the next month or so we’ll be called on to make some big decisions.

I still have lingering anxiety about our situation. Part of me has a hard time trusting that things are improving and part of me is weighed down by the gravity of the decisions we will have to make. Sometimes change, even good change, is scary. We are just going to have to make the best decision we can with the information we have. We each have the resources to deal with life if things don’t go as planned, something I know now to a degree I wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago. If there’s anything this experience has taught me is that Anthony and I can rely on each other through anything. Stress like this can often tear a relationship apart, but we’ve used it to grow stronger. And we never would have made it this far without the support and love of our families and a vast network of friends who are there for us should we need them.

Now that Anthony’s started working again, I’m officially back to the solo parenting grind. Today hasn’t been ideal because I have a fever and feel extra terrible, but other than that it’s going really well. Check in with me in about a week, and we’ll see if I’m still smiling and relax or if I’ve become the stereotypical harried mother with bags under my eyes and a short temper.

Things are improving but change doesn’t come overnight. We expect things will still be difficult for awhile until we figure things out and build momentum in this new direction. Spring has arrived in seemingly unending winter of our life, and its sweet breath feels like relief.


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