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Life List Update 2014

23 Jan

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 and I’m not interested in being chained to a list I made once and never altered.

I’ve noticed a change in me as I thought about the things I wanted to add this year. They are less grandiose and more personal. I think this might have something to do with the fact that someone I knew, young and in the prime of his life, died suddenly almost exactly a year ago. The things that were truly important to him became instantly clear and he was thankfully able to make some of those things happen before he passed. I remember talking with his wife, my dear friend Valerie, and in that time those things became clear to her, too. The hardship I’ve faced in the last year, between my friend’s husband’s death, multiple medical emergencies within my family, my husband’s layoff, his injury and subsequent surgery, a narrowing of our options due to unemployment, and other things, has affected me greatly and has definitely changed the way I view my Life List. I view a lot of the items on here as fun things, or goals to work on, or fantastic ideas I’d love to see come into fruition, but only a few are items that are truly important to my life. And that’s okay, because hardship has taught me what’s important, and that’s something I’m aware of everyday.

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.


First, the fun stuff: things I accomplished from my list during the last year and since my list began.

  • Write an eBook
  • Decorate Elias’ nursery
  • Make pickles
  • Own backyard chickens
  • Teach Elias to cook
  • Take a thrifting roadtrip with friends
  • Sing with Stefalynda
  • The the kids to Bodie


  • Pimp my closet
  • 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 book
  • Create a Book of Seasons
  • Visit a local you-pick farm
  • Participate in Family Kite Day in the mountains
  • Host a food swap
  • Bike the Virginia Corridor Trail with family
  • Xerescape my front 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
  • Turn a wall into a photo gallery
  • Visit all the state parks & reserves in my area
  • Learn to edit video
  • Speak basic Spanish
  • Walk the English moors
  • 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 my 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
  • Tasting party for cheeses I’ve never tried before
  • 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
  • Grow vegetables in the backyard
  • Create a coloring book for Isobel with my friends
  • Sing a karaoke duet of the accursed song, Time Of My Life, 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
  • 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 a Japan
  • Meet as many of my online friends in real life as possible
  • Start a movement for backyard herb gardens
  • Learn to make a delicious cocktail
  • Stay in a woodland cabin
  • Explore the Badlands
  • Visit a Viking museum in Sweden
  • Visit a natural history museum
  • Visit the Rosicrucian Museum
  • Photograph my favorite local sites
  • Throw my parents an anniversary party
  • Renew our wedding vows
  • Spend a summer devoted with day trips for the kids
  • 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
  • Carve our initials into a tree
  • Display my photography in a gallery show
  • Visit a giant planetarium
  • Look through Lick Observatory’s telescope

Domesticity: Summer Wish List

9 Sep

At the beginning of the summer I made a list of all the fun things we could do while we experienced our “summer of togetherness” (i.e. endured through unemployment). We were determined to make the most of things and use this time like a family vacation. How often do we get to have so much time together? While we’d much prefer Anthony have a job this is the hand we were dealt and this is how we chose to play it.

I made this list without the slightest intention we’d be able to do it all–I always wanted to have that feeling that we had options of fun things to do. While I’d like to do all these things some day I’m pretty impress with what we did get accomplished. Most of this was do to the generous nature and participation of our family members.

Summer really isn’t over for us here in the Valley (hopefully that will happen in October but it’s not uncommon for fall to get started in November) but I think this is a good time to reflect on what’s been done and adventures that have been had.

- Get a mango agua fresca in Ceres. It’s been too long, and while we’re on that side of town we may as well go to one of my favorite thrift stores in Ceres, The Hope Chest. It’s never too late for this item!

- Go sailing. We kicked off our summer activities by going sailing and that marked the first time of me actually jumping in the water by the boat. I wasn’t sure I’d ever do that! But we all got in, even Isobel. Anthony learned more about the basics of how to sail and he wasn’t bad at it. We love Grandpa’s Pirate Ship.

- Visit a water park or splash pad. I took Isobel to a splash pad before swimming lessons one time and she was not feeling it. Anthony took her another time later in the year with her cousin Jewel and had a much better time, but home girl would really rather play in the pool. Getting sprayed in the water is not her cup of tea.

- Go to the fair. We went three times — I consider this mission accomplished with extra credit.

- Go for a night swim. I thought this would be hard to do but we actually accomplished this pretty early on at Jon and David’s birthday.

- Make homemade ice cream. Alas, still not accomplished. Someday.

- Grow a garden. We had such a fantastic time in the garden this year! That is, of course, until I came down with the pukes and didn’t leave the couch to eat let alone water my garden. It is a sad sight to behold now, friends. I am embarrassed.  But we spent many happy months outside learning about weeds and growing pumpkins and peas, sunflowers and poppies, and just hanging out and enjoying the ladybugs and bees and the view.

- Take Isobel to the beach. Seeing a giant pod of dolphins in the wild made up for not being able to go swimming.

- Fix up the patio. Yeah, I cleaned it up a bit, but it’s far from looking good.

- Use our new telescope. Anthony’s grandma cleaned out her closets and found a telescope that belonged to her former husband. She gave it to us and I am very eager and excited to use it. Ideally I would have busted it out for the summer meteor shower, but that didn’t happen.

- Take Isobel on a hike. Anthony took Isobel and my sister to Yosemite while she was home for a visit and they had a great time. I was at home, sleeping and feeling nauseous. I would have loved to have gone but there was just no way I was up to it. I’m really glad they went because they had such a great time.

- Sign Isobel up for swimming lessons. We signed up for inexpensive swimming lessons through the City of Turlock this year and it’s really helped her become more comfortable about swimming in a pool without her floaties. We made a lot of progress and that was worth it.

- Fly a kite. That was hilarious.

- Visit the secret park Anthony found in the country. Have yet to do this. When the weather cools down I think I’ll plan a picnic there.

- Barbecue at home. I really want to learn how to use a charcoal grill. I am really good at procrastinating. Again, I don’t think I’m going to want to do this until the weather drops down below 90 degrees.

– Take Isobel to Marine World to see the butterflies. Who knew that Isobel would end up being more shy than the butterflies?

- Visit Historic Columbia State Park. This was a life list item for my parents. We had a blast.

- Take photos of Isobel in a field of sunflowers. I may have missed my window on this. Boo.

- Go to the River. Best day ever.

- Visit the Farmer’s Market. We went once before I realized it’s not a fun place when you’re broke. (There’s always next year!)

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