Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Bucket List

   I have to give the first line of this blog to my wife.  While lying in bed last night, I told her of this morning's blog and she said, "Bucket List"?  How can you have a bucket list, you already do everything that you want to do?  Classic.  

    Mortality sucks. It just plain does.  Life would be so much simpler if we all didn't have an expiration date stamped somewhere on us (of course where we can't see it), and we could just be guaranteed immortality and good health, but alas, it doesn't work that way.  We therefore spend our youth preparing for the inevitable days when we can no longer work full time, be as active as we would like, or even maintain a home.  There is a profound sadness to it all, if you choose to dwell on it, so we just don't.  This blog is about the things I think I would like to do before I cease to exist, which is my way, this morning, of distracting myself from the inevitable bad that is to come and to concentrate on some possible good or fun.  I'll number these, but the list has no prioritization.

     1. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity - If you've ever been witness to me swinging a hammer, then you know that I have no business helping to actually build the houses, but I think I could do a bang up job in a
Nolan and I wiring the Garaj-Mahal
support role, like cooking.  I'd love to build a little trailer that I could tow to the locations and make lunches or dinners for the volunteers each day.   I don't claim to be an expert on this charity, but I love everything I've heard about it.  It's not welfare, you have to work for others before you make the list, and then work for yourself, and you still end up with a mortgage to the new house.  It's not a gift, it's sweat equity and hard work that allows these people to finally get into their own homes. What's not to love about that?  My wife says she will do this with me after we retire, so that makes it easy to envision that it could actually happen.

     2.  Visit California wine country - I've been to the West Coast on business a couple of times, but never have done the Napa or Sonoma thing and I know I would truly enjoy it.  This will probably happen next year, for our 25th anniversary.  I'd like to do it right, with a driver/guide and take two weeks.  I think it would be more fun
with at least another couple to go with, as 2 weeks is a long time to just be alone (I need my social interaction). The trip would have to include the great restaurants there, and the small unknown jewels too.  I'll probably have to enter Rehab right after this trip, but I think it will be worth it. 

     3.  Live in a commune with my friends - I have a group of friends who "plot" to do this all the time.  We all agree to pick an area in a warmer climate like North Carolina and we then will build our homes around each other.  We envision the commune with a nice club house and pool, but we all share it.  It's been suggested that we serve beer at our Sunday masses, and there weren't too many people who didn't agree that this would add to the service and to the attendance ( I voted yes....twice).  We all would have jobs, my girlfriend has already volunteered to be the nurse, I opted to be the Gigolo (We Yargers have a good supply of testosterone.) I can help cook too. We will know we are doing it right, when the government starts tracking our activities and starts calling it a compound.

     4.  See my kids settled - Now my wife would probably have put a wish in here about grandchildren, but honestly I can't stir up any emotion for these eventual, but currently non-existent progeny.  I know it will be different when they actually arrive, but for now, nada.  What I would love to see is, my kids firm in their paths, attached if they so choose, and bettering the communities in which they live.  I preach to them often about the obligation to give back, and I'd like to see how each of them chooses to do it, in their own style.  Of course they would be out of my house when they do all this.

     5.  Spend some time in France -  This one, I'll have to drag my wife kicking and screaming to, but I'd like to spend some time in France, and mainly for 2 reasons. Wine and Food.  I'm a pretty simple creature, and for me that satisfies 2 out of 3 of my primal instincts (the 3rd isn't shelter).  I'd stay somewhere
MMMM, Lyonnaise potatoes.
inexpensive, and maybe do a house swap deal for a month or two, and I would absorb all I could on wine, wine making, cooking and baking,  I've always loved the French sauces and would love to learn how to make some of the classic dishes.  I've actually gone to a restaurant before, just to eat their Lyonnaise Potatoes, I am that much of a fan. 

     6.   Get off the Grid for a while - This might seem like an odd thing for a Facebook addict, internet blogger, and TV junkie like me, to say, but yes, at some point, I'd like to simplify my existence, remove the constant buzz of electronics, and live day to day.  I'd grow as much of my food as possible, I'd power my dwelling with a windmill or solar panels, and I would read, and walk, and write, and live without machines buzzing and beeping constantly around and attached to me.  I sometimes feel my phone or Blackberry buzz against my hip when I'm not wearing it, and that cannot be a good thing. This would be a nice cure.

     7.   Grow an Herb Garden - You gotten by now, that you're not going to see Harleys and sky-diving on this list, but did you expect this one?  I love fresh herbs, but currently don't have a property or climate conducive to growing them.  I'd like nothing better than to grow my own herbs and pick them to use for dinner or lunch each day.  I had a friend who live in an upscale suburb of Philadelphia who had all his needs
met within walking distance of his home.  His town had a butcher, a flower shop, a wine store, a produce market, 2 bakeries, several restaurants, an art gallery, a few bars, a cigar store, and a small community theater all within walking distance.  He owned a Vespa and would use it for the trips that were longer.  I always thought, that if I lived in that town, I would turn off my refrigerator and walk every day to buy the ingredients for my meals.  That's the way I think provincial France is, maybe it's not, I'll tell you when I get there.

     8.  Connect with my family more - No, not the ones that live around here, some of those I'm so connected with, that people think we are Siamese twins.  I'd like to visit the cousins I used to play with on my family's trips and spend some good quality time interacting with them.  I'd like to catch up on their lives, and reminisce about our times together when we were younger. I'd be in Boston, Maine, Florida, and New York mainly, but who knows where they've moved to now.  I'd enjoy that.  I had a delightful afternoon once on Cape Cod visiting a cousin of my mothers that really wasn't connected to the family anymore.  We had a friend we were visiting whose parents lived around the corner from her, and I just ate up the story of her life and travels.  I'd like to do more of that.

     9.  Read more -  I read on planes, in bed, and a lot while on vacations, but not enough, so I'd like to plan to read more, and read better.  I'm a sucker for best selling paperbacks with their glossy covers, and come-hither titles and illustrations, so I read a lot of them.  I try to mix in biographies, and some classic literature, and I succeed about 25% of the time, but I aspire to do better.  That's not to say I will read all classics, I actually have a strong urge to revisit the comic books of my youth too. 
I'll leaf through the comic books in the stores now and really don't connect with them at all. There is too much skin, the failings of the heroes are all too visible (drugs, anger issues, etc), and the plots are too real world for me (I mean sure, I'd like to fight Doctor Global Warming too, but.....)  I loved the fantasy of the old Superman comics where they were campy, and drew you into believing in things that weren't really based in science. I guess that was the fun of it.  For the record I loved DC, and their characters, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, but wasn't into the Archie or the funnier comics.

     10.  Be a successful writer - My family knows, that right before I left High School and my Dad was looking for me to make a decision about going to college, or to get a "Real Job"(apparently making chicken wings for hundreds of adoring fans does not qualify as a "Real Job"), I boldly announced that I was going to write (of course), the Great American Novel.  My family was in full support, and I don't remember if it was my sister Peppermint (first time in the blog, I'll call her Peppermint because she brings a little flavor to everything she does, and all the kids love her), who bought me a red typewriter or if it was my mother, but the support was overwhelming.  The ambition and ability to write, however, was not.  I don't like to leave things unfinished.   I'll clean my plate when I'm full, I drink the rest of a soda out of the can even when my bladder is bursting, I'll finish a bad book that I've started, so I'd like to finish that promise to my folks and siblings.  I don't know how I'll measure the term success, but my friend Frank told me a story two weeks ago that I hadn't heard before, so I'll finish with that.  The move Julie and Julia, about an author (Julie Powell) trying to make 524 recipes from the Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days, was actually the first American movie that was based on a blog.  The author chronicled her experiences, and the blog became popular, and then it was converted into a book, and eventually a movie starring Meryl Streep.  If something akin to that happened to these musings, I think my family would give me the pass, on the Great American Novel.  That movie grossed 129 million dollars, and if my movie did half as well, I could afford to go to France (and take my family).  


torcon said...

Bill, outstanding post! I admit that I'm a closet comic book fan as well - I learned to read by going to the Lima Public Library when I was 6-7 years old reading comics from the "silver age" that you referenced. I aspire to virtually all of the points on you list! Lastly, the absolute BEST photo caption goes to "Garaj-Mahal"

cdyarger said...

Well, after reading this, I concur that I would be willing to do about half of these things with you. That said, either you will have to outlive me or see if your girlfriend might be willing to do the other half! Hmm, I guess you DON'T always do everything you want! Great blog honey!

Daphne Mays said...

Interesting! I (food, wine) notice a (food, wine) theme (food, wine). Never have made a "Bucket List" but I think I'm sort of living it already. We are technically "off grid" but realistically incredibly connected, as evidenced by my writing this. This was a fun post!

Blogger said...

Simple trick to cut your power bill by 75%:

Want to know how to easily produce all of the green energy you could ever want right at home?

And you will be able to make your home totally immune from power outages, blackouts, and energy grid failures
so even if everyone else in your area (or even the whole country) loses power - you won’t.


Blogger said...

There is a chance you qualify for a new government solar energy program.
Find out if you qualify now!