I've been wanting to make this list for awhile, and I was reminded last week by a good e-friend that lists like this can be fun and cathartic. I could call it a bucket list, but that sounds morbid and today is sunny and beautiful and I don't want to think about morbid things. Instead, this is my big To-Do List for life. It is ever changing and evolving, it is honest, and if I'm not constantly adding to it and crossing things off, then I'll have disappointed myself. I'm not going to let that happen.
And so begins my list, in no particular order.
1. I want to ride a horse. It is only through cruel twists of fate that I've never ridden a horse. Like all young girls, I loved horses. I had about eleventy-gazillion toy horses, each with a name and a story and piles of pretend trophies. I grew up on a farm, with a beautiful horse barn that was totally devoid of horses. I had a mom who took horseback lessons for years. She came from a family of riders. My father owned countless horses long before I was born. I should have been a rider. But when I came along, all the horses were gone. That needs to change. Maybe I won't even like it, but I need to give it a try.
2. I want to go rock climbing. I'd say mountain climbing, but actually I'm not that adventurous yet. And as my California husband is quick to point out, we're in Wisconsin, there's no mountains here. So I'll start small - I'd like to rock climb.
3. I want to ride a snowmobile. Wait, I just said I live in Wisconsin, yet I've never ridden a snowmobile? Well, that's not exactly true - it has been years. My last ride was in middle school. Someday I want to participate in my state's great tradition of going up north, getting on a snowmobile, and bar hopping. (Could I possibly throw any more Wisconsin stereotypes into this one? Yeah - I could. I didn't mention the Packers, brats, cheese or a Harley, eh?)
4. Speaking of Harleys, I want to own a motorcycle. Though not a Harley-Davidson. I know, I have to forfeit all of the Wisconsin cred that I just earned with the previous item, but I'm pretty enamored with the Russian-made Ural. Rawr! See the sidecar? That's for Jack, when he's older.
5. I want to live by the lake. Even if it is just for the summer, I want to wake up to the sounds of the gulls. I want to have coffee while listening to the waves. I want to walk barefoot to and from the beach and track sand through my kitchen. I want to swim among the seaweed and fish from a pier. I'm in love with the lake lifestyle.
6. I want to pan for gold. And not just in the trough at Knott's Berry Farm, as fun as that is. I want to go back to the Colorado River and pan. I did it when I was in third grade - my daddy Jack took me to the mountains and bought me a big black plastic gold pan. I kept that pan for years, through many moves and downsizings and sadly it has disappeared. I want to go back and reclaim that memory.
7. I want to go to New Orleans. This is a tough one for me, for a lot of reasons. First, while I firmly believe that I can take my son with me for nearly everything, New Orleans is one of those places that I just don't need to take a baby, or a toddler, or a grade schooler, or maybe even a middle school boy. It is also tough because I have beautiful, amazing memories of pre-Katrina New Orleans: the colors and sights and sounds and smells, the wild abandon. I loved taking it all in, from the early mornings before the city comes to life to the wee hours of the night when the city is pulsing with energy. I've also been to post-Katrina New Orleans, not long after the storm changed everything. It was like visiting a good friend that you haven't seen in years only to find that the vivacious young woman you remembered, the one just bursting with life has fallen ill and is but a frail, sickly shadow of herself. It is hard to go there, but my love for that city will never die.
8. I want to take a family road trip. Remember National Lampoon's Vacation? That's my inspiration, sort of. At least in spirit. I want to pack my family into the Jeep and drive, drive, drive to some faraway attraction, stopping at roadside diners and small town oddities on the way, collecting tacky souvenirs and taking polaroids of our memorable moments. And if, at the end of it, we hate our car, the road, and each other, we'll get over it, and we'll have made some great memories.
9. I want to have a wildly successful garden. This one will happen. Each year, my garden gets a little bigger and a little better. Each year, I learn some valuable lessons. Like, squirrels love peppers and will go to great lengths to eat them. And raspberry bushes expand exponentially, but cucumbers will take over the earth if unabated. Each year, I have a little less frustration, a little more success, and if I keep baby-stepping along, someday it will look like I know what I'm doing.
10. I want to see Alaska. This one is going to surprise a lot of people that know me. No lie: I shiver when the temperature dips below 70. The winter coat comes out around 65 degrees. In winter, you'll find me with the heat cranked up, fully clothed under a mountain of blankets, counting the days until spring and blessed, blessed summer. Alaska was never, ever even a thought in my head because to me, Alaska = cold and cold = bad. Lately though, it has been a thought in my head and it won't go away. I find myself reading books about Alaskan adventures and I get engrossed in shows about its natural beauty and rugged wilderness. Maybe someday.
That's my list, for now, until it changes.
What's on your list?