Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bucket List vs. Things I've Already Done

I was reading More magazine, and I noticed that there were lines of print close to the spine of the magazine, and they were things that people had on their bucket lists.

George Plimpton wrote about "the 100 things I want to do before I die," and my friend and I started compiling our own list when we were in high school.  Now, it's called a bucket list, as in, things I want to do before I kick the bucket.

When I was reading the More magazine's bucket list, I realized I had done a lot of those things, so I decided to start compiling my own list of things I've already done.  I'd never thought of this before.

Here are some of the things I've already done:
1) live in a commune
2) swim in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea
3) ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon
4) ride in a hot air balloon over the red rocks in Sedona
5) swim with the dolphins
6) swim with a (nurse) shark
7) fish for salmon in the Russian River on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska
8) back pack through Europe
9) spend the night at the Ritz-Carlton
10) get a four-hands massage
11) taste Dom Perignon champagne
12) eat snails, rattlesnake, and prairie mountain oysters
13) get lost in the jungle (Caye Calker, Belize) and in the mountains (Lost Mountains, Arkansas)
14) ride a motorcycle
15) shoot a gun
16) learn several languages
17) get a Ph.D.
18) buy an estate piece of jewelry
19) play piano and guitar
20) ride a horse at full gallop
21) have four neck surgeries (!)
22) get married
23) stay out all night dancing
24) see Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, Genesis, Angela Bofill in concert
25) teach Sunday School, high school, college, and graduate school
26) write and illustrate children's books
27) write a novel
28) have two of my photographs published in a newspaper
29) have some of my academic articles published in journals and in a book
30) travel to Europe (England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Amsterdam)
31) travel to Canada (British Columbia and Alberta)
32) travel around Mexico
33) travel in Central America (Belize and Costa Rica)
34) learn to use the computer
35) learn to type
35) learn to cook
36) learn to knit, crochet, sew, weave, and needlepoint
37) learn to make jewelry
38) learn to do stained glass
39) put furniture together
40) have lots of animals
41) hold a baby tiger
42) hike out west (Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Natural Bridges, Carlsbad Caverns)
43) visit Berkeley, CA
44) travel around the U. S. visiting different communes
45) buy a house
46) sell a house
47) become a school social worker in New Orleans
48) work with deaf kids
49) go out on a blind date
50) talk with all kinds of people everywhere
51) go to a World's Fair (New York and New Orleans)
52) live in New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Wilmington (NC), Hattiesburg, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Mandeville (LA)
53) see the Empire State Building
54) go to Broadway plays
55) learn to dance
56) take gymnastics
57) play soccer and baseball
58) hold a baby alligator
59) take care of a baby possum
60) pet a baby raccoon and listen to it purr
61) rescue kittens and dogs
62) go to a synogogue
63) attend a Hindu house blessing ceremony
64) keep a dream log
65) play on the swings at a park in the middle of the night
66) swim under a waterfall
67) go white water rafting on the Nantahala, Chattooga, and Ocoee Rivers
68) take a week long raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
69) sew my own clothes
70) learn to drive a stick shift
71) get a personal trainer
72) grow fruit and vegetables
73) plant lots of flower gardens
74) learn how to change the oil in my car
75) help deliver kittens
76) eat at the Grove in Ashville, NC
77) eat at Tavern on the Green, the Russian Tea Room, Sardi's, and the Tribeca Grill in New York
78) eat at Brennan's, Galatoire's, Antoine's, and Commander's Palace
77) eat sushi
78) eat kobi beef
79) eat a bison burger
80) eat squid and octopus
81) eat a 6-lb. lobster
82) taste muskrat stew
83) dance on TV
84) wear vintage clothing
85) learn to draw
86) paint casts for kids in Children's Hospital
87) visit people in jail
88) camp out in a tent and sleeping bag
89) watch meteor showers and count shooting stars
90) re-finish furniture
91) go fishing
92) drive a boat
93) take a Greyhound bus
94) take a train
95) fly in a two-seater airplane while the pilot does loops (!)
96) snorkel in Belize, John Pennekamp State Underwater Park in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Cozumel, Maui, Kauai, Pensacola, and Navarre Beach
97) see an active volcano
98) pet deer at the Grand Canyon Deer Ranch
99) pet a black leopard
100) ride an elephant
101) ride a camel
102) swing on a rope and drop into the water
103) canoe on a river
104) kayak on a lake
105) row a boat
106) go sailing
107) wear a mink coat
108) wear hats
109) do naked cartwheels in the middle of the night along the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon
110) catch a lizard
111) hold a snake
112) pet baby sting rays at the aquarium
113) live in an apartment on my own
114) be in a food co-op
115) use a bow and arrow
116) eat filet mignon and Baked Alaska
117) take the subway in New York, BART in California, the tube in London, and the Metro in Paris
118) take the street car in New Orleans
119) drive in a Mercedes and a Jaguar
120) sleep out under the stars
121) stay up all night
122) have a piece of jewelry made for my birthday
123) retire!!!!!
124) jump the waves and body surf
125) collect shells on Captiva
126) ice skate and roller skate
127) go tubing down a river
128) take a macrobiotic cooking course
129) speak in front of a large audience
130) volunteer with Red Cross
131) stand up to bullies
132) see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
133) take a course at the community college: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
134) help produce a TV show
135) build a tree house
136) build a clubhouse
137) win a bunny rabbit at the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt
138) have lots of pen pals
139) speak on the radio
140) be in a play
141) give a eulogy
142) learn how to do a front walkover
143) visit a redwood forest
144) jump on a trampoline
145) do a backwards dive
146) see a circular rainbow
147) go to Mardi Gras
148) get a Zulu coconut
149) go to an opera
150) be in a dance review
151) dye my hair: blonde, platinum, red, brunette, black, lavender
152) cut my hair very short
153) grow out my hair to my waist
154) have my hair cornrowed
155) straighten my hair
156) have my eyebrows threaded
157) get my ears pierced
158) feel an earthquake, hear a tornado, and be in a hurricane
159) make snow angels
160) throw snowballs
161) get buried in sand up to my neck
162) do that to someone else
163) take a cruise
164) change a tire
165) give a Persian cat a haircut (!)
166) zip line
167) serve on a jury
168) keep a dream journal
169) start a blog
170) present research at a conference

I'm stopping here.  I hope to edit this list by adding more to it.  And I hope this inspires you to start your own list.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Planting Seeds

I'm gearing up for Vacation Bible School.  We're putting on "Welcome to Capernaum."  There will be a well in the middle of the "town," nine different "shops," and nine tribal "homes" arranged around the well.  Our whole Fellowship Hall will look like the town of Capernaum as the kids learn what it was like to live during the times of Jesus.  My part in this is that I'm managing "Benjamin's Plant Shop."  I'm teaching the kids how seeds turn into plants and what different plants can be used for.

On Saturday, I planted over 300 little sections of trays and pots, labelled them, and then my husband and I transferred them into the vegetable garden so Walter wouldn't disturb them.  This is what it looks like now:

To be continued...
Glass Etching

Last Friday, my library sponsored an adult craft class, and we learned how to do glass etching.  This is my finished product.

I had no idea how we were supposed to etch the glass.  I had imagined that there were tools that we'd used to carve out the design on the glass, but it wasn't like that at all.

We each chose a stencil design and carefully attached it to our glass.  Then, after donning latex gloves, we brushed on this glass etching cream and let it sit for 15 minutes or so.  You have to be very careful with the cream because if it can carve out a design on glass, you can imagine what it could do to your skin!

We gently washed off the cream and peeled off the stencil design, using the brush to wash off any more cream residue.  Ta-da!  What do you think?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It Wasn't a Leaf

In our house, you have to be careful when you reach down to pick something up.  This morning, I bent down to pick up a leaf, but it wasn't a leaf.  Ewwww - it was a hairball!  Not technically ball-shaped though, more like leaf-shaped, which is why I picked it up.  When I felt the wet mushiness of it, I screamed a little.  Oy vey.  Just another day in our house.

We have one long-haired cat, Violet.  I use the "Furminator" to comb her and keep her well-groomed, but inevitably, I find tufts of her fur all over the house.  Usually, I examine the offending object closely to make sure it's not a wet, gooey hairball, and when, to my satisfaction, it passes the "just a clump of Violet's (dry) fur," then I pick it up.

The same thing happens when I bend over to pick up a "dust bunny" and it turns out to be a dried up spider!  I can't help it.  I scream.

The moral of the story:  make sure you have good light so you can see what it is that you're picking up off the floor!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jonah and the Whale

I've been teaching Sunday School since August last year.  We started having "Intergenerational Sunday School," where the parents come to the same class as the kids, and everyone gets involved.  It's been a lot of work, but it's been so worth it.

This past Sunday, the lesson was about Jonah and the whale.  Three other women met Saturday afternoon to build a 40 foot whale.  Yes, this was going to be a lesson we would all remember.

Jamie found instructions on the Internet.  We had black plastic sheeting, black "patent leather" duct tape, and a box fan.  In just little more than an hour, here is the finished product:
We cut a slit on the side of the whale, so the kids could go inside the whale.  Gwen and Jamie brought bowls of tuna and sardines, so the "belly of the whale" would smell realistic, and a bowl of cooked spaghetti for the kids to put their feet in, so they could feel the squishy insides of the whale's belly.

After Sunday School was over, here's what Gwen and Jamie looked like:
New Cat Tree

I ordered a cat tree, and I'm so proud of myself for being able to put it together on my own (with minimal supervision by my husband).   Here's Henry enjoying the fruit of my labor.
Future Cat-Lady?

If my niece didn't know that there were three cats behind her, this picture would be creepy.

When you fall asleep at our house, you never know who will be perched on you when you wake up.

Our local grocery store had a sale on lobsters, so I told my husband about it.  He came back with two lobsters, one three and a half pounder and the other, a six pounder!!!!
I never thought I would say this, but we couldn't eat them both.  We ate the smaller one, and then saved the bigger lobster.  We made lobster salad the next day.  It was wonderful.  Whenever I eat lobster, I think about the time when my cousin and her husband met us in Cape Cod, and we went to a clambake.  It was an "all-you-can-eat" buffet.  We looked at everything that was offered, but all we were interested in was lobster.  We each ate three lobsters.  And that was all.  I don't think any of us could even look at a lobster after that.  It was probably at least a year or two before we could even think about eating lobster.  But I will always like lobster.  

Many years ago, when my friend, Ginny, was living in Belize, I visited her, and we took a boat out to Caye Calker to visit some of her friends.  The father caught lobsters for the restaurants, and he brought the smaller ones home.  His wife served us 13 lobster small lobster tails for dinner!  Their kids were tired of eating lobster, so they didn't join us.  I don't think Ginny and I could eat all of those 13 lobster tails either. 

My love of lobster started at an early age.  My parents told me this story.  They said they took us out to a restaurant, and when the waitress asked me what I wanted, at age 4, I said, "I'll have lobster."  My dad, horrified, said, "She'll have a hamburger." 
Walter, the Lap Dog

Walter weighs 60 pounds.  He is not exactly lap-sized, but he doesn't care.  It's kind of sweet...except that he weighs 60 pounds!
Milkweed Mysteries

I bought a milkweed plant at the nursery - it's known as the Monarch butterfly plant.  While I was walking around the nursery with my cart full of plants, Monarch butterflies were following me everywhere I steered the cart.

When I got the plant home, I put it in the corner of our patio, and when I looked closely at the plant, this is what I saw:
How did I not see those on the plant when I bought it?  Could it be that they weren't there, but in one day's time, they found the milkweed plant?  I realized they must be Monarch caterpillars, which I have never seen before.

The very next day, my plant had no leaves!
The caterpillars had eaten them all.  

And the next day after that, I saw a tiny green cocoon!

When I looked closely at the cocoon, there were 3 tiny, tiny caterpillars on the cocoon.

I'm not sure what to do at this point.  Do I go back to the nursery and buy another milkweed plant, so that when the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, he'll have some milkweed leaves to eat?  It's a mystery!

And what happened to all the other big caterpillars?  Why is there only one cocoon? What happened to all the tiny, tiny caterpillars?

I guess it's time to Google "Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly."