Travel Europe. I did this while living in Paris 1983 to 1984, even going down into Morocco on an epic adventure. I went back a few times in the years after, once for an ill-fated semi-blind date with a Mr. Wrong. We made the best of it though, driving from Brussels to the border of then-Yugoslavia and Albania (and back), alternating between screaming at each other and nodding off in drunken stupors. Heaven it was not. I want to go again, this time with Mr. Right and he wants to go too.
Live in Paris. Well I did this but I want to do it again, even if it’s just part-time. I love it there. I am the giant Ugly American who sticks out like a circus freak among the tiny, chic women of that city. I want to walk all over the city and sip espresso and write. It’s not that I don’t love Paris in the springtime but I especially love it in the dark, rainy winter when there are few tourists and all the side streets seem full of mystery.
Own a dog rescue place. This makes traveling to Europe and/or living in Paris problematic. It would also mean moving out of my townhome and possibly my town, given the municipal ordinance that limits domestic pets to 3. But I go to the website “Big Dogs Huge Paws” at least once a week and wish I had 17 22 or so Saint Bernards to take care of. Naturally I would outsource the dog shit cleanup.
Kayak Prince William Sound. I did this once with a nice man. It was 1992 and I thought he might be The One but after we rafted a fly-in glacial river 100 or so miles it became pretty clear we were not all that compatible. Also when he and his friends drank they tended to pitch forward into the campfire singeing off eyebrows and other facial hair and I tended to be the only one to pull them out of said fires. I would like to go back there, again with Mr. Right this time, and maybe kayak again and see that amazing place. Might skip the 100 mile rafting trip because after a few days in a dry suit romance is the only thing that is sure to evaporate.
Raft the Grand Canyon from Glen Canyon Dam to Lake Mead. I got to do this a year ago and it was amazing. Even all of the Mormon Eagle Scout guides were wonderful. Not a polygamist among them. My brother, his wife and their daughter were the best part of it, oh and the incredible healing that occurred while we were completely unplugged from computers, cell phones and electricity of any kind. Something about being deep in the great gash of Mother Earth’s holy crotch split us all wide open. I connected there with something that moves me 12 months later and I will always love my brother Mike for taking me on that trip. I want to go again, this time with not only them but my sister, her family and Fred.
Tell each and every family member how much I love them. I try to do this as a matter of course as much as possible but I can always do it more. It is the truth, even in the complexity of our dysfunction and I hope they all know that. I will just keep saying it.
Show it too. This is the great rub of it all isn’t it? So I need to do the little things. Offer to pick up my nephew when my sister is pressed for time. Empty the dishwasher instead of plotting how to manipulate Fred into doing it. Listen to my dad instead of plying him with solution after solution of what he should do and be doing for his knee replacement. I am supposed to be of love and service. That is the great launching point, and one I forget the fastest.
Run a railroad. OK, I just like the way this sounds. I don’t really want to do it. Seems like a big hassle and kind of a dirty job.
Run for president. Well I did and it was a disaster. I was drunk with power from the get-go, arbitrary and capricious, Kim Jong Il without the giant standing army and all the starving civilians. You see, some years back I was president of my homeowner’s association. I pulled a Sarah Palin to everyone’s relief and bowed out after completing only 2 years of my 3-year reign of terror. In my 16-town home community those 2 years are still known as “The Dark Time.”
Be a Rockette. There are no 6’1″ 47-year old Rockettes except on Halloween. I didn’t say I wanted to do high kicks at Radio City now did I? I also understand the window of possibility regarding me doing high kicks at Radio City may have closed some time ago. Besides, the tallest ones are shrimpy 5’9″ types. Bastards.
Sky dive. Fred does not like the idea. Also when I’ve mentioned it to the Colonel he tends to raise his voice and say, “I’VE HAD TO POUR GUYS OUT OF THEIR BOOTS BECAUSE A ‘CHUTE DIDN’T OPEN SO KEEP THAT IN MIND.” Thanks dad.
Do something in a band. I am unable to sing except off-key and do not play an instrument although I owned castanets for a short time as a child. Maybe being in the First Annual Crested Butte Air Guitar Contest in 1978 counts for something. During that award-winning performance (my band was the only entry), I, as the drummer, fell backwards off the flat-bed semi truck stage nearly pulling off a Keith Moon but I didn’t die from my alcohol poisoning. The lead singers, my sister and Brenda Bundy, were wonderful. Our signature song was, “You Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee” which was perfect for Crested Butte at the time.
Run from Gothic to Crested Butte on the 4th of July. I may be walking a bit of it but I will be doing this on July 4, 2010.
Run the Chicago Marathon. I’m signed up for this 10/10/10 race. I managed to get to only mile 18 in 2007 when the mayor and the race director called the race due to heat and over-flowing hospital emergency rooms. Pissed me off. I have the stupid medal but it’s like a Barry Bonds medal, with a giant asterisk from a Sharpie because I couldn’t stand having it say “26.2 miles”. So I’m going to finish it this year.
Cook a perfect souffle at high altitude. This sounds good too and my mother did it once, in the fall of 1972. The chocolate souffle blew our minds but as she was lifting it out of the oven she dropped in a big pan of dirty dish water. Her reflexes were like that of a cat, or at least a cat who wants chocolate souffle, because she snatched it out of the water, rinsed it quickly, dusted it with powdered sugar and served it up. I remain impressed by this feat and hope to repeat it, minus the detour in the sink.
Travel through Southeast Asia. We spent two and a half years in the Philippines and went to Thailand during that time but I was a kid so I want to go back. Maybe skip Thailand until things calm down there. Also they just discovered a new species of monitor lizard on the main Philippine island of Luzon, and this spotted, fruit eating creature averages 6.5 feet in length. I’d like to see one in person.
Scuba dive. I was certified at 12 and went with my dad and brother to the South China Sea for 3 days of diving in another epic adventure I will never forget. Somehow I let 32 years slip by without donning tanks and a respirator so I’d like to give it a go again. Scuba is an expensive sport though. Also I may have to get re-certified even though I still have my PADI card. I think equipment may have improved in the last 32 years.
Be really good at something. I know I need to be more specific here.
Write a book. I thought I did this but all I did was get a draft on paper. So really I’m at the very beginning of this one.
Become completely debt-free, including the mortgage. We’re on track to have this happen in 7 or 8 years which seems unbelievable.
Not be an asshole. I was on track to be this for a while and then I was an ass to a fellow ass on the other end of a case yesterday. He started it, the sexist bastard. OK, I will continue to work on this one. I would like to point out that it’s 5:45 p.m. and I have been a non-asshole so far today.
Have excellent posture. This is getting better with yoga and also because now I know how much of a visceral reaction I get standing tall from short, sexist assholes like the one I dealt with yesterday. So standing up straight is a weapon of choice against these misogynistic throwbacks I run across in my profession. Have I mentioned how much I love size 11 designer heels lately?
Be accepting with the way my body looks. I’m not there. I don’t think I ever have been there. I don’t know how to get there.
Live in the moment for more than a moment. Again, I’m not there. I don’t think I ever have been there. I don’t know how to get there.
Run Marathons on all 7 continents while I’m still continent. I just like the way that sounds. Also it would mean a lot of interesting travel. I am not planning on ever losing control of my urethral sphincter.
Paint something I’d like to hang on a wall. This, like writing, requires a lot of practice, meaning more than 1 Bob Ross wet-on-wet painting class at Colorado Free University. I hope it happens.
Win trials without second guessing myself. I win a lot but not necessarily because I’m very good, I just have good facts. Afterwards I always feel like I suck or at least could have done a lot better. I wonder if I’ll ever just have the easy confidence of, say, a TV litigator like Glenn Close in Damages, minus those pesky ethical problems that follow her around.
Run an ultramarathon. This is just a race that is more than 26.2 miles long. So there are 50ks, 50-milers, 100ks and 100 milers. I decided there’s no time like the present so I am eyeing the American River Trail 50-mile race in California in April 2011. I will have trained for 16 months by the time it rolls around. I have read ultras are much more mental than anything, which bodes well for me since I am a slow, somewhat shiteous runner. I do like having that ultra goal in the back of my mind plus the race is near where my brother and his family live. Although they don’t know it yet, I’m planning on making them crew the race for me.
Do backbends without feeling afraid. I remain mystified why opening my chest and, ultimately, my heart, in this simple yogic way, feels insurmountable and even terrifying at times. But I will keep trying. There are lessons there for a tall, stiff woman who sometimes hides her true heart even from herself.