#3- Lost

I can only imagine the ridiculous fun this maze would have been for me as a teenager growing up in Dixon.  Sadly, if there wasn’t a house party or gathering in the fields…. me & my friends resorted to TP’ing houses or harassing Safeway and Denny’s (the only two businesses open late back then) employees as a way to pass our time.

Several years ago Cool Patch Pumpkins create a world record setting Corn Maze in my hometown.  I made a few half-hearted attempts to go, but each time my plans fell through.  I hate when my plans fall through, which is why this goal made it to #3 on my bucket list.

In my head, it all seemed easy. Every year there are laughable police logs where people called 911 for being lost. I reasoned with myself that I’d cut thru the field before I’d succumb to such embarrassment.  I reasoned that, my entire childhood I enjoyed riddles and brain teasers and puzzles and mazes. So this should be good fun!

It was.  For the first half hour. the second half hour was a bit frustrating with the long lines of maze tourists traveling behind eachother, riding everybody’s ass to get out of the way. The third half hour I was starting to whine alongside my kids.  Alternatively, Blake grew increasingly silent, which is also a bad sign. About two hours in I started cursing life.  A security guard threatened to evict some people for cutting thru and the threat actually sounded good to me.  I had done this all wrong. I needed to be 22, drunk, and with friends.  That’s the best way to go.

It’s a pretty awesome maze overall.  My critique: wider lanes for passing people. Trashcans here or there would  have been nice cause trash was EVERYWHERE.  $12 per person over 5 just SCREAMS that you’re looking to rip people off.  And selling water bottles or having the occasional haybale to sit on for rest breaks would be great.  And sign markers other than the grid locations would be great to help the maze-impaired.

Lastly, “Starbucks Station” is incredibly misleading.  There were no Baristas or a coffee Bar, and no explanation for why it appears Starbs was sponsoring this Maze.  Where’s the connection? Is Cool Patch a non-profit organization supporting the community and Starbs is joining the cause? Is Starbs buying locally-sourced corn and pumpkins from Cool Patch? What? Why?

#98- The little things

One thing I really have come to appreciate about my bucket list is the easy opportunities to accomplish those small, day-to-day things that I find myself thinking, “hm…. that would be a nice thing to try/do/eat.”  Especially with how handy Facebook, Pinterest and other social media things are at reminding me of things I want to try/do/eat.

Which is how my #98 came to be.  My friend, Timi, who I’ve mentioned  [ here ] is one of my FB friends who has on more than multiple occasions sang the praises of some popsicles her family buys every time they are out and about in Sacramento- mainly Farmer’s Markets and special events it seems. After what felt like the 100th public service announcement from Timi about how yummy these DavePops tasted, I said to myself, “Hm…. that would be a nice thing to try.” And so, #98- Try a ‘DavePop‘- made my list.

Easy enough!

The only real difficulty, other than timing my visit to a DavePop event with my visit to Sacramento, was choosing one flavor. As you might see by the board in the background, there are over a dozen options that all sound amazing as Dave himself describes them.  Since it was 10 am and I had yet to have my caffeine fix I went for the Mocha while Blake chose Strawberry.  Both were dairy free, dripless with a host of other food-restriction-friendly charm added in.

It seems silly, I suppose, to have something so mundane on my list but … I’m hooked. My craving for more got to me before we had even made it back to the parking lot (The Carmichael Park Farmer’s Market, BTW, was a great morning destination in itself) and I am already looking forward to my next popsicle.  Which says a lot to those who know me- Ice Cream, Popsicles and sweets in general are not my thing. But DavePops I could make an exception for ;)

#26- Books

Lemony Snicket was quoted as saying, “ It is most likely that I will die next to a pile of books I was meaning to read.” Any avid reader would probably agree, and I am no different.  My pile of books tormented me daily, because I always set them out as a reminder (in my life, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is my motto) but that rarely did me any good because time was one thing I never scheduled myself for.

However, knowing me and knowing the motivation my bucket list has given me, I put this task on as my #26- read ALL the books in my to-read pile.  8 of them (a modest number compared to most avid readers). And in my case, I aimed to get this done BEFORE baby #3 made his debut. No books would be allowed to be purchased or gifted until this task was completed.

proxy, onward, pescadero, steve jobs, david sedaris, three cups of tea

Success!

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to review each book, that would be a bit daunting and there is so much to be said about each one… but maybe a thought for some of them.

1) I have a ton more respect for Starbucks than I started out with.  I typically believe autobiographies are nothing more than delusional people hoping to give you a very one-sided, glossed over and dressed up look of their ridiculously out-of-touch lives (celebrities, politicians). And perhaps some of that is the case with Howard Schultz and his life as founder & ceo of Starbucks, but at the same time… the humanitarian efforts he has made alongside the company is no joke.  I recently had someone refer to their local Starbucks as the “corporate assholes” around the corner, and it just didn’t settle right with me, knowing what I know now.  The list is long, but  the amount of time, effort and money Starbucks and Starbucks employees have given to their communities is astonishing.

2) Steve Jobs is phenomenal.  I thought reading this biography, the longest book in my pile, would be tedious and boring.  But Walter Isaacson is an engaging author and Steve also insisted that the brutal truth be told- even the ugly sides of him.  As mentioned above, I was impressed with the honesty.

3) Three Cups of Tea, a gift from my little bro over 3 years ago:  building schools in Pakistan before 9/11, before the internet, before it was cool. It made me want to travel there, but today that would be a death wish. I’m not muslim, and I’m a woman. Two big red flags working against me.

4) David Sedaris is still the most hysterical writer ever.

Looking at the books I’ve had in my pile to read, I realized after completing them that, with the exception of one book, they were all written by men and 5 of those were stories of them living their passion unapologetically.  Very few times have I been bummed out about being female, and this was one of those times. I was in awe at the moment of reading the books but very quickly afterwards determined I really had no way to of living any similar life.  I suppose “where there is a will, there is a way,” but my will is directed towards my family now.

Anyway, now that I have officially read every book in my home, I went out and purchased my next Thriller: The World According to Monsanto. I’m a sociology kind of girl…..

#5- a few good reasons to visit Minnesota

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I used to say the only good thing about Minnesota was that my friend Heather lives there. The next great thing about Minnesota surely is leaving it.  Who moves from sunny, liberal California to live their dream in a state that is covered in Snow 6 months out of the year? Colorado, sure. Idaho or Oregon, I understand.  Minnesota? nah.  Ironically, Heather met her Californian expat husband in Minnesota as well.

Which brings me to my first guilt-filled confession: I missed Heather’s wedding.  I had every intention of going. I wanted to go. But for grievances that will go unmentioned, I didn’t make it.

Second guilt-filled confession:  I’ve pretty much missed every life milestone of hers since she moved there 10 years ago and distance is no excuse in my book.  Graduations, Wedding, births…. All reasons to visit one of my closest, longest friends. And with each event I felt even more frustrated with myself.

Heather and I became fast friends in 7th grade when it was clear we weren’t welcomed with the “cool kids” of Lunch period B (all my friends from Elementary days were in Lunch period A). Having no one else to talk to, we found each other and our friendship stuck. I’m convinced the friends we make in Middle School are the friends we have for life, because only those friends are the ones you can say were by your side as you made your way through Hell’s holding tank.

So, seeing as things on my Bucket list have a far better chance of happening than not, I made visiting Heather in Minnesota my #5.  But how? When? I spent the first half of the year miserably pregnant, and the second half of the year I would have a baby attached to my breast.  Neither prospect seemed promising.

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Until a Road trip during our Family Leave came up. It has been on my ultimate, lifelong bucket list to drive cross country since I made my list over a decade ago. Why not now?  We left the girls with grandparents and took off for Minnesota on a Sunday. When we arrived, Minnesota was drizzly and cool (a welcomed weather change from our drought here).  Heather had gotten off work and we met at Minneapolis’ beautiful city park complete with views of waterfalls and the Mississippi River. We spent the afternoon first walking through the park and then she took us to a hole-in-the-wall dive bar, “Matt’s Bar,” famous for it’s Juicy Lucy and more recently famous for it’s visit from President Obama.  Perhaps the only thing I have in common with Obama was also ordering the Juicy Lucy. Which was amazingly delicious.

Because it was a Road trip with a timeline, we had to leave that night.  But before saying good bye to Minnesota we stopped in at the Great Mall of America, another spectacular tourist attraction.  3 floors of every possible retail store in the history of retail.  An indoor amusement park, complete with several roller coasters and zip-lines to choose from, a miniature golf course, legoland, etc. etc. It was overwhelming to say the least!

So, I guess I can say there are a few good reasons to Visit Minnesota,  Heather, The Juicy Lucy, Mall of America and some drought-resist climates (I admit, I did a little dance in the rain when it started to come down).

#82- Sunrise

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It occurred to me awhile back that, having since moved to the Coast, I would -almost daily- have the pleasure of watching the sun set below the ocean’s horizon.  But as far as a Sunrise, I don’t think I experienced that since the time I found myself lost in Spain and sleeping on the beach in Barcelona after a fun night with friends at a Nightclub.  My body had no sense of what timezone I was in.  This was 2005.  Otherwise, it’s safe to say I’m not a morning person and the times I was forced to be…. it wasn’t to watch the sun come up.

So one of my goals this year was to simply watch the sun rise, for pleasure (#82).  Ideally, it would seem fitting to watch the sunrise over the East Coast ocean horizon; I like the idea of having minimal view obstructions as this has also contributed to reasons for why I never see the sun rise.  How can you when tall buildings, trees and babies are in your way?

Blake & I set out on a cross country road trip last week (something I will blog more on in another post).  Feeling jazzed up by the week ahead, I agreed to setting the alarm at 5:30 am in order to leave our place in Nevada and make good drive time.  This is  important to note as every day afterwards Blake was back to threatening and shoving me out of bed to get me going.

As we loaded up the car I looked out on the open road before us (a true understatement as Nevada is nothing but open road) and I had a very clear, breathtaking view of the sun coming up beyond the barren mountains.  This was as good as it will get with me, and I won’t complain.  It was beautiful.  I truly understand and appreciate the poetic-ness and romance of a sunrise.  It’s inspiring.  I’m sure once I’m in my final days I will watch and count every sunrise as a blessing. But as of now, I count the minutes of extra sleep as a blessing.

#6- Talitha

When I documented my 2012 bucket list, one of the items was to have lunch with my friend Talitha, who I see once a year (at best) because she lives much further South in CA.  I had written then that if I did a bucket list every year,  Talitha would be on it, hence being #6 on 2014’s list. I would say it is because I have few friends that I feel so connected with as her, but in reflection…. I have many friends collected over the years that I cherish beyond words.  Talitha is special to me because we came to our life crossroads at similar times, share a similar faith and a similar outlook on all things. She was a constant in my life for several years at the place where we worked and because of our shared opinions of matters at hand and all these other reasons, I will always feel connected to her.  I love her company!

How I managed to snag her for a lunchtime date so easily when she was in town visiting family is beyond me.  She has 3 kiddos- one just a few months old and a big family. We arranged to meet at Cafe Dantorels (originally Crepeville) one Sunday when I was in town as well and caught eachother up on all the drama of our lives.  It was thoroughly enjoyable as Talitha has such a “colorful” family.  I can’t say I find anyone else’s story telling as amusing…

I may have mentioned it before, I feel like I did, but I truly believe that making time to catch up with old friends is a must for one’s health.  One day, one year I will make a bucket list of 100 friends to do this with.

#86- The ExplOratorium

I loved, loved, LOVED the Exploratorium as a kid.  Class field trips here were the BEST.  When we moved to the Bay Area 3 years ago I heard they had remodeled, reopened it on the Embarcadero and I was certain it was a trip worth making.  At the time making 2014’s bucket list, Jen & I had been going back and forth about when we would get together again and what adventure I could reserve her & Olivia for.  The Exploratorium (#86)  was a no-brainer.

Coincidentally, once I posted my list for 2014, it seemed like every single person I knew- including my immediate family and many of my closest friends- happened to visit there.  I’m not saying it was because I put it on my list, but I am saying it ticked me off royally to know I was the only one NOT checking it out yet!

Jen & I then did the typical song & dance that busy friends do when trying to pinpoint a day & time- one suggesting one day, the other explaining why they can’t and suggesting a different day to which the other would reply that it wouldn’t work then either. Such is the life of fabulous, hard-working and social butterfly moms!

But alas, we finally met up this past weekend.  I will say, it’s ideal to go during a stormy week day when everyone else decides to either stay home and/or go to school/work like they are suppose to. This place was PACKED.  Fortunately, there are so many hands-on exhibits that we still were able to enjoy many of them, although I am certain we missed at least half during the 3 hours we were there.

 


Jen got in for free because she is a California Public School Teacher, so for any teacher out there who is interested, that will save you a good $30! I also scored a nice discount for being a “local” (San Mateo County resident).  The girls were entertained nonstop, and at several points Jen & I found ourselves so mind-blown and giggling hysterically at our ineptness to what experiment was going on that we reasoned it would be a ridiculously fun blast to come back just the two of us after having several stiff drinks. Which, you can actually do in a sense-  they have an Adult-Only Happy Hour every week.  The place closes down to all children, and grown-ups can come and play.  Fantastic!

This would be an excellent family-membership year-long pass for anyone close enough and science-geeky enough to get a kick out of regular visits.  I actually don’t think you need to be geeky at all, it’s just really cool anyway. Hopefully we will be back sooner rather than later.