Examining My Bucket List

bucketlistThe kids and I were in the car the other day and pull up next to a convertible at a red light. “Now THAT is on my bucket list,” I sighed. “What’s a bucket list?” My six year old wanted to know. “A list of things you want to do before you die,” volunteered his sister. Which naturally led us into a discussion on what we’d add to our bucket lists.

I should probably add that the ideal place to ride in a convertible would be the shore.

I should probably add that the ideal place to ride in a convertible would be the shore.

#1 – Now let me clarify – I do not want to own a convertible. I just want to ride in one. 43 years old and I have never ridden in a car with the top down. I think there is something very sad about that. So if anyone out there has a convertible, lives nearby and wouldn’t be mortified to see me waving my arms in the air and laughing like a lunatic, can I hitch a ride?

This also makes me want to go back to Hawaii.

This also makes me want to go back to Hawaii.

#2 – And this one has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I want to swim with the dolphins. Seriously, how cool would that be? Their skin looks so slippery. They are incredibly intelligent. They rescue humans in the ocean. And this one isn’t as hard to achieve as one would think. We were just in Hawaii in April. Had we wanted to spend the money and the time, we could have looked up a place for a nice little meet and greet with Flipper. Some day I’ll get the whole family on board and we’ll say ‘screw it’ to the expense. You only live once.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Breathtaking, isn’t it?

#3 – Okay, the next item is SUPER expensive and really hard for me to justify the expense. I want to ride in a hot air balloon. Just once in my life because, quite frankly, it might end up terrifying me. But the views! OMG. I almost crossed this one off ten years ago. Then we found out I was pregnant with my daughter. First time pregnancy jitters had me nixing this as too dangerous. Yeah, totally regret that now.

Now you all want to go out and hug a panda, don't you?

Now you all want to go out and hug a panda, don’t you?

#4 – Another animal theme here. Both kids have expressed an interest in working as a vet. I jumped on this one! “Okay, so here’s what you do: you go to vet school and instead of opening your own practice or working with boring cats and dogs, you work with exotic animals.” “Why?” they want to know. “Because then you can get a job at a zoo. Once you work at a zoo, you can invite your old mom in to cuddle babies.” Lions, tigers, pandas, chimps… I’m not picky. I just want to hold an exotic animal. What? Too weird? They were rolling their eyes at me too. Sigh.

So there are some of my bucket list items, some easier to cross off than others. Little Guy wants to eat ice cream every day for the rest of his life. Big Sis put “get published” on her bucket list. Yes! That’s my girl. 😀 What’s on your bucket list? Leave it in the comments below. The three of us are always looking for new and exciting ideas.

 

Giving Myself Permission To Be A Kid

300003aLast summer I was under deadline to finish a book. This past fall I signed a new contract that kept me busy through April. Then in May I got the bright idea to submit a story for a collection whose deadline was ridiculously too close for comfort. Deadlines = stress. They also create a crazy writer mom – just ask my kids. Sure, they love when I order pizza for dinner. But they prefer to eat that pizza with a loving, snuggling mother, not a distracted animal who may or may not bite.

I had planned to write a Christmas anthology over the summer. A self-imposed deadline this time. I also have three different series at various stages of plotting, inside my head. It can wait. It can all wait. My ideas aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the longer I wait, the more insistent they will become to jump out of my head and onto the screen. Anticipation can be a good thing.3000038

Instead of writing this summer, I am giving myself permission to take these precious few weeks off. I’m going to spend time with my kiddos. I’m going to look at life through their eyes. Yeah, I’ll still do laundry and cook dinner. Can’t get away from some adult responsibilities. And I’ll take advantage of other adult perks–like being able to drive us to our next adventure.WP_20150621_003

I think we’ve gotten off to a great start. We’ve created fairy gardens for the front yard. We built a sand castle and discovered a hermit crab and some freaky gelatinous substance that may or may not have been alive. We’ve charted new trails at the park that must be explored. We rode the Ferris Wheel on the Seattle waterfront. And we went out for ice cream.icecream

The kids are signed up for some summer camps. Last year I would have used this time to hole up in a coffee shop and write my heart out. This year I’m recharging my creative batteries. I have no idea WHAT I’ll do with my free time. But it will be relaxing and fun and something that I can look back on once I’m in my writing groove with fond memories, knowing I made great use of my time. A blanket, my Kindle and a quiet trail in the woods – perfect! Watching the dog stick her head out the car window in absolute bliss while we go for a summer drive – even better!

When the kids go back to school and I go back to work, the creative juices will be flowing. I’ll have all kinds of new memories to be able to use in one of my books someday. And maybe I won’t take on quite so many writing projects for the following school year. Because, like my children, I’m not a big fan of Crazy Writer Mom either.

How about you? What are your big plans for this summer? Anything that is making your inner child jump up and down with glee?