I used to think there was no point in having a bucket list, because the wonderful things I want to do are out of reach given my physical and financial condition. Then I realized that good health and financial stability belonged at the top of the list. Get those right, and the rest will follow.

Bucket full of apricots

Fruit by the bucket load, off our own trees.

Work in progress

Write a bucket list – DONE

Be debt-freeAug. 2014: In progress. I’m following Dave Ramsey‘s principles, although with limited intensity. Himself and I cut up our credit cards several years ago, I negotiated better terms on several tough debts, and set up automatic payments through Billpay. Life then went crazy – but the changes I’d set up worked anyway, and when I resurfaced earlier this year I found that our debt had quietly whittled itself away. We’re down to four figures (excluding the house), so I’ve resurrected our budget and we’re making a big push to be Free At Last. Dec. 2014Argh, dropped the ball and the numbers have bounced back up a bit. This is high priority item for 2015. The goals are to maintain a budget, and develop a reliable source of income. Apr. 2015Yikes, still no budget in place, and no regular income source. Dec. 2016: Debt creeping up again. Damn, this is so hard!

Make and live in a clean, clutter-free home that feels like a sanctuary – Aug. 2014: In progress. FlyLady keeps me sort of on track. Lack of energy makes it harder, but every time I move that’s working toward the weight-loss goal. I’m making these two bucket items work together, and slowly getting our home and my body into shape. Dec. 2014: Huge progress achieved in the past month, described here and here. The goal for 2015 is to maintain a clean, orderly home and complete several projects left over from when we built the house. Apr. 2015: Kind of holding it together. No progress on any of the projects, but most of the time the house isn’t too piggy. That’s progress! Dec. 2016: It’s been a hard, hard year, and that’s one area that’s really fallen apart.

Help the Aged Crone finish her book Aug. 2014: In progress, and currently a top priority. Dec. 2014: Wrapping up my edit, and expect to have it back with her by year end. Apr. 2015: I got my first edit complete and back to her by February, and she’ll let me know when she needs help again. Dec. 2016: We finished the edited draft on her birthday this year … and she left us on May 13 without having been able to completely wrap it up. There’s really very little to do, though. I’ve not had the heart to work on it – or on anything much – but there’s a new year coming. Maybe by 5/13/2017 … That would be a fitting way to remember her.

Take a dog through training to a high performance level, according to his abilityAug. 2014: In progress, and loving it! Argos and I started a Companion Dog class this month. Dec. 2014: Argos earned his CGC. He’s still a lunatic, but manners are improving. The next step, which I hope to take in February or March, is a class to introduce him to different training options and see which we like best. Apr. 2015: Pain in my ankles (a shin splint, plus I just have weak ankles) has been a real source of frustration. It’s hard to keep up with a Malinois if you can’t walk properly! This year he has done a four week intro to tracking course, and another four week intro to nosework class. Now we’re taking a break while I try to heal, and focus on other projects. I need to get back into the habit of working with him every day, even just for a few minutes. He obeys very promptly, and – particularly pleasing – is extremely focused on me. But he needs more challenge. Dec. 2016: This dog is so smart and so talented and I love him so much! But I’m neglecting his training. Such a hard year.

Be self-reliant to the extent practical as regards eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables and dairyAug. 2014: In progress, but a tad overwhelming. We have four productive fruit trees, and this year I have done some canning and freezing. The hens are popping out eggs at a great rate, and the steers are happily growing into delicious steaks and stews. My garden has produced some vegetables but major work is required to get it where it needs to be, and I honestly don’t know that I have the physical strength to do it, or the funds to pay someone else to do it. For now that’s on the back burner. The pasture needs to be reseeded, fences need improving, and we need an underground sprinkler system, and then we may be able to carry an extra steer or two each year. Dec. 2014: I’ll be making a fresh start on the veggie garden this year, and hope to have it fully productive by summer. Next step: bees. Apr. 2014: I completed a course in beekeeping, but am waiting until the veg garden is established before I introduce something new. We’re in process of putting in raised beds and I’ve started planting berries. The hens’ productivity is down and some of them look pretty skinny despite having constant access to food and several hours a day roaming free around the yard … I’m not sure if something isn’t right, or if they’re just old!! Dec. 2016:  Well, this has been a bad year for gardening too. But Jonathan moved in with us in October, and has built several more beds, and will build more in spring. The gardening corner in the workshop is in place – I need to clear some junk out of there, but I have what I need to start seedlings in early spring. With someone to help, I really do think 2017 might be the year we get it all set up and start selling veggies, honey, etc at the local farmer’s markets. Now that would be a thing!

Weigh less than 150 lbs for a whole year Aug. 2014: In progress. First I need to get my weight down there, which involves unloading a whole extra person from my body. I’m doing it the old-fashioned way – diet and exercise. But for me, at this stage, this means eating freely from a restricted menu, and moving as much as I can as part of daily life. Being hungry, and forcing myself to exercise as a separate activity, are not on the agenda. If I were good at either of those things I wouldn’t be in this condition. Oct. 2014: I tried. I really did. I even shed some pounds. And then it stuck. So stuff it … I can’t obsess over this any more. This item stays in the bucket, but it’s moving to the bottom. I am focusing on living well, and the weight must take care of itself. Dec. 2014: It looks as though the ketogenic approach might be what my body needs. Just a few weeks in, and even Christmas didn’t really derail me (although my famous fruit cake is proving a challenge). Loving the way I feel … I hope this is It! Apr. 2015: My weight is kinda stuck and I’m on-again-off-again with the ketogenic thing. One thing I’ve confirmed beyond any doubt is that my body does NOT like carbs, and is very much more energetic and generally feels better on a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet. The challenge is learning to think that way on the run. It helps that I don’t often get hungry if I avoid carbs, but still, there’s no denying that a sandwich is just an easy thing to eat when you’re hungry and in a hurry. Dec. 2016: Nope … not yet.

Have the Girl Child visit us at home – Dec. 2014: Tentatively planned for late summer or fall of 2015. Apr. 2015: Ticket bought, visa in process, she’s coming for three whole weeks in August – yeah! – DONE, and the next visit planned for next fall! She and her partner plan to be here for several months. Yeah!

Pat a glacier – Dec. 2014: Key goal for 2015, to do with the Girl Child. Apr. 2015: It’s on the to-do list for her visit … if only my ankles heal up soon enough for me to get fit enough to handle an eight mile hike up Rainier! Dec. 2016: Still on the list…

Create and maintain a beautiful garden that is a place of peace and harmony – Dec. 2014: Goals for 2015 are to rough out the design for the front and put in trees, fence off pond section for later development (short-term grazing), create garden elements around south side of house. Dec. 2016: Some of this has been done, but it’s still not “a place of peace and harmony”. With Jon’s help I can do it this year.

Publish a book – Dec. 2014: I hoped NaNo 2014 would kickstart this. It didn’t. The goal for 2015 is to get serious about writing, making it a key part of my daily work life. This is too vague; in January I need to commit to (a) a specific book and (b) a defined schedule. Apr. 2015: Have started work on a novel that looks promising. Dec. 2016: That book didn’t get off the ground, but last NaNo I started the first in a series. It’s coming along well and I plan to have it ready for publication by April. At that point I’ll decide whether to self-publish or go with an agent/publisher, but I’m probably going to have to self-publish. It’s too demoralizing to sit around and wait for a response.

Ride regularly as my main form of exerciseDec. 2014: With improved energy, strength and weight, I can start working with Vos. I don’t know whether he has the potential to be a safe riding horse for me, but the goal for 2015 is to handle him daily and do basic ground work. We’ll take it from there, with an undefined goal of going riding with the Girl Child when she’s here. Apr. 2015: Vos has developed an ouchie in his hind leg. I’ve put him on Bute, and we’ll wait and see. He may not be able to be more than a pasture pet … and right now I can’t afford another horse. Bugger. Dec. 2016: Still too fat.

Things to do

Ride the Hell’s Canyon trail on horseback

Bring the Fogies to America for a truly memorable visit.  Dec. 2016. We just never had the money, and then Marmeee got sick and the Old Buzzard went dotty, and we lost them both this year. They did have one great visit in 2001, though, and they lived with us for a year, which was special. Hurts my heart that we didn’t manage one more, though … The OB wanted it so much, and I always thought that he’d pop off first and then Marmeee would come live with us again. I wish she could have had a little bit of time without him riding on her back. She loved him and she’d have missed him, but oh my word he did choke her!

Read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Dec. 2016: I’ve read it all in bits and pieces over the years, some many times. Just have never sat down and read it from beginning to end. Now I don’t know whether I still want to. 

Develop the Tshepo school system. Dec 2016: On the list, but not a high priority.

Complete a university level course in philosophy/ethics/logic, to learn how to think and reason clearly.  Dec 2016: Still on the list, but other things are more important.

Learn woodworking well enough to make a bed frame for Himself and me. Dec 2016: This might be a project I can tackle this year. We’ll see…

Places to go

The Parting of the Waters, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Visit Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii

Visit the UK for long enough to spend time with the good friends I have there and experience London, the Hebrides, the Downs, Cornwall, and other areas that I have tasted in books

Experience one of the world’s great cities with the Girl Child

Glacier National Park

Spend a week in New York City, with enough money to experience it well

Take a slow drive down the American and Mexican west coast

Take a slow drive across the northern US states

See a space rocket launch. (Seriously – just look at this! Isn’t it amazing?!)

Experience Tuscany

Visit the whales at San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico

Takhini Hot Pools in winter (or someplace equivalent – the desired experience is hot springs, frozen hair)

Go somewhere quiet and remote where I can see the northern lights dancing across the whole sky

Whitewater rafting with Riverman, Otter’s Haunt

10 responses »

    • Thank you – and thanks for the follow! I’ll be honest, when I sat down and evaluated and reorganized this list, quite recently, I got a bit grumpy – at 50-plus one should be done with building the boring foundations of one’s life. But hey, you’ve got to do it sometime, right? And it’s not as though I haven’t constructed other lives before – but one moves on, and sometimes one has to build from the ground up all over again.

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  1. Cool bucket list – I really want to see the Northern Lights, and publish a book as well! My book ain’t going too well though, lol. Anyway good luck with the list 🙂

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    • Hey, Jamila – thank you so much for stopping by and for following my blog! I hope you’ll continue to comment. I took a look at your blog too and, wow – you’re 14? I love the way you write – and think! Don’t stress over the book – just write something (anything!) every day, and don’t let “life” bog you down (that’s what happened to me, which is why I’m just getting around to it now). You’ll get there if you keep it at the forefront of your thinking, planning and doing.

      The Northern Lights – yes indeed. There are places where you can stay in little structures, like yurts, out in the snow, and really experience the lights. That’s how I’d like to do it. I’m not interested in going somewhere and being taken out on a bus tour with a bunch of other people to “see the lights” … I mean, I know you can SEE them anywhere in countries that have them, but some of the vacation options involve a special trip to some view point. I really want to be somewhere remote and quiet, where I can experience them my own way, at my own pace.

      I love your bucket list. Seattle is very pretty (it’s the closest major city to where I live) … You should try to visit during the Bumbershoot – http://bumbershoot.org/2014/12/19/bumbershoot-2015-is-on/. (And if you like literary festivals, you really should put Grahamstown, South Africa on your list! https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/2015-festival/ … I was a student in Grahamstown at the time they launched it, and can you believe I didn’t ever go? KICKING myself now!)

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      • Hi Belladonna!

        You’re welcome, your blog is totally great! Thank you so, so much – I really appreciate that you checked out my blog as well and that you like my writing. Haha, I will do what you said and try to write something every day to practice! I hope that includes typing e-mails… 😄 Thank you for your advice!!

        I see. Apparently the lights were visible in Scotland a few years ago? I wonder whether the yurt-things are available there… I think I will try to see the Northern lights from Scotland first, and if that doesn’t work out, from Norway!

        Yeah, I really really want to go to Seattle, because that is where my favourite band, Nirvana, and lots of other grunge bands come from. I checked out the Bumbershoot website that you gave me the link to (thx!) and it looks like exactly the sort of thing I would enjoy. Same with the literary festival is SA. I have never been to South Africa, even though that’s where my dad comes from! Haha, I can’t believe you didn’t go to the Grahamstown festival! 🙂 LOL.

        Have an epic day.

        Jamila!

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        • Hey there … well, Scotland would certainly be a convenient option for you – I hadn’t even thought of it. You’d want to go as far north as possible, so plan a visit to the Orkney islands. Take a look at this link! http://www.visitscotland.com/en-us/about/nature-geography/northern-lights I think I’m going to have to do that too … yurts in the snow sound lovely, but islands are magical too… 🙂

          Sorry, honey, but – unless you’re a modern-day Beatrice Potter – emails don’t count! On the other hand, blogging does – so long as you make a real effort to ensure that each post is as good as it can be. So there you go – any time a parent or teacher says you’re spending too much time on your blog, you can tell them no, you’re preparing for your career as a novelist!

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          • I looked at the link and watched the video in it – the sky looks so so beautiful! I actually didn’t know that there could be red and pink in the Northern lights; I thought they were just green! Thank you for the link 🙂

            Haha, ok – no taking the easy way out for me then! I will try to blog as much – and as well as possible. I keep meaning to do one about the music I’ve been listening to – I’ve even started it, but I haven’t got round to continuing it. Uuurgh, I need to get my act together!

            In the mean time I’ll work on my inner Beatrix-Potterness 😄

            Jamila x

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  2. Pingback: Still reaching for that elusive high | American Soustannie

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