50/50 Friday – Week One

Last week, on my birthday, I posted 50 things I wanted to do before my 50th birthday, which is still a couple of years off, thank goodness.  I am happy to report that one week into my project and I am making some progress.

The funny thing about list-making, is that the act of writing it down, somehow makes it more likely that the task will get done. The really funny, like strange, thing that has happened, is that now that I have sent out a message to the Universe about what I would like to accomplish,  the Universe is sending messages back to me. For instance, I listed that I want to contact some former teachers and thank them. Well, the other day, I received a Facebook message from some of my high school friends about an informal reunion. This led me to find one of my favorite former teachers. We are now friends on Facebook! Number 32 on my list states, “Take a sunset horseback ride.”  Last week I received an email offer to take a sunset horseback ride in nearby wine country!  Needless to say, I bought the offer and  during the coming months I will be able to check that off my list too. In the meantime, here’s my progress, so far:

I spent my birthday at the beach.  We went to Paradise Cove in Malibu. This stretch of Southern California coastline is a local landmark that I have never visited before. So, I just completed the first month of  Number 21 on my list. Paradise Cove was perfect location for relaxing on my birthday,  and I can now understand why it is a Southern California favorite. There was a small pier,   lounge chairs and cabanas, it had a nice restaurant. I don’t know why it’s taken me 47 48 years to visit.

The restaurant makes a great place for meal or people watching.

Diego on a stretch of Paradise Cove.

I have also been replacing my coffee with green tea, number 28 on my list.  I really only drink coffee in the morning, when I need it most. I miss the taste of coffee in the morning and I guess my body is missing the caffeine kick too, since I seem to take longer to get going now that I am drinking green tea instead of coffee.

I noticed that I was a little slower on the uptake the other morning, as I was practicing speaking Spanish, number 50,  on my list. Juan, is fluent spanish speaker. He is helping me out by speaking more and more Spanish around the house. I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, but I notice a dramatic improvement after a margarita . Anyway, I felt like the extra practice was helping until Juan tried speaking Spanish to me in the morning, after I had cut out the coffee. No caffeine or margarita at 6:30 a.m., and I couldn’t understand a word he said, nor could I form a cohesive sentence. Note to self: Do not attempt to speak spanish without having caffeine or margaritas.

The last thing I did to make some progress on my list was to buy a new food and use it in a new recipe, numbers 19 and 37 on my list.  I went to a farmer’s market and bought Black Kale.   Then,  I went home and made Tilapia and Escarole, a recipe I found here. The recipe called for esarole but I substituted kale. When Erica and Juan saw I was cooking with kale they were not sure they’d like it. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would like it either. But the recipe was healthy, easy and  it got great reviews, so I thought I would try it. It turned out great.

The Farmer's Market vendor told me that this was Black Kale even though it looks green to me.

It may not look good but it tasted good.

So, that’s my update on my 50 Before 50 list.  I’ll be posting more here as soon as I have checked more off my list.

Freshly Pressed In My New Year

This morning I was all set to write a post about how I had a wonderful birthday. About how much I enjoyed breakfast in bed, prepared by my husband,

Breakfast in bed

and presented by Diego, with a smile.

Breakfast smile

I was going to post about how I spent the day with my boys at the beach…

Nico and I on my birthday.

…and the sky was clear, and blue, and the temperature, a perfect 70 degrees.

And,  I was going to write about how I was actually getting  started on my  bucket list of 50 Before  50 because  of the birthday gift Juan gave me, Number 47.

Number 47 on my list

I was going to post about how turning another year older wasn’t so bad, and celebrating my birthday as my own personal New Year was a positive spin on the “age” thing.  The post was in my head and I wanted to get it out.  I wanted to sit down with my laptop and write about it. But wouldn’t you know it?  I came home from a day at the beach and my refrigerator was dead. Everything in the freezer was thawed. We spent the evening dumping food, moving everything that hadn’t spoiled  to our back-up garage fridge. I had to help the boys with their homework, and I still needed groceries for the week. No time to write. My post just stayed in my head. I thought I might be able to get out a draft during my lunch hour, but first I had to check my email for responses to the T-Ball team party I was planning.

What? No email from the other T-ball families? But, I did see an email from WordPress. And then another, and another. And this…

My blog had been Freshly Pressed!  This post was featured, and I was receiving dozens of comments, and “likes.” What a great belated birthday surprise! Thank you everyone for reading and commenting. Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for, well, “liking” me.  I think this is going to be a good year.

My Own Memorial Day…Also Known as My Birthday


Image via Wikipedia

Memorial Day 1963. A day when our nation was honoring the fallen who had given their lives in service to their country. A day when many were probably out enjoying picnics, barbeques, and parades. It was also the day when my mom went into labor, my dad drove her to the hospital and, thinking he had time for a quick errand, left her in the doctor’s capable hands. Boy, was he surprised when he returned to the hospital a short while later, and was told my mom had a baby girl, me! As my brother will tell you, that was probably the last time I arrived early for anything!

Like my brother, who was born on New Year’s Eve, this year my birthday falls on a holiday. But unlike my brother, who grew up feeling like he was getting short-changed on gifts or parties because he had to share his birthday with a major holiday, I don’t mind sharing my birthday with Memorial Day. Because my birthday falls on Memorial Day I sometimes get a day off from work, friends or family are ready for a party, there’s always a new movie release, and there are some really great sales. This year, I am not going to any parties or barbeques. I will go out to lunch with my family and if the weather clears, maybe I’ll go the beach, and if not, then I may see one of new summer movie releases. Sounds like a perfectly good way to spend the day, especially when I am still reeling from our whirlwind New York trip last weekend.

In honor of this birthday, the birthday that brings me another year closer to a landmark birthday, I have been putting together a list, a Bucket List, of sorts. I shared the list with my husband, and he said it looks more like a big ass TO DO list. True. Many of the things on my list involve home projects, and probably cause him some concern because that means the Honey-Do List isn’t too far behind. Some of the things on my list probably are contradictory, like #37, “Try a new wine, #20 “Try a new recipe once a week” and #18, “Lose 15 pounds.” But still, it’s my list, and I hope by putting out here in the Blogosphere, I will be more inclined to check it off as “Done.” Besides, the list may generate some interesting blogging material. I hope that some of the activities on my list will keep me from getting too caught up in the busyness of life and force me carve out some time for some fun. So, here’s my list of 50 Things to Do Before 50:

1. Take a sunrise hike.

2. Clean out my attic.

3. Clean out and re-organize my pantry.

4. Organize the kid’s school files/records/memorbilia.

5. Re-paint my family room.

6. Take a cooking class.

7. Make curtains for my bedroom.

8. Read a classic American novel.

9. Read a classic English novel.

10. Whiten my teeth. :)

11. Learn to take better pictures.

12. Print photos for my hallway.

13. Frame photos for my hallway.

14. Hang photos in my hallway

15. Go on an overnight spiritual retreat.

16. Teach Diego to ride a bike.

17. Ride bikes along the beach.

18. Lose and keep off 15 pounds.

19. Try cooking with a new food once a month.

20. Try a new wine once a month. :)

21. Visit a local landmark/attraction once a month.

22. Travel to Italy.

23. Get a new blog design.

24. Review my financial retirement plan.

25. Begin working on my book.

26. Drop a dress size.

27. Take on a cause.

28. Replace my morning coffee with green tea.

29. Take a hot air balloon ride.

30. Keep a Gratitude Journal.

31. Thank some of my former school teachers: Mrs. Smith, Mr. Gilliland, Mr. Brooks.

32. Take a sunset horseback ride.

33. Participate in a 1/2 marathon.

34. Go to the Hollywood Bowl with a picnic.

35. Camp on the beach.

36. Get a dog.

37. Try a new recipe once a week.

38. See the desert in bloom.

39. Watch a movie marathon.

40. Go on a baseball trip.

41. Plan my 50th birthday bash.

42. Take a family portrait.

43. Pay off my student loans.

44. Get a new car. (Not a minivan)

45. Try out for The Amazing Race.

46. Complete Covenant II.

47. See Les Miserables (again!).

48. Learn to knit a hat.

49. Scan and organize old photos.

50. Practice spanish weekly.

So, there you have it. This list will stay up under the “My Story” menu tab on my blog. So you and I can both go back there and check it out to see how I am progressing. Good thing I have some time to finish it off because I will definitely need it. Now, I am going to get celebrating my own Memorial/Birthday….