Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Bucket List

by Jo Robertson

There’s a Rob Reiner movie out this holiday season in which the characters – terminally-ill patients in a health-care facility – make a list of the things they want to do before they die.

They call it the BUCKET LIST because, well, they’re ready to kick the bucket.

I’ve been thinking about that concept recently and asked myself, what haven’t I done that I’d REALLY like to do before I die? I've been lucky, so there's not much left.

I wanted to have a career – teaching – a happy marriage and a family. Mission accomplished. I've traveled and lived in a foreign country.

I was fortunate enough to “have it all,” although certainly not at the same time! I'm a firm believer in doing everything, just not at once :-D!

But I made a Bucket List anyway.

These are things I'd love to do before I kick the bucket!

1. See my book in print -- my name, my real name on an actual book cover so I could salivate over the luxurious art work and show it off to all my friends and family.

This could still happen. Maybe. I hope.

2. Bungee jump -- not from Bloukrans River Bridge in South Africa, a height of over 700 feet, but from the Golden Gate Bridge, far enough up that I’d feel the thrill of tumbling down, down, down and then being caught and cradled by that great rubber band while I watched the beautiful San Francisco Bay and the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Yeah, like they’d ever let me do that. But still . . .

3. Tap dance -- a la Gene Kelly – with style and rhythm and panache.

This is a big-deal item on my list because I have absolutely no sense of rhythm or coordination in my body. Still, in my head I'm as graceful as Anna Pavlova.

4. Compose a musical tribute to my grandchildren and play it on the guitar -- Mind, I know about three chords and never got the knack of hardening my fingertips!

Oh, and with the strumming, there’s that whole rhythm thing I was born without.

5. Care for a new-born baby again -- I’d like once more – just one more time – to feel the sweet, sweaty weight of an infant's body on my chest. I imagine Annalise's plump softness with such poignant memory.

I do love the babies. And this could happen! Maybe.

The New Year is right around the corner. The sound of 2008 has a certain promising ring to it, don’t you think? I see baby New Year dressed in a diaper, toddling toward us with all his ripe promise, and crickety Old Year hobbling off toward the horizon.

Welcome, 2008!! I have a good feeling about you!

In the spirit of resolutions and new beginnings, of derring-do and untried adventure, what would you write on your Bucket List, readers?

List five things you want to do before YOU kick the bucket!
Be sure to stop by on January 1 for my interview with western historical writer Stacey Kayne, who's giving away TWO of her books!


p226 said...


p226 said...

Oh yes. I sense an eerily glowing GR in the future.

My bucket list is perpetually evolving. It's a moving target. I mean, when I was 13, my bucket list was a one liner. "Before I die, I sure hope I have sex." In my 20s it was "Man, before I die, I sure hope I have lots of sex." Now that I'm in my mid 30s, it's changed again. "Man, before I die, I hope I get to have a lot more sex." *g* I know. I'm a pig. My wife tells me so regularly.

But, prior to this movie, I'd heard of another type of "bucket list."

A friend of mine (he's about half nuts) keeps a bucket list. At least mentally. He told me one day after describing how someone had done him wrong. Really wrong. "That dude made the list."

"What list?"

"Man, if I'm ever diagnosed terminal, anyone on my list is a duster."

I laughed.

Then I was disturbed.

Then I laughed again.

Then I wondered if I was on the list.

Anna Campbell said...

P225, sometimes you're a seriously scary dude ;-)

Jo, lovely post. I'm afraid my bucket list is all terrifically selfish. I'd like to go to the ballet in Russia. I'd like to learn to speak French fluently. I'd like to read Moby Dick. I'd like to see the Taj Mahal. I'd like to cruise the fjords. All fairly shallow, I'm afraid!

p226 said...

I hope you don't really think that Anna. Everyone at work thinks I'm too laid back to be scary. And I am, I'm laid back, except when the lawyers are all over me. Argh... lawyers....

Tawny said...

ROFL P226. I don't know which amused me more, your bucket list, or your reaction to your buddy's. ;-) Congrats on snagging the GR!

Anna, that's a lovely list.

Jo yours is great too - what a fun post!

I have no idea what mine would be, I'm refusing to admit I'm going to die LOL. Hmm.. to watch my daughters make successes of their lives, to hold a grandchild (or a dozen), to cruise the Greek Islands, to live on ten acres in a gorgeous and HUGE victorian house, to see my mother have her dreams come true, to hit the NYT bestseller list and to win a few dozen RITA's. *g*

of course, those are all off the top of my head, since I seriously have never thought about this before.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I love this topic! My very spontaneous list:

1. Take a luxury train trip across India (oh, heck, make that every continent and sub-continent. *g*)

2. Take a round-the-world cruise.

3. Do a cathedral tour of Europe.

4. Visit Jerusalem.

5. Be a motivational speaker. I don't know why, but this seems like a dream job!

I also want to be a multi-published author with a rabidly-devoted fan base. I'm fairly certain that one is just around the corner. *g*

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

1. I want to see my son taken care of. I want to know in my heart that he is happy and will have a good life after I am gone.

2. I want to see my daughter happy. Either work her marriage out or get out of it and back to WV where she has some support.

3. I would like to see England, Ireland, and Scotland.

4. I have always wanted to take a cruise, anywhere.

5. I have always wanted to take a tour of the United States.

Buffie said...

p226, do you live in the Atlanta area? I feel like I know you!!!

Caren, I have been to Jerusalem and I think it is a place that everyone should visit. Actually all of Israel is wonderful, unique, and I have such wonderful memories of my 2 weeks there. I even got to ride a camel!!

Let's see, now about my list . . .

1) see my children grown, happy, healthy, and thriving with their own families.

2) to conduct research on my family tree in Ireland.

3) to lay in a bed of heather in Scotland.

4) to walk the sandy shores of Italy.

5) to see my hubby's fantasy come true -- to be a baseball broadcaster for one day.

Anonymous said...

You all have such wonderful lists! Jo, your list is so heartfelt and lovely--but the baby? Please tell me you're thinking about a grandchild! Whenever I hold a sweaty little baby these days, I think to myself, "thank goodness that part of life is over and done with!" :-)

Tawny, your list sounds very much like mine. My mom's had a tough road, and I'd like to see her content and peaceful. And Dianna, like you I want to see my children independent, self-sufficient, and happy.

I sort of wish I could run a marathon. I love to set physical goals, and that's such a great one. But I've got a bad back, achy knees, and a foot problem, so I can't run much these days. But if a fairy godmother gave me some cartilage back, I'd run the marathon for sure.

Anna, you are insanely literary! I think reading Moby Dick is next to last on my list. Just after walking across the desert with no water or sunscreen, and cross-stitching the Mona Lisa. LOL. I have the attention span of a flea.

jo robertson said...

Ah, tricky p226, keeps the GR in the colonies!

ROTFLOL about your first item. Like the experts say, every 7 seconds!

And about your friend's list, ROTFLMAO and spewing my soda all over the computer screen. There are a few dudettes I'd like to see on a list like that.

jo robertson said...

Anna, there's nothing selfish about doing things you enjoy!

But I gotta say, Fo, cross Moby Dick off your list. Please! I know, I know, all the symbolism and stuff, but honestly, if Melville had written that book today, it'd never get published.

jo robertson said...

Tawny, my mother used to say, you love your children, but ah, your grandchildren -- nothing like it -- and your greatgrandchildren -- the best. I thought she was a little nuts because how could you love any child more than your own?

But there IS something awfully delicious about the grandbabies.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Jo, I love your bucket list...well, okay that bungee jumping thing is rather questionable...but it's YOUR list.

My bucket list...hmmm...

1. Same as yours. See my name on the cover of a book and know that I wrote every word inside, the world and characters were mine and I brought their story out for everyone else to read.

2. Take a month long trip to Scotland. I'm sure a week wouldn't be long enough. I want to walk the mountains and sit in the pubs listening to the locals talk. Warning, I pick up every accent I hear, so for at least a month afterwards I'll talk like a native Scot!

3. Take a cruise to Alaska. I've never been on any cruise, but I think Alaska would be so beautiful to see. And of course the ships cabins ARE heated so I wouldn't mind the cold too much!

4. Record some old gospel songs with my family. Not the new church music that's all the rage, but the old stuff sung on southern porches in four part a capella harmony. In this century I believe it we will lose a great American tradition.

5. Travel all of New England and Virginia. This would be a trip to see all the historical sites, Boston, Philadelphia, Concord, Washington, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Appamatox. I might be able to convice hubby to do this one.

jo robertson said...

Caren, check out our own AC! She's the cruise expert. We're gonna start calling you the traveling fool.

You'd be a great motivational speaker, always upbeat and inspirational.

jo robertson said...

Dianna, I think one of the most disturbing things about growing old is wondering if your children will make happy, productive lives. We always want more for them than we've had, don't we?

Buffie, I agree about Jerusalem. It's a lovely area (not counting the soldiers with guns). I wonder if you and I rode the same camel?

jo robertson said...

Buffie, what a beautiful list!

Kirsten, LOL, hey, that baby didn't come out of MY body! Maybe that's why it's so cool. And frankly, I only like them until they're two. Then I send them off until they're teenagers, which ironically is an age I like.

Sick, I know. Teens are supposed to be persona non grata.

jo robertson said...

And Kirsten, I agree. Reading Moby Dick is worse than walking the desert without water!

Ooooh, a marathon, I need to add that to my list! Of course, I'd be the one coming in twelve hours after the marathon ended!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Suz, what a beautiful list! Here's hoping ALL the Bandidas see their books in print.

Everyone who's gone on an Alaskan cruise has marveled at how beautiful that particular one is. I always thought I'd like to do the Panama Canal one. Fascinating piece of history!

Oh, I LOVE those old gospel hymns! My dad used to play his guitar and sing them all the time -- "Old Rugged Cross" and what's the one about walking in the garden?

jo robertson said...

Okay, my brain is no longer communicating with my fingers, so I'm off to catch a few winks. Catch you all later!

Suzanne Welsh said...

You mean the one that goes,
"I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my hear..."

It's called, In The Garden.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ack that should be, falling on my EAR. Geesh, that's what I get for typing before noon!

Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Suz and Jo, if you think that gospel music is dead, come visit my church sometime. We may be in Oregon, but we know how to sing! Er...the choir knows how to sing. I can't sing a lick. :-p

And Jo, twelve hours would be a pretty good marathon time for me! :-)

Joan said...

Things I'd like to do

1)Yup, the 'ole multi-pubbed phenom newcomer in romance fiction. Earn enough to leave working at the hospital.

2)Live in Ireland more than a month at a time.

3)Meet that special guy and then, um...well, reference p226's list LOL. Hmmm...maybe meet him IN Ireland. (Note to any Irish guys..I make GREAT scones :-)

4)Read Moby Dick while bungee jumping. NOT! At least the bungee thingee. Can't do bridges, sure as h*ll can't do bungee cords. And I've read Moby Dick. It's ok.

5)Guest on Dancing with the Stars.

You only live once, right? It might be in traction but you only live one :-)

December 30, 2007 10:42 AM

doglady said...

These are some fabulous lists. Like p226 my list is constantly evolving. I cracked up when I read your list, after I cursed you for nabbing the GR yet again!! Then your friend's list was just perfect. Do lend him to me as I have a few people he can add to his list! Seeing the Taj Mahal would be wonderful. Still on my list is to return to the UK again for an extended stay. I want to see the village where I lived one more time. I want to become a published author and I would be happy just to make enough to get me out of Wal-Mart Hell! (Trust me, it would not take much money!) I would like to record a gospel album for my mother. She is very proud of my opera career, but she really loves it when I sing gospel or spirituals at her little church in Alabama. I want to visit Australia once before I die. A photo safari to Africa. I want my niece and two nephews to find the work they were meant to do and to love doing it. I want them to find the perfect person to travel through live with. I want my mother to live long enough to see me published so she will stop worrying about me. Something really shallow? I want to attend a Romantic Times Convention and see the Mr. Romance contest!

Beth said...

Great list, Jo!! I too love babies and I think my teenagers are tons of fun *g*

Let's see, my list would be:

1. To encourage my kids to go for their dreams and if I can, help them succeed

2. To help my husband make his business a success

3. To travel across the US, taking plenty of time for detours

4. To add to our family through adoption

5. To be a New York Times bestselling author ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, dear, clearly nobody wants to read about the great white whale with me (although after all my Christmas chocolate, I think there might be TWO GWWs in that scenario - g). I think I want to read it because it's one of those books people talk about but generally have never read. I used to say to people about my writing that I wasn't writing 'War and Peace'. Eventually a very smart friend suggested I read W&P because I talked about it all the time. I did and I thought it was wonderful. I'm hoping for the same experience with MD. But W&P at its heart is a series of love stories (hmm, strangely I like that!). I'm guessing MD isn't.

Hey, loving everyone's lists. Caren, yours is great. Can I come?

Hey, Pam, come to Australia!!!

jo robertson said...

Yes, Suz, that's the number. Plus Dad had all of these old WWII songs and I found them very rousing. He'd turn over in his grave if he knew what a pacifist I've become LOL.

Kirsten, too funny. I meant 12 hours AFTER the last person came in before me, which would be a 24-hour marathon. That's pretty bad, huh, says she who knows NOTHING about marathons.

jo robertson said...

Wait, wait, wait, doglady. You slipped that little ditty in there quite sneakily. Tell us about your opera experience!

jo robertson said...

Man, Suz, I'd settle for Ireland for ONE month!

Hmmmm, I have a couple of single sons and I believe they find redheads interesting.

jo robertson said...

Beth, adoption, what an admirable course to take. My Kennan intends to add to her family, too, with older, harder-to-adopt children.

jo robertson said...

Anna, not unless you consider an obsession with a great, white whale a love story. Hmmmm.

Helen said...

What a beautiful post Jo
Congrats p226 on the GR look after him

I totally agree Jo grandchildren are just so special my two keep me busy but I wouldn't have it any other way I love them.
My wishes
To see my children all happy in whatever they wish to do
I would love to travel the world esepecially England Scotland and Ireland
I would also really love to travel around Australia with my Hubby
And I really want to see my grandchildren grow up my daughters to have some for me and then great grandchildren.
Have Fun

Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT Post, Jo-Mama!
And GREAT LISTS, Everyone! Esp. those of you who include TRAVEL! That is always #1 on any list your old Aunty contemplates.

For anyone who has NOT been on a cruise, I HIGHLY recommend one! The Panama Canal is my #1 cruise destination right now.

Suz, I've been on two Alaskan cruises and trust me, it is NOT that cold. First off, they only cruise there May--Sept. and secondly, they are on the coast, which doesn't get nearly as cold as the interior. The most I needed to stay warm was short-sleeved t, long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt. Oh, and a rain poncho!

Dianna, I can't think of any cruise lines that go out of WVa, :-) but there are some that sail out of Charleston, SC. And of course, there's NYC and all over Florida. Save up your pennies. Overall, cruises are a pretty economical way to travel since room, food, entertainment and all are included.

Buffie, may I recommend the Cinque Terra in Italy? The beaches aren't really sandy but they are SPECTACULAR! Oh, and I rode a camel once in Tangiers, Morocco. Hard to say which smelled worse, the camel or its handler.

Congrats on the GR, p226! My list contains some of the same things as yours (oink, oink) AND your buddy's! Yes, I'm a blood-thirsty old broad. Why do you think I write suspense?

I'd LOVE to go back to Ireland, and China, and Australia. I'd like to see New Zealand, and Rio de Janiero, and Mt. Kilamanjaro. I'll leave the marathons to the DH, who has run a double marathon (yes, that 52 miles) before.

But mostly, I want to see MY BOOK on the shelves, which I WILL in 2008!!! And, selfishly, here's hoping it sells! A LOT!


Jennifer Y. said... no particular order

1. Get married
2. Have children
3. Visit every state in the US
4. Travel outside the US to Scotland, Australia, England, New Zealand, etc....or visit every continent
5. Finish all the books in my TBR Mountain....LOL.

Christie Kelley said...

Finally I'm back home and now I have to decide what I want to do before I die??? Really??

And p226, I'd be worried about your friend's list too.

Hmm, my bucklist:

1. To encourage and see both my boys succeed in life.

2. To hold a granddaughter (since I never had a girl)

3. To visit the British Isles

4. To see my name on the NY Times bestseller's list.

5. To finish this *&^^& house!

jo robertson said...

Christie, sorry to put so much pressure on you LOL, but those of who who are OLDER, think of such things. I wish for your house to be finished too! And I'll lend you my granddaughter Annie, who really is amazing, but only for an hour. I'm selfish!

Uh, I just noticed that Anna changed p226's moniker to p225. Does that mean he's schizophrenic?

jo robertson said...

Jennifer, if you're anything like the rest of us, I imagine finishing the TBR pile is the greatest challenge. Mine is so deep that I order books I already have!

AC, O Queen of Cruises, I bow to your superior knowledge. Hmmm, maybe I'll stow away on the Panama cruise with you!

jo robertson said...

We should have a Romance Bandit get-together in Scotland, Ireland, and English, Helen. So many of us want to visit or live there!

Joan said...

I am...ahem...turning a landmark age my next birthday in April. I am DETERMINED to go someplace special.

I found an 8 day tour with a "private" driver but minimum 8 people.....

Joan said...

Oops...forgot to Ireland!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi all -

My bucket list is bottomless, I hope. I keep adding to it and as much as I want to accomplish things before I die - I don't to be so satisfied that I can't add more *g*. Does that make sense?

1. I want my kids to marry and be as much in love with their spouses as I am with my husband - and I want them to move out of the house!

2. Grandkids - yes, I want some of those. Can't wait to read & sing & cuddle the little bundles.

3. Travel - anywhere & everywhere. There's so many fascinating places in the US that I haven't seen. I want to see Europe - heck I want to own a residence there that I can retreat to *g*.

4. No bungee jumping, thank you. No dead-defying roller coasters, either. I'd like to ride somewhere behind a handsome hunk on a motorcycle though. And go up on a hot air balloon ride - preferably over wine country - preferably with a bottle of wine.

5. I want to fly first class somewhere, anywhere - and read autographed books by other banditas on the trip.

Not sure I'll accomplish everything I want in 2008, but I plan to be able to look back on 12/31/08 and cross off a few destinations, experiences, off my list.

p226 said...

Uh, I just noticed that Anna changed p226's moniker to p225. Does that mean he's schizophrenic?

Nono, just single-stack versus double-stack.


I think only Cassondra will get that one.

jo robertson said...

P226, I'm sure it has something to do with ammunition, but uh, not sure what KIND!

Donna, you always make me laugh. Getting the kids out of the house is an ambition devoutly to be wished for!

How beautiful that you wish for the same kind of love for your children. When I think of how terribly lucky I was to find the one person who'd adore me, think me beautiful, and far smarter than I am, I feel very fortunate, too!

And a bottomless bucket list sounds very smart!

Gillian Layne said...

First of all, Christie Kelly, I'm SO with you on finishing the #%@$ house! I'd love to ring out 2008 with this place done--we've been working it over for years.

I just wrapped up my "last" Christmas of our Xmas season with my parents today, and after such a great day I know my list is pretty short.

Egypt. Once the kids are grown and settled....

A couple of months in Ireland, England, Scotland. Enough time to be able to spend a day lolling about a loch with a bottle of scotch and darling hubby and not worry I'm "wasting" a day of my trip.

2008 is time to submit. I've written the book, and am wrapping up the polishing edits. Time to bite the bullet and send it out :)

Maybe in '08 I'll stay up late enough at night to grab that GR...of course, SE Kansas is known for its fried chicken, so he may be safer somewhere else ;)

Kate Carlisle said...

I think I'm with Tawny here. I have no intention of dying! LOL

Having said that, I still need to ... ride a bicycle through the Loire Valley ... live in Scotland--on a bluff overlooking the sea, please! ... own a winery ... be a spy ... see my name on the NYT list ... quit the day job to be a full-time working writer who lives on a bluff in Scotland overlooking the sea ... perfect!

Congrats on snapping up the GR, p226!!

MsHellion said...

1. Get published in book form (I do have a couple published articles now that I think about it...but I want my BOOK published.)

2. Get married. I kinda want this--this would depend on the person I would be marrying of course, but I've always wanted to do it at least once. Probably in Vegas. Probably like that Friends episode where Ross and Rachel didn't realize they'd done it. Yeah, I can see that happening.

3. Have a kid. I have to put this down since "Call of the Womb" hits me every 8 weeks or so. It's weird. I would have less time to write...and I certainly would see the gym EVEN less than I do now.

4. Go to Scotland. (Possibly of the things listed: the most accomplishable.)

5. Go to Hogwarts (when they build it in Orlando.) God, do I love Harry Potter! Plus it'll be right next door to Disney World and I can go ride on Pirates of the Caribbean--I've always wanted to do that too.

Kennan said...

here is my list:

1. make a folk album with my hubbie
2. go on a charity mission overseas
3. get another degree
4. become an expert ballroom dancer!
5. learn piano and music theory

there are a ton more, of course. i've enjoyed reading all of yours!

jo robertson said...

Since Jo is my mate I thought I would enter my own list: I would not want to see my wife hanging from a bouncing cord from any bridge! I might kick the bucket early if I saw my wife tap dancing, maybe from laughter. I would like to hear her compose and play a song, she had wonderful musical talent, might prefer it played on the ukulele I have in my office that was used to woo her! I must see her published! Maybe avoid the IRS audit on the expenses we incurred to Old Course St. Andrews. (The crime was my golf game!) Finally, She wanted to hold a newborn baby and all I want is to be able to again perform the process that produces this wonder!

megan said...

If Jo's hubby could win, I vote for him! That was a riot! I know where I got my sense of humor!

For my Bucket List I would have to say teach 2nd grade, but then I would have to go to school and learn and all that stuff so I'll stick to raising my two beautiful kids! Oh, mom, (Jo) in 8 months you will get to cross off one of your bucket list items!

Did I scare you? No, I am not really pregnant. That is actually something on my Bucket List but my hubby claims we are set with our two. So, happy trying!