Lessons from the Movies: The Bucket List

My eyes are a little swollen and red rimmed.  I just finished watching The Bucket List.  No one told me that the guy died.  I get that it’s better for the story, it’s more realistic, whatever you want to throw my way as a reason; however, I don’t like when people die.  Now I know why I love Disney type movies.  People don’t die in them; at least, not any characters that I’m emotionally invested in.

The Bucket List

The Bucket List

None of that was the point.  The point is that watching that movie has been on my to-do list.  I’m all about adventure and making sure that we live our lives instead of just existing on this plane of existence.  We are here to enjoy, to make the best of, to help others and to enrich.

Short of the part where I cried, it was a great movie.  I loved how two people could come together over a common bond, and it really exemplifies that sometimes our greatest friends are not like us, but in fact, totally different from us.  It shows that there are lessons to be learned everywhere you look and that sometimes, it’s the simplest things that make all of the difference.

This got me thinking – I love my bucket list – I should share it!  So, in honor of this – instead of boring you with the lessons I learned from the movies, I’m sharing my bucket list with you!

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My bucket list is ever changing, and I hope it always does!  I read something the other day (could have been on Yahoo!, could have been another blog and it could have been in a book, it’s hard to keep straight everything I’ve read!) the point is, I read it, and it mentioned, if you have a bucket list, get to working on it!  If you don’t, then start one, and then get to working on it!

Yes, I know, there are tons of blogs, websites and countless suggestions when it comes to a bucket list.  This is not one of them.  I’m just narcissistic and assume that you want to know all of the details about my life! It’s not in a specific order, as I rearrange it every time I write it!

Catching a game in the new stadium, view from the suite.

Catching a game in the new stadium, view from the suite.

  1. See Meatloaf in concert – CHECK
  2. Visit a haunted house (I swear I lived in a haunted apartment, but that doesn’t count)
  3. Ride in a hot air balloon
  4. Go skydiving – CHECK
  5. See Cowboy game in new stadium – CHECK
  6. See the Northern Lights
  7. Plant a tree (technically I’ve done this, but it died… so it doesn’t count!)
  8. Go snorkeling
  9. Fly in a helicopter
  10. Ride The Titan at Six Flags – CHECK
  11. Ride The Texas Giant at Six Flags – CHECK
  12. Visit a castle
  13. Fly a kite, again
  14. Visit Statue of Liberty
  15. Have dinner in a location that overlooks the city
  16. Swim in an ocean – CHECK
  17. Go on a camping trip – CHECK
  18. Make homemade jam
  19. Dance in the rain – CHECK
  20. Get in a taxi and yell “follow that car!”
  21. Taste fried ice cream
  22. Kiss in the rain
  23. Zipline down the old Vegas Strip (scheduled for 2014!!)
  24. Spend the night in a haunted house
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Here’s my favorite shot from when I went to the Meatloaf concert. I’m really hoping his farewell tour comes close enough that I can go again!

It’s not a lot, and there are some simple things on my list, but the point is, I have a list and I am checking it twice.  Oh, wait, wrong list!  I have a list; it’s a list of what I want to do, not what the world thinks I should do.  My list has some seemingly simple items on it, and some that you’ll be surprised to discover that I’m scared to do (fried ice cream, really, it just doesn’t make sense.) I will do them, though.  Eventually.  And, occasionally, I’ll add more items.  And, sometimes I’ll do something that is bucket list worthy, so I’ll add it – just to cross it off.  Just to say “I DID IT!”

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you start one.  And then get started on it! It’s way too much fun!

What Does “Being Brave” Mean?

My good friend Karaboo and I tend to email almost every day and share parts of our life or quotes, pictures, etc. that we’ve found interesting/funny/inspirational.  Last week she sent me a copy of Are you being brave? by Simple Mom.  This is not a blog that I follow, but I’m always up to read something new.

The blogger posed the query “Stop and think about the bravest moment in your life.” Now, most of you know what I do when told to stop and think about something, I usually don’t.  I gave it a slight pause and nothing immediately popped up, so I continued reading.  She goes on to detail her brave moment that happened while she was working on her pilot’s license.  Both of my parents have gotten their pilot’s licenses, so I know how hair-raising and gut-wrenching that can be, and I have to admit, my dad is red/green color blind.  The colors on planes (to indicate if they are coming at you or away from you) are red and green.  So, I see how that could be a momentous occasion in a person’s life.  The blogger is very adamant that you don’t compare your moment to anyone else’s; all of our life experiences are different. I appreciate her pointing that out, as we all know that my goal for this year is to stop comparing myself to others!  🙂

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I read the blog to the end.  I stopped and thought about my bravest moment.  I’ve jumped out of a plane.  I’ve ridden the Titan at Six Flags -twice (255 feet tall, speed exceeding 85 mph, those are stats that I’m really glad I didn’t know beforehand!), I’ve swam in an ocean, given birth and I’ve taken multiple road trips with my family. These are all big, brave things in my world.

It was time to answer Karaboo’s email… “I love this!  And while I respect her journey, and the big brave thing she did – there are days that sometimes just making it through the day makes me feel brave!”

Sometimes it is hard to pull the trigger and hit send on an email when you don’t know what reaction the other side is expecting from you!

Bravery (1)

Oh thank goodness! Karaboo agreed with me!  I should have known her thoughts were going in the same direction as mine.  Karaboo sent back that she was thinking that it was brave to be a single mom, or a step-mom.  Working from home or accepting a job that you have no experience at.  “What about the 100’s of little things we all do each and every day that others don’t see as brave, but was brave for us.”

So, to answer Simple Mom’s query, and as I told Karaboo, I love the big adventures, and they make great stories and very, very memorable moments, but for me, sometimes just making it through the day makes me feel brave.  Walking into a room where I don’t know anyone makes me feel brave.  Attempting to make cookies after dinner really makes me feel brave.  Hearing my son tell me he loves me makes me feel brave.  Writing this blog makes me feel brave.  It means that I stood up and faced the day, faced my fears and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

I’d ask you all to stop and think about your bravest moment… but, we know I hate that – however, I will tell you feel free to share your bravery below!

Here's wishing you all be brave!

Here’s wishing you all be brave!

Lessons from the Movies: Lord of the Rings

I love movies.  I mean, really love movies.  I prefer action and comedy, I’ve been known to watch a chick flick or two and I still love cartoons and animation.  I’m dying for Despicable Me 2 and I want my own minions – I’m just saying.

Anyway, Mr. T and I went and watched The Hobbit the other day.  It was awesome!  I’m a big Sci Fi and Fantasy lover – and Mr. T has been good about indulging my Sci Fi addiction, but he was never really interested in Fantasy (apparently vampires don’t count, cause that dude loves the series Angel more than I do!  When Christian Kane comes up in conversation, Mr. T doesn’t mention his latest series, Leverage, he always mentions Angel!  Ladies, seriously, go Google Christian Kane… trust me!)

Squirrel!!  We saw The Hobbit and it was awesome.  When we left the theatre I suggested that we borrow the Lord of the Rings trilogy from his uncle and watch that.  We did.  Now, since Mr. T won’t indulge my Fantasy cravings (and boy, does that sound wrong!!) I’ve never seen these movies.  We sat down on a Sunday night and made it through the first two, and finished up on Monday night with the third.  I really enjoyed them.

Now, I have not searched this, refused to find any other blogs related to this, so if I’m covering old material and someone else has made this point, please forgive me.  Also, I get that I should be talking about the book, but unlike The Hobbit, I’ve never read the Lord of the Ring books, so we have to go with the movie version.

Ringstrilogyposter

I liked Frodo, and as the “main” character, I could see why people talked about him; however, I LOVED Sam, the best friend character played by Sean Astin.  Sam was there, every step of the way, always treated Mr. Frodo with respect and never seemed to mind that Frodo was going to get all of the attention.  Sam put up with tons of crap, from the other characters, from that Gollum and from Frodo himself.  Towards the end of the third movie, he impressed me most.  They are on the volcano and Frodo just can’t walk any further and Sam says “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you”.

This resonated with me.  I’m a big believer that everyone has their own journey, their path to walk and that I should be here to help them along the way.  I’ve told my friends how pleased I am to be part of their journey and tried to be there for them during the flowers blooming stages and there when they stumbled and needed help over the uneven ground.

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

I’m not a patient person.  Now, I will so very gladly admit that I am a lot more patient now than I was 15 years ago.  Having a kid can do that to you.  I have no choice but to slow down.  To let him tie his own shoes, dress himself and figure things out on his own.  But do I apply this to the rest of my life?  As I was watching the movie, I was pissed at Sam.  The end result is that the ring has to be destroyed (oh, oops, spoiler alert) and that is all that will save Middle Earth.  So, when Frodo stumbled and fell, I could picture myself there, and seriously, I’m not sure that I would be as wise as Sam was.  I wanted Sam to just grab the ring and go toss it in the fire.  I mean, really, they’ve made it that far; the ring has to be destroyed.  It’s a no-brainer.  In the back of my brain, I understood what Sam was doing – he was letting Frodo walk his own path, continue his own journey – but my overwhelming feeling was for Sam to just get the ring and destroy it.

Instead, with much wisdom, Sam told Frodo “I can’t carry it, but I can carry you”. I hope that I can be the friend, mother, sister, aunt and daughter that will allow people to walk their own path and carry them when they can’t go on instead of getting frustrated and doing it for them. I hope that I can be the type of person that is okay standing in the background while others get the spotlight.  I hope that I gain the wisdom to see and act as Sam did.

Of course, Frodo irritated me even further when he couldn’t go back to living his life again after that adventure and took off – but, that’s for another time.

Google is Not Your Friend

I’m an expert Googler.  Yes, it’s a real word, Google it.  Okay, I don’t know if it’s a real, real word, but you know what I mean, so that counts.

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Having a world of information at our fingertips is not always a good thing.  Let me just tell you up front, if you don’t feel well, don’t check WebMD.  Just trust me on that one.  But, that’s not my point.  My point is that I don’t know that the information overload is what is best for us. 

While I am a very optimistic and happy person, I’m also a realist and like a lot of information.  I like to be well informed.  I had a friend call the other day and was surprised when I didn’t know an answer to something.  She said that I always know everything – not that I’m a know-it-all – we cleared that point up, but that I’m a veritable fountain of information.  Jack of all trades, master of none is how I refer to myself.  (Of course, I use it positively, vs. the negative connotation that is frequently used in that context!)

I enjoy a cup of coffee at my elbow, my laptop in front of me and my fingers flying over the keyboard as I search for one thing or another.  I do frequent searches as it relates to work.  I do even more searches when it comes to personal time.  Just yesterday I searched for the following information: home office deduction, standard tax deduction, how to spell elicit, brain natriuretic peptide, and pneumonia with heart failure. 

Needless to say, some of the answers were not what I wanted to hear, err, read.  I’ve mentioned before that Lee, my 27 yr. old brother has congestive heart failure (CHF) brought on by his cardiomyopathy.  We hit the 6 month mark just the other week and he’s holding his own.  In a few months they will go in and implant a defibrillator.  The next step after that is to get him on the heart transplant list.  That’s the history.  He’s living with mom and dad currently, as that is just the best situation.  I’m getting back to my point, I promise. 

So yesterday mom came downstairs and turned on the living room light, and then went “eek” and turned the light back off.  Apparently Lee wasn’t feeling well and had gotten up and dressed and gathered his stuff so that he could go to the hospital with her that morning (reminder, mom works at a hospital).  He was sitting on the couch, resting, in the dark, waiting for her to come downstairs and he startled her.  I’m sure “startled” is putting it mildly. 

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They drove in and stopped at the ER.  I got a call from dad about 9 am to give me the update and ask me to go let the dogs out at their house in about an hour.  The rest of the day was me passing along updates to my friends and family.  In order to do that, I had to Google some terms.  You know those terms that you just know – but those that don’t deal with CHF wouldn’t know.  So, when dad texted me ‘BNP=1000, severe heart failure=900’ – I know that means that Lee’s hormone marker shows he’s past severe heart failure – this is the point where he would be turning blue.  But, I had to be able to dilute that and make it understandable for friends and family.  So, I Googled brain natriuretic peptide to make sure I was explaining it correctly.  My next text from dad was ‘current DX is bronchitis/pneumonia’.  Okay, diagnosed with upper respiratory infection and a lung infection.  Well, that’s not good.  A lung infection interferes with your breathing, makes it harder for your heart to pump the blood to your body.  Huh, that can’t be good to someone who already has a weak heart.  Now I had to Google the combo of CHF and pneumonia. 

Yeah, I shouldn’t have done that. 

Now, I know I’m not the only one that does this; I frequently get texts from friends telling me they shouldn’t have Googled.  One friend in particular I frequently have to tell to just “Step away from the Google.  Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!”

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This leads me to the only conclusion that is logical: Google is not your friend.  It will not call you once a year to wish you a Happy Birthday. It will not send a Get Well card and it will not randomly call to check on how you are doing. 

So, Google, as much as I love you, I need a break.  You just aren’t my friend.