Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

He's an orthopedic surgeon, she's a Diva. Together we call them the Diva and the Doc, and they are our best friends and favorite couple to date (as in go out with). They helped me check off #1 on my Bucket List.

I love awards shows, and every year when she's not on the red carpet herself, (yes, she's attended), she gives a party in honor of the biggest award night of the season: Academy Awards. Movie buffs get together at her house to see which actors take home the Oscar. It had been my bad fortune that every time she gave this party, something always came up to keep me away.

This year, the universe shifted off its axis and the stars aligned (pun intended), and I was free to go to the Diva's for Oscar Night. That is, until a meteor came crashing down blasting my hopes and dreams to bits and pieces. She had decided not to give it this year.

But being the Diva that she is, she saw how disheartened I was and she regrouped. She cooked a prize-winning meal and served up her infamous Diva-tini's just for little old me. She even had gold medals to give to whoever predicted a category correctly. The one with the most medals at the end of the evening would receive a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

And the winner was . . . Sarge! whose attitude is, "If it doesn't have sex and violence, then it's not a realistic movie." So I wonder why he won't take me to the shooting range. Hmmm.

Anyway, I feel like I won, too, the minute I stepped up to the Diva and the Doc's door. Their graciousness made me feel like a champion. I thank God they are in our lives.
That's a pic of the Diva with her co-host this year, Jon Stewart.

The foregoing was one of my favorite vintage posts. I hope you enjoyed it as well as I take some time off for a writing week. Please check out the progress on my WIP at the very bottom of the page! Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon for new and exciting Bucket List adventures!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

GREEN LITE redux

While I do my Christmas shopping, please enjoy a previous post that's still relevant today.


GREEN LITE

I saved the planet today. Single-handedly. Scratch number 58 off my list.

I am woman, see me pampered. Some might call me a spoiled brat, but I object. That's hearsay, Your Honor.

I hear from PlanetGreenTV that my carbon footprint is probably larger than my actual footprint, so that's why today, I did my part for the greening of America: I actually walked to Starbucks to get my tall-decaf-sugar-free-hazelnut-soy latte in a biodegradable paper cup. Mmmm . . . extra delish since I worked so hard to get it. You should try it. Walking, that is. And the latte, too. Nowadays, if you use a registered Starbucks gift card, all your extras like hazelnut and soy are free. Maybe I should have gotten a grande.
But back to saving the planet one day at a time.

Feeling really pepped up after 3% caffeine, I walked around the corner from Starbucks to get a pedicure. That's my contribution to the beautification of America.

While drying my toes (and to show off my pedi) I decided to walk another block to the bank. I made a withdrawal just to further fuel the economy, and for no other reason. Seriously.

Saving an entire planet takes a lot out of a girl, I thought, as I started back home. That's when it hit me: now I have to walk the 7 blocks back home! Ah well, at least I'm not contributing carbon emission to an already smoggy Southern California.

When I arrived home drenched in sweat, I plopped down on the leather sofa in the man-cave and reported to Sarge (that's his occupation, not his name) what I did to go green.

"Well, it's not like you switched out all our old light bulbs for compact fluorescent ones like I did," he said quite dismissively. "Sounds like you only went lite green, honey. Try again." Then he quickly returned his attention to ESPN.

"Bonehead," I muttered under my breath.
"What's that?"
"I said I'm gon' head to the kitchen. Want something?"

I made my way to the kitchen thanking God that I am able to walk; some people can't. I have learned to take nothing for granted.

Will I walk to Starbucks tomorrow? Probably not. Will I ever walk there again? Definitely yes, and next time I'll bring a reusable cup with me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Volcano Surprise!

Have you ever wanted to bike down the side of a volcano at the crack of dawn?

Well, neither did my kids, and neither did Sarge, the sleep-deprived spousal unit; sleep-deprived because we had to wake up at 2 a.m. to get this particular party started.

Maui Mountain Riders' van picked the four of us up from our rented condo on Maui, and we rode two and a half hours (Surprise!) to the summit of Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We had dressed in layers because the higher the altitude, the colder it is, and we were going to be 6000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, we were promptly escorted to the rim of the crater, which is the best place to watch the sun rise, half the purpose of our jaunt. It was a spectacularly awesome sight, the oranges and yellows against the pitch black of night.

As soon as the sun rose, the temperature began to change, and we peeled off our first layer of clothing in preparation for the bike ride down the side of the volcano.

My daughter wasn't the only one that was afraid once the sun illuminated just how steep the side of the mountain was. How fast would our bikes go? Would the brakes be strong enough to slow such a steep descent? Would we crash into other bikers along the way? What time was breakfast? (This last question was from Sarge.)

After we were fitted to our bikes, Sarge and our son -- being the manly macho men with machismo that they were and are -- led the biking brigade onward and downward. The good news is there was not much need to pedal as it was literally ALL downhill. The bad news is, there were lots of switchbacks we had to maneuver, and one lady in our group made her way in front of my daughter, then rode her brakes, stop-and-go, stop-and-go. I gestured for my daughter to follow me around her, then it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. We went at OUR pace.

Along the 28-mile ride, we pedaled through some pretty neat towns. One was a plantation town built in the late 1800's and made completely of wood. The next town is where they served us breakfast.

We continued our ride through the town of Haliimaile, then down to the Pacific Ocean, where they packed up our bikes while we peeled off more layers and enjoyed the surf.

They drove us back at the condo by 10 a.m. where we were ready for a much needed nap, but not before I crossed Number 71 off my Bucket List, bike down a volcano in Maui.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FROM CANCER TO OPRAH


This is a very moving story of how one writer got not on just ANY Oprah show, but Oprah's Favorite Things Show. Read her story here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FAMILY PHOTO

What's harder than understanding credit default swap derivatives? Getting your extended relatives together for a family photo, that's what.

After 23 initial phone calls, 17 follow-up Emails, 15 subsequent texts and a blogpost, I finally gathered together 4 nephews and 9 nieces from colleges all across America, 6 daughters-in-law (of which I am one) 7 brothers, a matriarch, a patriarch and a partridge in a pear tree.

Family Photo, Number 27 on my Bucket List.




Friday, December 3, 2010

Bucket List, the Movie


Anything goes on FREE FALL FRIDAY here at Adventure Salon. Today, you can watch Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson star in Bucket List for free without downloading it here.

If you've never seen it, it's about a corporate billionaire (Nicholson) who ends up sharing a hospital room with a working class Joe (Freeman). They decide to forget that they are both terminally ill, and proceed to do everything they ever wanted to do, ever, before they kick the bucket.

If this doesn't inspire you to get your own bucket list, nothing will. Well worth a look-see!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Crab and a Lobster walk into a bar . . .

. . . but more about that later.

On the recommendation of a fellow writer who knows my work, I applied for the PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellowship. I filled out the application -- 60 pages, by the way, including a writing sample -- and sent it on its merry way. I waited on tenterhooks for two months and FINALLY, FINALLY I got the call. Out of hundreds of applicants, I'd made it to the fourteen finalists. After interviewing each of the fourteen, only five would be chosen for the EV Fellowship.

Some times, some things you dream about, pray for, and plan on just aren't meant to be; but then sometimes you get exactly what you need. Someone should write a song about that . . . The Rolling Stones, perhaps?

A week after my interview, I get another call: I didn't get the fellowship. And when you see the type of writers who won it, you'll understand that I was lucky and blessed to have made it to the finals. (A PhD, a BFA, a filmmaker and two internationals among them.)

I was, however, awarded the PEN Community Access Scholarship -- of which they only give out ONE per year -- and that is more than a consolation prize. That's like ordering King Crab, but getting Maine Lobster instead. They are both crustaceans.

A crab and a lobster walk into a bar . . . and I got a scholarship to the UCLA Writer's Program, Number 120 on my Bucket list.

Friday, November 26, 2010

COMMENT CONTEST WINNER!


injaynesworld

And the winner is...................................................

the $25 Amazon Gift Certificate goes to..................

Jayne Martin over at InJaynesWorld !!!!!!




(*winner randomly selected by entering all commenters' names into Random.org)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get to the Getty


It was Baby's day out -- even though my Baby is now a 25 year-old woman -- and she wanted us to go to the Getty Museum.

Good idea; we were two people who just wanted to surrender ourselves to the serenity of art and achieve a blissful state of enlightenment . . . that is, until we turned into the Getty parking lot and our sensibilities were assaulted by a swarm of bee yellow school buses. I could just imagine unruly kids running around ruining our day by making noises as annoying as vuvuzelas.

Undeterred, we trudged onward and upward. Literally. The five-minute horizontal tram ride from the lot elevated us out of our dread, and transported us on a cushion of air to a place that was like another world. The architecture of the place was stunningly symmetrical, which lends itself to a certain symmetry, and we all know symmetry soothes the savage beast. Symmetrically.

The Making of a Bronze Sculpture exhibit was fascinating. It had never occurred to me how sculptures were made and that they started with an iron skeleton. From Foundry to Finish is a must-see if you ever get to the Getty.

We stopped for some fine dining at The Restaurant. Yes, that's the name of it. For all the creativity in and around the museum, I guess they opted for simplicity when naming the restaurant.

Still Life Photography was next, and I found it intriguing how artists pose everyday objects to portray some meaning bigger than their sum total. I think I could do that (and by "I could do that," I mean watch someone else do it). We also saw some medieval and renaissance paintings and decorative arts, which I can never get enough of. The older the art, the more I like it. How they make a 700 year-old painting look like new I'll never know. They should have a tour on that. By the way, we opted not to take any of the organized tours, but you have the option of that, or the GettyGuide do-it-yourself map, which is printed in every language, in large print, and in Braille.

Also at The J. Paul Getty Museum (not the one in Malibu, mind you), admission if free! File that under Things You Could Have Told Me Yesterday And I Would Have Been There Sooner. It's also one of the few museums where you can take pictures of the art as long as you don't use flash photography.

If you ever visit L.A., make sure you get to The Getty Center and explore the splendor that is its 750-acre expanse. This is me crossing Number 118 off of my Bucket List.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conan O'Brien's First Guest



On Free Fall Friday, absolutely anything goes, even me. Apparently, not only did I go on the Conan O'Brien show, I was his very first guest of his very first show on TBS! Except no one bothered to inform me.

Well, it wasn't exactly me, but someone with my same exact name. Only she's also known as The Nutcracker Lady, too.

Counting my blessings........


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY


................where you write the caption.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NaNoWriMo


I know NaNoWriMo sounds like something Robin Williams would say in the TV show Mork and Mindy, but it's actually an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month.

I know there are a lot of writers who follow this blog, and I'm sure they are aware of NaNoWriMo, but for those who don't know, it's a literary event that urges you to write 50,000 words in one month. This month. The month of November.You can read more about it here.

If you want to check "write that novel" off of your Bucket list, here's your chance to do it.

Don't just sit there, write something. Begin with an entry into the Comment Contest (details on the sidebar).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY


..............WHERE YOU WRITE THE CAPTION
(photo courtesy of Ivan Walsh)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A CLEVER MISTAKE

"I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones." ~John Peel

Going to see Michele Obama up close and personal is Number 16 on my Bucket List. Well, by a very, very clever mistake, that dream was made real.

It all began when I heard Michele was going to be at Maria Shriver's annual Women's Conference in Long Beach, Ca., but the event was sold out. Michele is so popular! (Yes, we're on a first name basis, but don't be jealous, Oprah. I still love you.)

And then I learned our First Lady was hitting the campaign trail on behalf of California Senator Barbara Boxer, and would be appearing at the Wilshire Ebell theater here in L.A. that same week.

So with one of my BFF's in tow -- The Diva -- we ordered our tickets online, choosing the mid-level priced seating because we didn't want to be so far back that Michele was just a dot in the distance.

When we arrive, of course there's a line around the block, but eagle-eyed Diva quickly discerns that if you have a handicapped placard, you go to the front of the line. She does, so we did. That was a bit of a blessing, but now on to the greatest mistake ever.

We walk up to the check-in table, give our names, and -- wonders never cease -- they have erroneously bumped me up to VIP status. The bad news is they don't have The Diva's name at all.

Fast on our feet, a cheerful but serious exchange of words with the ticket lady occurs. After all, I don't want to lose my newfound VIP status, I just want The Diva to get hers, too. Talk about pushing it to the limit.

After some checking and re-checking, the ticket lady is persuaded to give us both VIP wristbands, then an usher leads us to the center section, third row from the stage! The Diva and I immediately start texting family and friends to share our good fortune, when all of a sudden a tap comes on my shoulder, as I am in the aisle seat. "Would you two like to sit in the front row?" comes the sweetest voice you've ever heard. The front row, I'm thinking to myself; but before I can finish the thought, The Diva is up and headed to the front row, with me now in tow.

When Michele took the stage, I was awestruck. She is as beautiful as she is tall. . . and a better speaker than the president. She could be a motivational speaker. In fact, she is.

Bonus! Babyface performed, and Dr. Jill Biden was there and spoke, also. All I can say is check out the pictures of our Second Lady from the slide show on the side bar; Joe married up.

I don't know what happened, whose mistake it was, or whether it was The Secret at work in the universe; I just know that now I can cross Number 116 off of my bucket list.

Friday, October 29, 2010

FREE FALL FRIDAY

On Free Fall Fridays, I go with the flow, and this time the tide took me to a woman after my own heart. Read this short piece and compare her adventure in London and Paris to my own, or your own. She could be me, I could be her we could be we...Oh. We are we.

What's on your Bucket List?

Don't forget to comment and be entered into the Comment Contest. Details on the sidebar.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Occasionally on Manic Mondays, instead of talking about my own adventures, I highlight the journey of others. This week in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am thrilled to introduce you to Denise Roberts, the founder of The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation, the only foundation that I'm aware of that caters to women AND men of color who are typically underserved.

I sat down with her recently here at Adventure Salon (AS) to chat about what she considers her mission in life.

AS - Welcome Denise. Let's get right to it. What made you decide to become a warrior for breast cancer awareness?

DR - Well, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 at the age of 35.

AS - Wow. That's kind of young.

DR - Yes, but I had a successful surgery to remove the cancer, then vowed to become a warrior to spread the word of early detection.

AS - So, there are a lot of cancer foundations out there; what makes yours unique?

DR - We provide mammogram resources for women and men who are underinsured or have no health insurance at all. TDRBCF.org will pay for the procedure. I know of no other foundation that does that. We also provide support to the women and their families through our established programs, a 24-hour toll free hotline and our website which provides access to healthier food options, access to pap exams. We encourage people to be more proactive about their
total health.

AS - Sounds like you cover all bases. What's your hope for the future?

DR - Well, a cure of course, but in the meantime, access to early detection breast screenings in EVERY community. I want to educate the underprivileged and replace their fear with knowledge, and therefore gain empowerment.

AS - With your passion, I am sure you will do just that. On a lighter note: What's your favorite word?

DR - "FABULOUS," darling. Makes me feel good just to say it, which gives me the energy to keep fighting for others.

AS -Fabulous!

DR - (Laughs)

AS - And last but not least. . . What's on your bucket list?

DR - A talk show and a gossip magazine,
Diva Speaks.

AS - I'd read it! You have such a zest for life, Denise. Thank you for being here.

***

I wrote today's post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing Blanket Tour for Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN (www.dianaraab.com). The book includes Diana's experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal stories. A survivor of both breast cancer and multitple myeloma, Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin -- in that it heals, detoxifies and is essential for optimal health.

Diana, the author of eight books, spent 25 years as a medical and self-help writer before turning to poetry and memoir. She teaches creative journaling and memoir in UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

If you comment on today's post you'll be entered to win a copy of Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey. To read Diana's post about breast cancer and a list of other blogs participating in Diana's Blanket Tour, visit The muffin.

***
Also, if you comment on today's post, you'll be entered into Adventure Salon's Comment Contest. It's a win/win situation!



Friday, October 22, 2010

COMMENT CONTEST


Adventure Salon is holding a contest to reward one of its loyal readers with a $25 Amazon Gift Card, and it's easy to win! So simple, a cat could do it.

There are two, count them TWO ways to win. All you have to do is leave a comment on any post you choose here at Adventure Salon. The more you comment, the higher your chances of winning. You could be Christmas shopping at Amazon.com before you know it!

But wait . . . there's more!

If you become one of my followers on Twitter, @MsALWalker, your name will be entered yet again. Just leave a comment on Adventure Salon letting me know you are now a follower, and you'll have two entries, and therefore, two more chances to win! If you already follow me on Twitter, your work here is almost done; just let me know that in a comment on the blog.

To show my camaraderie with my readers, I had a contest with myself to see just how many times I could use the word "comment" in the Comment Contest post . . . AND I WON with just eleven entries.
You, too, can be a winner just that easily!

I know you're out there; my stat counter tells me that, even though my list of subscribers/followers is woefully inaccurate. I thought about getting rid of it, but I like looking at your lovely faces.

The winner of the Comment Contest will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Monday, November 22, 2010, so you'll have one full month from today to leave more comments and increase your chances of winning.

Any questions or comments?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DOG DAY AFTERNOON BEER

Talk about your WARPED WEDNESDAY!
This was on someone's Bucket List. If it was a watermelon martini instead, it would be on mine!


Monday, October 18, 2010

LOST in Kauai

Chickens and roosters run rampant on the island of Kauai, and they're pretty, too. Those are two facts I'm surprised to learn on my visit to the colorful island.

What Sarge and I don't see on the island is the iron hatch with the DHARMA Initiative logo on it, the Black Rock pirate ship, or any of the "Others" from the TV series Lost. Nor do we hear the steel-grating sound of the Smoke Monster, even though episodes were filmed on these very shores.

Okay, that's enough reminiscences for us Lost buffs and our bent towards unsolved mysteries. (Why DID the Smoke Monster make mechanical sounds?)

Flashsideways. What we do see in Kauai is very lush greenery, the most vivid horizon, and the bluest ocean I've ever seen; more vibrant even than the Caribbean, in my humble opinion. Maybe it just seems that way because we got our trip at half-price; the catch being -- and this is a plot twist -- we have to listen to a 90-minute timeshare pitch. Spoiler Alert! We end up buying the timeshare. Who knew, she said, throwing up her hands in wonderment.

Anyway, Kauai is a great place for lovers, so you'd better love the one you're with if you decide to come here because there's not much else to do. More than half the island remains uninhabited so visitors mostly lay on the beach and go to restaurants. We are not bowled over by the island's cuisine, though, except for Gaylord's Plantation restaurant. Worth every penny.

Also worth the price of admission is the Movie Island Tour where we see the film sites of Jurassic Park, South Pacific and some of the Elvis movies.

We didn't do any filming ourselves, but we did take photos. Check out the slide show in the sidebar. Sarge got some well-deserved rest, and I was able to cross off number "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 32..." er I mean Number 78 off of my Bucket List.
(That's one last parting gift for you Losties)

What's on your bucket list?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Buried Life


I struggle to keep you -- my precious flowers . . . I mean followers -- entertained, but I'm not going to get naked and chain myself in a coffin just so you can have a good laugh. Instead, I came across something I found interesting and I hope you do, too, for I know you like to live a varied life.

Trick or treeeeeeaatt!!!!

The Buried Life of MTV


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One Krazy Kat



This is WARPED WEDNESDAY . . . where you supply the caption using the words "bucket" and "list." Kudos if you use both!



(photo courtesy of stewickie)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bleeding at the Typewriter . . .

. . . is my day gig.

It is otherwise known as the art of writing. For the first time in my life, I wrote for a week straight, Number 113 on my Bucket List -- me and my writer pal Pamela Samuels Young.

If you're a writer trying to focus, sometimes you need to get out of your own way. Los Angeles is a great place to be if you're a mogul with your own movie studio or the governator of your own state, but if you're a writer trying to hone in on her story, you need to get away from distractions of Kardashian proportions.

So Pamela and I drove to Palm Springs, writing from the moment we arrived at the house, breaking only for meals, which we never took together. Pamela worked on her fifth legal thriller, while I pecked away at my debut novel, Sput Louie, Cherokee Freedwoman.

It's historical fiction about a freed black woman, Sput Louie, who is chasing the American dream of owning her own land when she suddenly finds herself back at the mercy of her former owner, a Cherokee Indian, himself in the throes of fighting for his own dream. But love, lies and a vicious murder stand in both their ways. When a third party arrives, it becomes a nightmare of a struggle between the land-rich, the land-poor and the land-greedy.

I said we wrote from the moment we hit the door, but that's not entirely true. Ah, the unreliable narrator rears her ugly head, and she didn't even comb it first. While Pamela was writing in the living room, I did my usual writing routine: first, I spread all of my research out on the dining room table, put it in alphabetical order chronologically, from smallest to largest according to color, height and weight. Only after that bit of procrastination did I begin to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more, and the story began to bleed out of me.

It was such an invigorating experience, I'm determined not to let the momentum subside. I know that my work is less than a fourth of the way done, so I've added a word-meter widget at the bottom of my blog to showcase the pace of my WIP. I just hope it whips me in line when I'm slacking.

Strike through Number 113 on my Bucket List. I wrote for a week straight and lived to blog about it. Next time, maybe a month?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grapes of Laughs


A winery would be a perfect place to carry out a Bucket List Maneuver AND have an I Love Lucy moment with your BFF, your daughter, your mother or your sister just like this fun-loving bunch did.

What's on your Bucket List?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Clever Are You?

WARPED WEDNESDAY
...WHERE YOU WRITE THE CAPTION USING THE WORDS "BUCKET" OR "LIST," KUDOS IF YOU USE BOTH!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

OPRAH WINFREY Doesn't Know She's My Best Friend

Now here's a Bucket List idea whose time has come, going to the taping of the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I can certainly understand why Going To See Oprah would be on anyone's Bucket List, but I may as well put Going To The Moon on there because Oprah tickets are impossible to score. It's trickier than Criss Angel over a swimming pool walking on water (like hubby Sarge thinks he does); trickier than me getting a three-book deal with Simon and Shuster; trickier than having a hit TV show that doesn't have the words Law and Order attached to it; trickier than me getting a job as a joke writer.

However, someone has been lucky enough or smart enough to cop the rare seat in Harpo Studios. You can read her story here.

What's on YOUR bucket list?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

........where YOU write the caption using the words "bucket" or "list." How smart are you if you use both!
(photo courtesdy of Sister 72)

Monday, September 20, 2010

DWIGHT HOWARD

(Photo courtesy of Howardthedunk.com)

Periodically, on Martini Mondays, I highlight someone else who is living their dream, doing the do, practicing what they preach by scratching off their Bucket List item by item. Dwight Howard helped one woman to do just that. See how it all went down over at the Look to the Stars Blog
Kudos to them both!

Friday, September 17, 2010

BUCK-IT LIST


FREE FALL FRIDAY is where anything goes.

This post falls right in line with Monday's post about the Orange County Fair. Check out this Rodeo In Twin Elm, Texas (say that five times real fast) that had an event specifically for Bull Riding Bucket Listers!

What's YOUR Bucket List idea?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

. . . where you write the caption.

(Photo courtesy of Brass Pix)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fair Ladies

Life is not fair; get used to it. (Bill Gates)

Life may not be fair, but at least you can go to one. (Ms A.L. Walker)

And so that's what I did . . . I went to the Orange County Fair, and dragged my daughter along with me.

<~~~~~This is us clowning in the photo booth. I hadn't been to the County Fair in decades, so this was going to be a refresher course in how to re-live my youth. Upon entering the gates, the first thing to hit me is the sweet smell of cotton candy. While letting the pink sugar melt in my mouth, we pass by booths with BBQ corn-on-the-cob and chocolate-covered bacon. What a way to start your day! Get thee behind me, Diet Devil. As we pass through the food court, I realize that County Fairs invented supersizing, not Mickey D's. One corn dog could feed a family of four, and don't get me started on the buffalo-sized burgers, and the BBQ ribs look like they came off of bison. We then sashay over to the carnival booths -- (the snarky daughter refuses to swing her partner 'round and add in a little do-si-do) -- where I'm surprised I don't hear game barkers beckoning us to come play, but - WHEW! - I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that overstuffed animal prizes still line the walls.

We see exhibits, too, like ice sculptures, a pictorial history of the O.C. Fair (my personal favorite), and a cake decorating challenge. And who knew they had a Scrapbooking competition?! I'm entering this in next year's contest:

We do our part as conspicuous consumers, too, buying things we don't really need. Boy, those salespeople are good at what they do. We bought a picture of the Rat Pack, a steam iron, and not one but TWO, count them, TWO lumbar supports. "But wait. There's more." Snarky daughter bought a ton of beef jerky.

All in all, it was a lovely trip down memory lane, and some fun mother/daughter time, too.

Throw a dart in that Bucket List balloon, and burst Number 112 off the list.




Friday, September 10, 2010

FREE FALL FRIDAY

On FREE FALL FRIDAY, anything goes, and this is something that happened to me and it's not even on my Bucket List.

I'm in the UCLA Writers Program, and they like to feature participants (students and instructors alike) on their website. I am flabbergasted (or just gasted as hubby Sarge would say) that they selected me
as one of their success stories.

You can find me on their website here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Remains of the Day

It's WARPED WEDNESDAY, folks, where you write the caption using the words "bucket" or "list." Bonus if you use both!



Monday, September 6, 2010

Earth, Wind & Fireworks


Whenever you escape to L.A., you must also make a break for the Hollywood Bowl. And be sure to go on a night when there's fireworks. It happens several times during the summer, and even though I've lived on the left coast my entire life, I've never seen their pyrotechnics in person. So it became Number 109 on my Bucket List.

My sister got us tickets to see the legendary R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire, and it just so happened that they were being backed by the L.A. Philharmonic. Take a moment and imagine that!

The Hollywood Bowl knows how to take care of their patrons. We took advantage of their Park & Ride where for five bucks, the Bowl Bus picks you up at designated spots in and around Los Angeles so that you don't have the hassle of driving and having to find a parking space. They make it real easy for us imbibers.

When we get to the Bowl, we unpack our picnic (cheese, wine and sandwiches) and chat/munch with friends who met us there. Pre-show, the arena is one big picnic area; like a small town community.

And then the show begins.

EWF has won six Grammy Awards throughout their career, and their music -- Reasons, September, After the Love Has Gone -- took me back to my time as a teenager. It was all done with orchestral accompaniment and bursts of fireworks in the backdrop. Very much like a Hollywood set. Sparkles flared and lit up the night sky followed by fountains, pinwheels, rockets, then repeat!. It was FANTACULAR, at once fantastic and spectacular. (I love making up new words.)

This won't be the last time I see fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl, especially since the whole event only cost me twenty of my budget bucks. Light a fuse and blast Number 109 off of my Bucket List.

What's on your Bucket List?




Friday, September 3, 2010

Anything Goes on Free Fall Friday...

. . . so today FREE FALL FRIDAY is going to be THROWBACK THURSDAY, only a day late. Confused?

You're not the only one. Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY



. . . WHERE YOU SUPPLY THE CAPTION.


Monday, August 30, 2010

ME, MYSELF & ARLENE

So there I was at Lit Crawl 2, alone and afraid, on a Saturday-night-date with myself, Number 6 on my Bucket List.

Lit Crawl 2 is a read-off put on by PEN Center USA, a literary organization dedicated to stimulating interest in the written word. So they came up with the Lit Crawl, the antithetical sister to the Pub Crawl, where one mixes books with one's beer, and crawls from pub to pub. Not literally, of course.

I had picked myself up earlier in the evening, not the least bit surprised that I was a punctual date. I'd eaten a snack before I left so I wouldn't have to buy me dinner. I'm all about the cheap date, especially if I'm paying.

Arriving at The Echo, I discovered that admission was free. This night was going to be alright, I thought. And then I remembered that I was alone, and didn't know a soul there. I berated myself: whose idea was it to go on a private date in the most public of places? Poised in the middle of the standing room only crowd (because there were no tables or chairs) I was reminded of the first poem I ever loved:

I had a little tea party this afternoon at three
Twas very small, three guests in all, just I, myself, and me
Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea
Twas also I who ate the pie, and passed the cake to me
Author unknown.* Probably for a reason.

So there I was at my own little tea party sipping scotch. I quickly made friends with a lovely couple from South Africa by way of San Diego: she, a writer; he, a reader; me, a drinker. A match made in heaven. When she found out that I was a published author, she asked if she could kiss my feet, but before I could answer, the readings began and the night turned magical.

Eleven(!) authors read from their works, and it was nothing short of amazing. I was in my element. Sarge (the regimented spousal unit) would call it a geekfest, but so be it. I was in heaven. I discovered a new author to watch, Katie Arnoldi. She was the best.

Sated by the end of the night, I didn't feel the need to crawl to the next pub, and then the next one after that. Besides, Sarge had grilled salmon and chilled champagne waiting for me. When I arrived home, I asked myself in for a nightcap, then struck another item off of my Bucket List. I think my date enjoyed herself, and that makes me happy.


*Jessica Nelson North

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FREE FALL FRIDAY

This video proves you're never too old to strike up the band and scratch off the old Bucket List. Even if you're in a rest home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

.........where you supply the caption.


Friday, August 20, 2010

EXTRA. . . EXTRA

.............READ ALL ABOUT IT! I am tickled tangerine to announce that Adventure Salon has received the Circle of Friends Award! The most prolific fellow writer I know, Madeline Mora Summonte, has passed the baton to me, and now I get to pass it on to five other fantastic blogs; they, in turn, can pass it on to their Fab Five.

And the award goes to:

TheNaughtyCorner

KayElamWrites

Readin N writin with Patricia

Reads4Pleasure

Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them


FREE FALL FRIDAY

I never thought about this, but some people have a SPORTS FAN Bucket List.

I wholeheartedly agree with their Number One, but if you're feeling nostalgic check out my sports fantasy-come-true.




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

...WHERE YOU WRITE THE CAPTION.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

10 Ways to Build a Better Bucket List

1. Be a swashbuckler. Do something outside your comfort zone. If buckling swashes is not for you, please see Number 2.

2. Forrest Gump-ify. Simple is as simple does. Take joy in life's simple pleasures. Sometimes, it's the little things that count; add them to your list.

3. Be a fearless flyer. Don't fear the unknown just because you don't know about it. You just might discover you aren't who you thought you were.

4. Be curious. Like when you were nine months old and could pass the time fascinated crumpling a sheet of paper. Remember how powerful that felt. Recapture that feeling. You were making yourself happy.

5. Talk to people. The quiet guy in your office that occupies the corner cubicle, you now, the one with the pocket protector and thick glasses -- he may have forgone Lasix just so he could afford hang gliding on the weekends. Get ideas from other people and add them to your list.

6. Get a bucket list buddy. There's nothing like being a wingman, a collaborator, a partner in crime on someone else's adventures.

7. Be altruistic. Being of service to others gladdens the heart and mends fences.

8. Be interesting. And not just to win friends and influence people, either! Interesting people do interesting things.

9. Be present and engaged. Live in the now, as Oprah would say. Close your eyes and think: what could I do right this very minute that I've never done, but always wanted to? Go on, then. Dance naked around your living room; just close the blinds first.

10. Surprise yourself. Allow your actions to speak volumes.

Once you've made your list (or added to it), tell others about it. Give voice to it. Shout out to the world and tell them these are the things I'm going to do before I kick the bucket. Then, SWOOSH, Just Do It.

What's on your Bucket List now?

Friday, August 13, 2010

FREE FALL FRIDAY

Discover a fun fact about Melissa Etheridge's Bucket List.
Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter Melissa Etheridge has a different approach to hers. But she DOES have one, despite her protestations.
See how she does it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

. . . where YOU supply the caption. Good luck with this one.


(Photo courtesy of Brass X Photos)

Monday, August 9, 2010

LIVING THE DREAM

I don't know why I haven't written about this before now. It's so obvious that I forgot:

Create your own website, Number 51 on my Bucket List. Blogs count, too, don't they?

It all started one dark and windblown night a couple of years ago when I wondered, how do I create my own website at home? That's when I surfed the net and learned that blogspot.com was FREE, and I could have an internet platform from which to . . . well, do anything I wanted. Thus Adventure Salon was born, a place where I could write about the thing that is very close to my heart: living your best life.

It's taken me a while to really get the site going at maximum capacity, but with a little help from my friend and blog wizard Margo Dill, I set up blogkeeping in my own little corner of the Emerald Forest, and followed her yellow brick road to gadgets, and widgets and bears, OH MY!

I even dabbled in HTML, which I thought I knew NOTHING about, and it's all paid off. In the last month, I've gotten 30 new followers -- who for some reason don't register on my widget (my fault, I'm sure; HTML can be a wicked witch!) -- and had 53% increase in traffic, and Alexa ranks me number 6,034, 795 out of all the websites in the U.S. (Don't laugh; I take it where I can get it.) Of course, a lot of that is due to my ramping up my tweet time on Twitter where I pick up followers in my limousine and drive them over to my blog, no tip necessary.

And now I can blog about what's on my Bucket List any time I want, and hopefully encourage others to pursue their dreams, no matter how big or how small. Sometimes, it's the little things that count.

Unlike Citibank, I don't care what's in your wallet. What's on your Bucket List?

Friday, August 6, 2010

FREE FALL FRIDAY

There may be a multitude of sins, but there's also a multitude of . . . you guessed it: BUCKET LISTS!

Of course there's your usual travel Bucket List, but there's also a sports Bucket List, a beauty Bucket List, and even a sexual Bucket List. (But you get no link for that one :-))

Did you know there was a Christian Ministry Bucket List? How about a Family, golf or wish Bucket List?

If you're interested in hearing about all the foods you should try before you die, tune in to the upcoming TV show called The Bucket List.

And what about the Bucket List for old men? (Don't know much about that one, but I can ask my husband, Sarge.)

And last, but definitely not least, there's even a Bucket List for your dog.

What's your Bucket List idea?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY



You know the drill
You create the caption using the words "BUCKET" or "LIST"
Bonus if you use both
(photo courtesy of dameetch)

Monday, August 2, 2010

DESTINATION PARTY

Number 108 on my life's to-do list is "Throw a Destination Party." Destination weddings I've heard of, but a destination party?

My biggest worry was: would any of our friends travel out of town just for a party? And then I thought to myself, even if no one shows up but me and Sarge, we'll still have fun! Still, it would be nice if our funnest friends joined us. (Is that even a word? It is now.)

So we rolled the dice.
We reserved 10 hotel rooms -- hoping to fill them with friends -- at the Doral Resort, which is near our home in Palm Springs, the ultimate destination for our party. I fashioned some flyers on my computer, tweaked the party playlist on the iPod, packed up the car and headed for the desert.

Fingers were crossed.

Sarge barbecued, as he is wont to do, while I handled all the trimmings. Our favorite couple to double-date -- the Diva and the Doctor-- decorated for this 4th of July pool party. Everything was prepared; now all we had to do was wait and see if anyone would show up.

As the clock struck 2 p.m., the start time for this summer soiree, I shimmied into my swimsuit, then waited. We fixed some margaritas, toasted to us, then waited some more. It was so quiet I could hear crickets, and I thought I saw a tumbleweed blow by. The weather was nice, not even 100 degrees which is downright pleasant for Palm Springs.

But before we could say, "Another round, bartender," people started rolling in by one's, two's and three's.

The party was in full force and effect. All in all about 25 to 30 friends loved us enough to come to our Destination Party. But the best part was it turned into an all weekend party. The next day, those who stayed overnight at the Doral met us for brunch at the Spa Casino and Resort the next day. Then we went back to our home for more swimming. That night we ate more barbecue, then played the Celebrity Guessing Game til midnight.

Scratch another item off my Bucket List.
See sidebar for slideshow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

FUN FACT FRIDAY

Welcome to FUN FACT FRIDAY!
This is where we discover fun facts about Bucket Lists.

Hot air ballooning seems to top a lot of people's to-do list.
Watch one man take flight with his Bucket List here

Then for a few laughs, take a look at my own Hot Air Adventure from the archives.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY




You create the caption using the words "BUCKET" or "LIST". Bonus if you use both!
(photo by Sidewalk Flying)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Natashia Deon

Periodically, I highlight someone who is checking things off of their own Bucket List, trying to live the dream.

One such person is Natashia Deon.
She's a screenwriter -- check;
A filmmaker -- check;
A Breadloaf Fellow, a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow, and is currently working on her debut novel, The Spinning Wheel -- check, check, check.

I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Deon read from her work-in-progress the other night at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, Ca, and she was simply BRILLIANT! The Spinning Wheel is the story of three outcast women who, on the eve of the civil War, are fighting the battle of their lives.

She's also a practicing attorney, and the first generation of her family to live outside of East Tallassee, Alabama since American slavery. Kudos to her!

You can learn more about this dynamo at her website here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

FUN FACT FRIDAY

Welcome to FUN FACT FRIDAY!
This is where we discover fun facts about Bucket Lists.

Guess what Bill Clinton wants to do before he dies?
Check out HIS Bucket List here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WARPED WEDNESDAY

You write the caption using the words "bucket" or "list".
Bonus ifyou use both!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why YOU need a Bucket List

There you are minding your own business in your Barcalounger, watching TV for a little R&R, and suddenly you see something that makes you think, Boy, that sure looks like fun; I'd like to do that one day. Or maybe you hear your neighbors raving about their latest jaunt to Jamaica, and you think, Wouldn't that be a nice second honeymoon some day when the kids are grown, and out of college, and married with children?

And then the next thing you know, you're rocking back and forth, gathering steam to rock out of that same Barcalounger because now you have sciatica. Or you're looking wide-eyed and wanting from your nursing home bed, waiting for the grandkids to make their bi-yearly visit. Or worse yet, you're ambulatory, but pinching pennies because you didn't get the memo that Social Security was only supposed to supplement your retirement, not sponsor it.

"Some day" has finally arrived, and what do you have to show for it? A walking cane, a raggedy recliner, and a dream deferred.

No regrets, please. That, my friends, is why YOU need a Bucket List, a list of your dreams, your hopes, your wishes and desires. And don't just keep them in the back of your mind. Write. Them. Down. That's when they become real, and when they become real, you are more inclined to do them.

Trust me, you will feel such a sense of accomplishment once you've checked even one thing off your list, and that exhilaration will launch you onwards and upwards to your next adventure.

And don't feel that it has to be extraordinary adventures, either, like swimming with a one-eyed dolphin, or swinging through the Amazon rain forest on a grapevine. Maybe that grapevine is put to better use making your own wine. Or maybe you want to learn to Samba like the Brazilian baby on YouTube.

So don't wait until you die a clinical death on the operating table to see the light and come back a changed person. Do it now. See the light, be the light, because you are the light of your own life.

Now go make that list!

Next up: How To Build a Better Bucket List