Category Archives: 50 Things List

#50ThingsList Update – Week 3

This week, I accomplished #17 on my 50 Things list (Set up a regular altar for year-round display/use.) This is one of those things I’ve been meaning to do for longer than I can remember, so it felt really good to check it off the list this week.

I have set up thousands of one-time-use altars over the years, but I’ve never had a regular, permanent household altar. In the past, I was still very much in the closet and worried that someone would see it and figure out what it was, but in more recent years, I just didn’t have a good place for one that I’d see and use every day. When I was putting the 50 Things list together, however, setting up a permanent altar seemed like a perfect project to add to it, so even before the official start of my 50th year, I was already scoping out locations and trying to figure out how to make it work. The solution came, oddly enough, as I started reorganizing my home office last year. As I rearranged furniture, I realized I had many books that needed to be relocated to different parts of the house. Relocating books means reorganizing bookshelves, which led to rearranging the books on the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in the master bedroom. In the process of all that rearranging, I discovered that I could free up an entire shelf just below eye level right across from my side of the bed, which is the perfect space and location for a permanent altar – one that I see every morning when I wake up and every night as I’m drifting off to sleep.

Another benefit of setting up a permanent altar that I hadn’t anticipated is the ability to sort through, retire, replace and generally weed out 30+ years of accumulated stuff. All my ceremonial and ritual items are currently stored in a giant lidded tub, and setting up a permanent altar meant I needed to decide what would be brought out right away and what could be swapped in/out for different celebrations and ceremonies. There are censers to be cleaned, candle stubs to be recycled, bits of dried flowers to be composted, and long-forgotten treasures hiding in the depths of that tub. I’m looking forward to rediscovering some beloved items as the Wheel turns and to replacing items that no longer serve with more useful ones.

And before you ask, yes, I will post a picture of the new altar as soon as I can figure out how to do it. Sadly, I have reached the age where technology confounds me occasionally, but Liam and Grif are both fairly tech-savvy, so I’m sure between the three of us we will figure it out eventually.


Kicking Off the “50 Things To Do In My 50th Year” Project

Yesterday was my birthday, so it seemed only appropriate to start working on the “50 Things to do in my 50th Year” list.

Actually, I accomplished one of the items on my list on Sunday (6/14/15), which technically is cheating because it didn’t occur between June 15, 2015 and June 14, 2016, but when my dear friend LH invited me to go to Tienda Ho in Santa Barbara (Item #46 on the list), I couldn’t resist. Tienda Ho is a really fun clothing boutique right on State Street that has been there for 30+ years and looks like a cross between the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise. It has all sorts of colorful, funky, hippie-esque clothing from India, Hawaii and various tropical islands, and their $20 sales racks in the back of the store are legendary! I was able to pick up two blouses thanks to the fortuitous arrival of a Visa gift card from my grandmother (thanks, Nana!), and they are flowy, colorful, and awesome. And yes, I will post pictures as soon as I wear them.

So, yes, I went to Tienda Ho, but no, I technically didn’t go during my 50th year, so I’m going to leave that item on the list for now. Besides, I would love the opportunity/excuse to go back and buy more awesome stuff.

The item I did accomplish yesterday is #18 – Eat at the fondue restaurant in T.O. Grif, Liam and I went to The Melting Pot for dinner last night, mostly because I know a few people who’ve enjoyed it and it sounded like something weird and fun to do when celebrating a milestone birthday. I haven’t eaten fondue since my mother stopped making it in the mid-70s, but I checked out The Melting Pot’s menu beforehand and decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did.

We opted for the four-course menu, which consisted of a cheese fondue with apples, various veggies and bread chunks for dipping, a salad course (no dipping, but very tasty), and entree course with various types of meats and veggies that we cooked at the table in a pot of boiling broth, and a chocolate fondue for dessert with fruit and brownie chunks. OMG!!! It was all delicious and the staff was funny, engaging, informative and helpful as we floundered about asking questions and trying not to drip molten lava droplets on ourselves. I have to admit that I was a bit concerned at the seemingly small amounts of food we seemed to be getting for the price we were paying, but it was more than enough and all very tasty. Liam especially enjoyed the novelty of it and has decided he wants to celebrate his birthday there in August.

All in all, a wonderful way to celebrate the start of a year’s worth of adventures.



50 Things To Do In My 50th Year

EDIT: Added #46 to the list. Thanks for the reminder, Linda Ellen! 😎

I’m turning 50 in about two weeks. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it and I’m not dreading it, although I am noticing the passage of time a bit more now than I did when I was turning 40.

Since making it to the half-century mark seems like a fairly significant achievement, I decided to celebrate the occasion by making a list of 50 things I’d like to do in my 50th year. The plan is to start working on the list on my birthday (June 15th) and to check off an item every week or so until June 14, 2016. Yes, that’s 52 weeks to finish a 50-item to-do list. What could possibly go wrong?

I’ll document my adventures here on the blog, but I’d like to start by posting the entire list. The items are listed in the order they occurred to me, not in the order I hope to accomplish them. Also, some of the items will be easier to accomplish than others, so while I hope to do one per week, I may need to be flexible with my scheduling.


1. Visit Scorpion Ranch campground on Santa Rosa Island

2. Visit the Getty Villa

3. Get a power band tattoo

4. Build a really big Lego model

5. Make 50 items to donate to charity (probably baby hats)

6. Sew an article of clothing I can wear out of the house

7. Have an indulgent spa day

8. Get a massage

9. Pet a giraffe

10. Buy a bicycle and start riding regularly

11. Go to a tango milonga

12. Spend a weekend on Catalina Island

13. Eat dinner at Napa Rose restaurant

14. Finish and publish my two in-progress novels

15. Walk a labyrinth

16. Learn to crochet granny squares and connect them to make something bigger

17. Set up a regular altar for year-round use

18. Eat at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant in T.O.

19. Find a fancy chocolate tasting place and go to a tasting

20. Get a facial

21. Do the wine trail in Ventura Co.

22. Visit the olive oil place in Ventura/Ojai

23. Go to The Painted Cabernet and complete a project

24. Stay at the Madonna Inn

25. Visit Palm Springs

26. Go to LaBrea Tar Pits

27. Go to the Griffith Observatory

28. Complete a “girlie” mud run

29. Go to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor and eat something big

30. Donate $50 as random acts of kindness (pay it forward, leave money at vending machines, etc.

31. Walk/hike 50 miles all at once (okay, maybe over a long weekend)

32. Take a helicopter ride

33. Sail on Hawaiian Chieftain/Lady Washington

34. Finish will, advanced directive, body donation arrangements, etc.

35. Have tea at a fancy tea house

36. Do a 24-hour juice cleanse/fast

37. Visit Forest Lawn in Glendale

38. Purchase a piece of jewelry for me

39. Get a mani/pedi

40. Learn to make jelly/jam/marmalade with my canning rig

41. Visit the Time Travel Mart in Echo Park or Venice

42. Take a gondola ride in Seabridge Harbor

43. Visit Rabbit Run Meadery in Santa Clara for a tasting

44. Do the skyscraper stair run in Oxnard in June 2016

45. Visit Meditation Mount in Ojai

46. Visit Tienda Ho in Santa Barbara and buy something

Okay, let’s address some FAQs:

There are only 45 items on your list? Aren’t there supposed to be 50?

Why yes, you are correct. I’m short a few items, but I have plenty to get me started and I have no doubt I’ll think of a few more to fill out the list. If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments!

You’ve never done (insert item number here)?

Either I’ve never done it or I haven’t done it in a really long time and want to do it again. That’s why it’s on the list!

Why is (insert item number here) on your list?/You really want to do (insert item number here)?

This is my list. It may have things on it you don’t want to do. That’s okay. Your mileage may vary, as they say. What is on your list?

Is this your bucket list?

Some of the items are from my bucket list, but this is not my “official” bucket list.