Five For My Birthday: A Month-long Bucket List


In just under one month, I will complete my 71st circle around the sun, which means, as we count things, I turn 71 years of age.  Yes, at my 40th birthday party, I thanked people for helping me celebrate the first third of my life.  Who knows whether I make it to 120, but 71 birthdays is nothing to sneeze at.  (And besides, that’s why I wear a mask in public these days.)  

Normally we look at January 1st and make our resolutions for all we hope to achieve in the coming year.   January 1st is an arbitrary date, and my world began on October 17th, so that is when I normally make my resolutions.  Note that I keep them just as well as most people keep those made for the New Year.  Still, it’s my way and I’m sticking to it.

That said, have I done everything I wanted to do since birthday number 70?  Of course not.  Then again, who of us has.  The world of 2020 is definitely not the world of 2019, or any other previous year most of us have lived through.  I wasn’t around for the great flu pandemic.  Both my parents were alive as small children, but they’re not here now for me to rack their brains.  My grandmother died in 1920, but as she had been an invalid for four years prior to her death, I doubt that it was the flu that killed her.  

I’ve been sitting for most of the past few months.  But as I look at the next four weeks, there are things I would like to check off my lists.  Here, in no particular order, are the things I want to get done before the next birthday.  Five for my birthday:  a month-long bucket list.


Item One: Writing

As I wrote yesterday, writing is critical to my health.  Yes, my first love is reading, but writing comes close to second place.  I will set time aside each day to write.  That does not mean that I will be adding a new blog post every day, but I intend to write as much as my time allows.  And since I am my own boss, I really have no excuse, do I.  There will be days when I need to be away from home, and for most of the day. I hope you’ll exuse me on those days.  And I hope you’ll miss my posts.


Item Two: Photography

Yes, I’m a photographer.  I mentioned that yesterday as well, and I’m sure any of my readers are well aware of the time I spend behind the camera.  But with little travel thanks to the health crisis, and poor views due to the heavy smoke in the air, I haven’t been putting in the time I should devote to my photography.  I promise to do better, both with taking new photographs, and with adding some of the old favorites to my online galleries.  If you haven’t looked at them, here are the links:

RedBubble                                        DeviantArt                                          FineArtAmerica


Item Three: Books

I catalog my books.  When we first moved here, I brought boxes of books into the new library and as I put books on the shelves, I added them to my catalog at Librarything.   To date I have catalogued 4,345 books.  Books in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Finnish.  What can I say, I love books  I worked my way through a PhD in French Literature solely on the basis of loving to read.  If you’d like to see just what I have in my library, you can do that too at LibraryThing.

Now most of my new book purchases are ebooks for my Kindle readers.  But in the move, many boxes did not get brought into the house.  With the help of Tim, we have begun organizing the storage shed and the garage.  That means more boxes of books are turning up.  I will spend time over the next month cataloguing the books still in boxes.  Tim is building me new bookcases, so most of those books will remain in boxes, but at least I’ll know which box to look in when I want to find Greg Herren, for instance.


Item Four: Kitchen Work

My regular readers know I love to cook and bake.  Even that has been put on hold the past month or so.  I did make up a batch of freezer blackberry jam using the beautiful large blackberries off our vines.  This is the first year that our blackberries have produced any fruit, and I made up 9 half pints of jam.  Believe me, it’s glorious, especially on home-made bread.  I also made up a batch of pretzels the other day, but we ate them all.  I guess that means I need to make more.  And of course there are all those recipes I’ve shared using my Instant Pot™ not to mention the recipes I’ve found and shared on my Recipe of the Day page.  Haven’t updated that page for a long time, but I will do better.


Item Five: My Health

That’s what this is all about, isn’t it.  I need to write for my own sanity and health.  But I need to do other things as well.  I haven’t been getting any exercise, and there really is no excuse.  I have equipment to do both aerobic and weight resistance workouts.  They are gathering dust.  I need to dust them off, and spend time each day getting my body back into some kind of shape.  Besides, that will help with getting my blood glucose levels back to some semblance of normal.  I’m learning, belatedly, how I need to eat to wake with healthy blood glucose levels.  Now I need to make sure my heart is as healthy as my blood.  Keep watching and keep after me to live a better, healthier life.



So those are my Five for my Birthday: A Month-Long Bucket List. There are other things I’ll be doing as well, so don’t be surprised by what you see showing up on these pages. And please, please, please, comment on what I’ve written and let me know if there is anything you would like me to cover.


6 Comments on “Five For My Birthday: A Month-long Bucket List

  1. I love the a Byran! Welcome
    To the world of 71. I want to respond point by point. # I love good writing. Wish I was a better writer. #2 I love to take photos and got myself a real camera but I always revert to my iPhone #3 I love books and to read! Most of my books which number in the

    100’s are in boxes in the garage. I have one limited bookshelf in the living room. If I had the space I would be doing the same obsessive thing as you
    #4 I love to cook Bake not so much
    # not worried about my health. I need to be active and to challenge myself.
    It would be so great to spend some time together! Meanwhile, keep on writing!

    • Thank you, Christine. I’ll respond in kind. Never put yourself down wishing you were better at something. The way to become a better writer is to write. That’s the secret. One of my gurus suggested starting each day by writing three pages. I don’t know how many notebooks I have with those three page a day jottings. It’s nothing to think about, just sit down with a notebook and start writing. I have even been known to write, over and over, I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say, but somehow, ideas start floating up into my head then down onto the paper. I rarely go back and read what I’ve written. The whole point is to unclog the pipes, as it were. As for using your iPhone’s camera, I am amazed at the cameras available in phones today. I’ve resorted to my phone at times, but I’ve had a camera in my hands most of my life. And with digital photography, it’s all so easy these days. Books–what can I say. They are my first love. I feel the opposite about the kitchen. I like cooking, if I have someone who likes to eat what I cook, but I love to bake. I got up this morning at 4 am with the idea of jotting down a few notes then making the pretzels I talked about in this post. Baking, especially baking bread, is one of my great joys. And as for health, I don’t worry about it, although I probably should. I just need to do a better job of taking care of myself. So with that said, do take care of yourself and let’s figure out a way to get together down the road.

  2. What are some fun things you have done in life, the average person may not have done? One day I wish to paraglide, go up in a hot air balloon, to parasail, and maybe parachute . I have traveled , met famous people, seen wonderful sites, I have worked hard , but never really learned to play . So what has been your dreams to find that childhood joy?

    • What a wonderful suggestion, Treicia. I woke up this morning thinking about topics for future posts and I’ll definitely add this to the list. In fact, I see at least two different posts coming from your suggestion. In keeping with the theme of this post, Five For My Birthday, I can see a post on Five Playtime Activities and Five Amazing Things I’ve Done in my Life. Those are just working titles, but you get the picture. One of the things I love to do is play with the wind. The jacket I wear most often has an embroidered graphic on the back “Catch the Wind.” I have more kites than anyone not a professional kite-flyer needs. In addition, I have a small sail boat that I’ve sailed in Seeley, Salmon, Alva and Inez. I have a sailboard. One time in Mexico I went parasailing and I would absolutely love to go paragliding. No desire whatsoever to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, though. Thanks for the suggestion. Watch for my posts.

      • Hi Bryan,
        I really enjoy reading your blogs. I just turned 61 and your ideas are an inspiration to me. I guess I do have one goal for the coming year. To hike up Boston Mountain in Idaho. This is where dad was stationed at a fire tower.
        I need to exercise and lose weight to do this. That is why your goals are inspiring me.
        I am wondering where you get your recipes from. Do you have a library of cookbooks? Do you use any of your mother’s recipes?
        Love you both!
        PS: Would love to visit you all when I come out that way.

        • Thanks, Lois, for your very kind comments. As for my recipes, yes to all your questions. I have an extensive library of actual, physical cookbooks. I do use ideas from my mother, not actual recipes because she did not use recipes. But I grew up with her chicken and dumplings, her cornbread, her sourdough white bread, etc, and I try to duplicate them as best I can. These days, usually I look for recipes on line ahd get most of what I cook from the internet. I look forward to seeing you again, either here or in West Virginia.