My Don’t-Call-it-Bucket Life List

Yesterday I already let y’all know why I won’t be making any resolutions this year. Mainly because life with two small children is too incredibly unpredictable to be nailing down a list of even five lofty goals for one year. But I like the idea of having things to accomplish. Just as long as the pressure of having to complete things within a year is off.

Then a fellow blogger/writer Alissa over at Clever Compass came up with the incredible idea of writing and sharing our life lists. Honestly I’d never put together a definitive travel list let alone ALL the things I want to accomplish in my years on this Earth.

It’s kind of hard to think of isn’t it? Try to come up with the top 5 things you want to do in your life and list them right NOW…

What’d you come up with?

Hard, no? And yet, it’s hard to stop once the ball starts rolling. In fact I thought of so many things I want to do I need five lifetimes to accomplish them all. I know some things may never happen, like seeing the Shire or going to outer space. And I know I’m tempting fate by saying I want to see my girls have babies. But still…these are the things I WANT to do, not the things I know will come to pass.

And no this isn’t a Bucket List. Cause I don’t want to look at this list like something I have to do before I kick the bucket. I want to look at it as things to do while I’m alive. A reference in case I’m ever bored and wealthy. You know, for the Lottery Years.

So without further ado and in no particular order my Life List

  1. Become a prenatal and postpartum Doula
  2. Adopt or foster a child
  3. Own our own European-style cafe where you can get an awesome cup of coffee, or beer or wine or whiskey, a great bite to eat and watch a band or a film or read a book or write a book or meet your friends or meet new friends
  4. Get a Master’s Degree or Law Degree
  5. Run for political office
  6. Meet President and Mrs. Obama
  7. Visit NYC during the holidays and ice skate at Rockefeller Center
  8. Take the girls to Disney World
  9. Go to Lebanon and meet Michael’s grandmother and see their village, Deirmimas
  10. Learn to speak Arabic and teach my children how as well
  11. Take a RV trip to the West coast and back with my husband, kids and my mom
  12. Go on a road trip with only my sister Tracey
  13. Write and produce a feature film
  14. Go on the White House tour
  15. Read all the Harry Potter books with my daughters (and Narnia, Tolkien and Hunger Games)
  16. Take a photography class
  17. Begin a monthly dinner party club
  18. Write a children’s book
  19. Write a fiction book
  20. Write a memoir
  21. Publish something I write
  22. Sing a song in public that isn’t karaoke or Happy Birthday
  23. Record a song with my husband
  24. Build a coop and raise chickens (thanks for the reminder Kelli!)
  25. Have a proper and well-tended vegetable garden
  26. Learn to compost
  27. See the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in concert one more time.
  28. Go back to Tuscany, rent a villa outside of Montalcino and renew vows on our 10 year wedding anniversary
  29. Find a forever house, buy it and fix it up and never move my things again.
  30. Find where my ancestors are from in Africa and go there
  31. Live in a foreign country for at least a year
  32. Meet my long-lost Uncle
  33. Go on an ancestral road trip from here through Indiana, down to Mississippi and back through West Virginia seeing all the places in this country where my family is from
  34. Visit the Forbidden City and Great Wall in China
  35. Visit the Shire in New Zealand
  36. Visit our friends in Cape Cod
  37. Visit Las Vegas, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle
  38. Visit London, Dublin and Glasgow
  39. Travel through the south of France by car
  40. Visit Vienna, Berlin, Budapest and Prague
  41. Visit Vietnam, Thailand, Bejing, Honk Kong and Tokyo
  42. Travel through Brazil to Argentina all the way to the southern tip of Chile and back up to Peru
  43. Hike Macchu Picchu
  44. Go to the World Cup or the summer Olympics or both
  45. Visit India and see the Ganges and ride an elephant
  46. Go on the Amazing Race with my husband and see the world
  47. See my daughters get married to someone they truly love
  48. Be an Auntie
  49. Be a Grandmother
  50. Grow old with my Michael
BONUS: Go to Outer Space. Preferably the Moon but Mars would be nice too. Or anywhere with The Doctor.

So what do you think? Are there things on my list that you’ve already done? Anything that you think I should add to my list? What do you think is the most easily accomplished this year? I’d love to hear from my readers as well as other bloggers what’s on their lists.

If you are a company or blogger who can help me check any of these off my list I would gladly accept your help. You can contact me at

aliwayout (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Thanks for reading! Now link up!!







Why I Love Roots

Not the band, though they are a personal fav of mine (ask me about the time I sang backup for them). I’m talking about the classic 1970’s miniseries Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Starring a young LeVar “Gordy” Burton, John “Mr. Evans” Amos, Robert “Mr. Brady” Reed and Louis Gossett Jr. Cicely Tyson. Ben Vereen. Lloyd Bridges. Burl Ives. Leslie Uggams. Richard Roundtree. Todd Bridges. Maya Angelou. And OJ Simpson for crying out loud. Pretty much every black actor with a SAG card in 1977.

I remember watching Roots when I was a kid. One of those things my Dad insisted we sit through to learn about our ancestors. Somehow my sister doesn’t remember this. Maybe he saved this special brand of what I’m sure amounted to torture at the time, just for me.

Then in middle school and high school we would watch the whole Middle Passage sequence during obligatory February Black History Month units. Though I don’t ever remembering having seen the whole thing, at once, in context. Then there was college. I minored in Africana studies and watched several different parts of Roots for research. But again. Never all together. Never the whole thing.

It was getting to be the middle of February and it dawned on me. It’s Black History Month. Since being out of college and the library it seems like it just fell off my radar. There’s no special programming on TV. (Wait, to be fair, there’s not really any black programming on TV as it is. Oprah. Tyler Perry’s shows. That’s it. But I digress.) There were no black history playdates or craft days in my Mom’s group. No trips to the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

I felt guilty. I felt like I missed such an important opportunity to celebrate my heritage and to teach my daughter about hers. So I self-assigned a large undertaking. Watching Roots. In it’s entirety before the end of the month. And I’m just about done. I know, it’s March already. But I don’t have nearly enough time for marathon TV watching that I used to.

And you know what? It was fantastic. It captured our country for eight straight days and spawned two sequel miniseries for a reason. It is engaging and imaginative and heartbreaking and moving. Sure, maybe it’s a bit hard to get over the production value, it was the 70’s and made for TV, so it doesn’t look too pretty on an HDTV. But modern aesthetics aside there are so many pure and important moments to experience and some incredibly difficult ones as well.

At the heart of the story of both the best-selling novel and the miniseries is the idea of recapturing and passing down our family stories, our collective past. From one generation to the next they pass down the legendary story of Kunta Kinte, the Mandinka warrior and proud African that was the first of his family in America. Each generation passes his dreams and aspirations to be free to the next. Each passes the pride and hope that one day their children’s lives will be better off then their own.

Cedella is 1/4 Black, 1/4 Lebanese and 1/2 White (German, French & English), though she is truly and completely American in her multi-ethnicity. Though she’s still too young to appreciate the breadth and scope of Roots, what she can begin learning now is this, the stories of her people.

She should know her great great grandfather Elam Sims that was a black soldier in World War I, who enlisted even though blacks were still second-class citizens and relegated to menial labor duties with the Army.

She should know about her ancestors tending to the centuries old olive trees in Lebanon only to have their trees and land taken from them by Israel during the war.

She should know about her 7th great grandfather that served in the Revolutionary War, not only because that makes her eligible to be in the DAR, but because ironically his parents left Germany to flee the violence ravaging their nation.

These are all stories I have learned in researching our family tree on An obsession passed down to me from my maternal grandmother Rose and my great aunt Billie. But it’s not the research and facts that have sucked me in. It’s the stories.

And so as our new tradition and to honor the struggles and triumphs of all of our ancestors, not only will I take the reigns as the family genealogist, but I will tell her these stories. Like the story of her stubborn great great aunt Garnet refusing to wash the dishes for three years because her husband insulted her.

The story of her 4th great grandmother who was born into slavery but died a property owner.

How both of her grandfathers were the first in their families to have not only college degrees, but Master’s.

This new tradition may come in the form of bedtime stories but they will be an integral part of the fabric of Monk’s character as she grows. Because these people, these ancestors, what they did, who they were, make us who we are now. That’s what Roots teaches us.

And my new tradition? Watching Roots, in its entirety, every February. And when my kids are old enough, this will be required watching for them too.