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If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, then you are aware that I have a Bucket List that I am constantly adding to. And when I give myself the time to, I also complete a few.

I managed to mark a few off of the list this past year, which felt like a challenge, considering the year I’ve had.

166.) play beer (or wine!) pong

My father passed away 3 days before my birthday, but the night before he passed away he told me that he wanted me to celebrate my birthday, as he didn’t want me to be sad, and he wanted me to celebrate my own life. So with the help of my boyfriend and some amazing friends of mine, I had a great birthday party. This party included my guy and I building a beer pong table, and me marking this off of my list. We built the table using unused sheet rock, a couple of cans of chalkboard spray paint, and a can of glow in the dark spray paint. Once we painted the “table” we used my dads saw horses to put it on. We bought the necessary “parts” and we had a late night full of laughter and semi-drunkenness. Some of the chalk drawings were incredibly lewd and I wish we had taken more pictures! I did have a breakdown at the end of the night, but I had an amazing amount of support to help keep me strong, and to remind me that my dad would have been proud of trying to have fun despite my heartache. My favorite part following this night was having cuddle time the next morning with my guy and one of my best friends, while chilling in bed and sharing music with each other. Open, honest conversations, and a joint effort at breakfast which led to singing, dancing, and laughter. I still feel the echo of the love that filled this house that morning, and will forever be thankful that this bucket list item helped create those moments.

157.) Make crepes

My oldest son and I decided to give this a shot together, a couple of weeks after I left a really stressful job. It was a bonding moment for us, helping us return to a norm we once had, where it was just the two of us trying out something new. We picked the simplest looking recipe we could find, and made strawberry filled crepes. The first few didn’t quite come out the way they should have, so we tinkered with the recipe until they came out perfectly. The littles were more impressed with the whipped cream and strawberries, but the oldest and I enjoying finally having a chance to reconnect after having spent many previous months not having enough time to do much that was fun with each other. That, and od’ing on whipped cream, were the best parts, haha.

131.) learn to play poker, win a game

After dad passed away, mom and I needed distraction from our thoughts. My boyfriend came to the rescue by teaching us how to play poker. (He also taught my oldest.) As seems to be the norm, my oldest caught on the fastest, and repeatedly kicked all of our asses. (This is why I refuse to play monopoly with him anymore, board game or on the Xbox! He’s pure evil, hahaha.) But, one night, I managed to win. Without help, without anyone sharing chips to keep the game going, and with me bluffing more often than not. It was lovely to take my teenager punk down a notch. Granted, I haven’t won any of our games since, but the one time was all I was looking for. I will not try to make a living playing it, that’s for sure.

114.) take a creative writing class

Last spring semester I finally bit the bullet and took the creative writing class my college offers. I wasn’t sure what to expect in all honesty. Maybe writing short stories and reading a lot, but even those were only guesswork on my part. Which we did do. But we also learned about various poem styles. We learned about perspective. We read about other authors, listened to NPR interviews, and read New Yorker articles. We had discussions, group projects, and reflective writing. It was the most writing I had done in quite a while, and it was helpful with stress relief, as I was going through many changes in my life at the time. It reminded me to pursue my passions, and it gave my dad and I several deep conversations before he died. It helped relight the spark I had buried with paying bills, and taking care of my kids, and all of the other speed bumps life throws at us. It reminded me about how much I love poetry, and it gave me an idea about a way to go about writing my next poetry book, that I have every intention of trying within the next few weeks.

71.) learn to make pottery

Last semester I thought I didn’t have enough extracurricular credits to put towards my degree, so I signed up for a ceramics class. A couple of weeks into the semester I found out that some of my social science classes had completed what I needed in that department. I thought about dropping the class as it required me actually going to the college, and I had a pretty full plate at the time anyway. But I talked to my boyfriend and my mom, and they both told me I should keep the class, as it got me out of the house, and may provide me with some stress relief. So I ended up keeping it. There weren’t enough pottery wheels for me to learn pottery in that fashion, but I did learn how to create it by hand-building. It was awesome. I had no idea what to make in most instances, so I just went by blind instinct on most of them. Ironically, the only piece that I had planned out, as I wanted to make it for myself, was also the only piece of mine to be stolen. One of my favorite things about this class was a field trip to Santa Fe, which my boyfriend joined me for. We toured various art galleries for the day, hit up Trader Joe’s (a first for us both), roamed a street market, and had lunch together while talking about art and life. It was a wonderful date that allowed us to get out-of-town and our comfort zone for a bit.

That’s the few that I managed to complete last year, and I still don’t know which ones I will be marking off of my list this year. I guess I will see where life takes me. That’s the fun part of living out loud, I just enjoy the ride.