Kick the Bucket

What are the top items on your anti-bucket list — those things you never, ever want to do, the places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?(This was a WP Daily Prompt from 12/14/14)

This is an interesting topic due to its negative tone but one that resonates with everyone. For every thought, song, food, drink, activity, travel destination, article of clothing, etc. that intrigues, there is someone else experiencing repulsion. Each person has a few things on their Never-To-Do list. Sometimes you need to eliminate what you don’t want to find out what you really do want.

Despite being an athlete for many years, I am not a runner. It has been a part of my competitive training but never something I would do for enjoyment. I have tried to make a habit of running, at least on a treadmill, when I have been in decent shape but it is otherwise not easy or appealing for me. A marathon would be my undoing, for sure.

I have been to Pike’s Peak, done some light hiking in the mountains, climbed all over The Badlands, and have enjoyed various forms of nature at different elevations but I have no inclination to go deep-sea diving, skydiving, paragliding or any other activity that involves me throwing total caution to the wind, as it were. Class III rapids is where the buck stops with me. I can deal with depth and heights so long as I can do it as safely and securely as possible.

I am not one for plastic surgery, or any surgery, but feel that it might be fine for someone else if that is what they choose. After watching my parents recover from multiple joint replacement surgeries, I am hoping to keep my body healthy enough to never necessitate going under the knife.

Among the other things I wish not to do are: be famous, run for office, take a cruise into the middle of the ocean or read The Hunger Games books. A life in the limelight is not for me, as there are days I would rather not be bothered, much less have cameras follow my every move. Politicians often have to say what will get them elected or do what the donors/lobbyists/powers-that-be want, rather than what the people want or what is right. Not for me. I have no interest in setting myself up for what would be very risky propositions by taking a cruise. For every positive story I have heard, I counter it with stories of illness and other cruise disasters gone wrong. As for The Hunger Games series, read by youth and adults alike, I will pass. As I watched the first Hunger Games movie, I was shocked with the content – the forced violence by youth, the oppression, and the overt pageantry of the elite. After years of reading fiction, I now prefer to read books that teach me something or get me thinking.

Basically, my Boyfriend says that I shouldn’t get out of bed!

© blogdaysofchrell 2014

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Families are Complicated… Part II

After the writing of “Families are Complicated”, we started contemplating the logistics of the trip. Driving 18-20 hours. In winter through areas that get snow and ice. With a cat. Then I got sick and Boyfriend’s back acted up, trip cancelled after being up in the air. Apparently, this is not the right time.

We will probably make the trip in the spring, rather than in winter, and all previously expressed sentiments remain. I go into the next few days surrounding Christmas with mixed feelings. I would have liked the chance to see my family, my brother included (if he didn’t get stranded in an airport), and to have it go well. I would have liked for Boyfriend’s family to be happy to see us, or at least be considerate and deferential. I would have, hopefully, enjoyed a few hours experiencing the freedom of the open road.

We knew when we moved 18 hours from home that visits would be difficult for us to make, given that it would be a long, and probably, pricey trip on top of our everyday expenses. We also knew that Texas was pretty far from everything else, and that this would not be at the top of people’s travel destinations despite being 30-45 minutes from a really cool city and beautiful landscape. This was our choice, and I am a big girl. I am hopeful that expressions of, “You couldn’t make it, I guess we’ll have to come see you,” will come true. It would be great to show family why we moved here, to take them to see the bats at sunset, to show them Hill Country and what the Great State of Texas has to offer. I remain hopeful, as always…

© blogdaysofchrell 2014

Television

If you walk into most homes in America at any hour of the day, even nighttime, you will found at least one television on. You may or may not find a TV watcher, but the TV will be on.

Not in our place because we don’t have cable and we don’t have a converter box. Among many other reasons, this makes Boyfriend and me strange. When we moved into our new apartment last summer, we got internet and we got cable service, mostly to watch the final season of Breaking Bad. We kept the service for a few months after Breaking Bad ended but grew increasingly annoyed with the quality of the cable service and the never ending reruns on most channels. Worse, we watched shows on TV that we have on DVD and utilized about 5 channels despite what were paying for.

So, we got rid of our cable. It was mostly Boyfriend’s idea as a cost cutting measure, but we are glad we got rid of it. The mostly wasted hours we spent watching reality shows, although they were the kind you might actually learn a little from (Pawns Stars, Tanked and Too Cute animals), we now use to read, write, talk to each other, exercise, relax or enjoy our kitten. Instead of watching TV, we utilize the internet for sports news, movies, social media, and alternative news and real information for a variety of topics. While I am not completely opposed to watching local news, sitcoms or sports, I continue to find independent reports about what is really going on in the world when just about any television channel gives 1/10 of the facts, often approved facts. If I want to watch sports, I can go to the complex gym and attempt to watch while I work out or watch will I eat at a restaurant.

Bill Hicks on watching television
courtesy of pinterest

I have always been an avid reader, and I find that reading allows me to learn, consider and then find other sources that can further explain and confirm or deny the truth. I used to read a lot of chick fiction but have switched to non-fiction books for the most part. The internet allows me access to lots of sources quite easily, and then allows me to find documentaries or funny clips to watch to lighten the mood. I am sometimes amazed at the news and world events that others don’t know about, and I almost as amazed at the trivial things others do know about and care to share that I would be otherwise unaware. I found a quote by the late, great comedian Bills Hicks that I think sums up television, unless used carefully and in moderation, very accurately.

Watch TV in moderation, research the news you see on TV, read books, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the whole other side of the story you have been missing.

© blogdaysofchrell 2014

Families are Complicated

CHGO sign 05-25-13Families are complicated. Mine, as well as my Boyfriend’s family are no different. I love my parents and my brother as individuals, though it can get complicated when you get us all together and add my parents’ dog to the mix.  When we are together too long (sometimes more than an hour), it doesn’t always end well. Poor Boyfriend has witnessed more than a few tense moments due to conversations about politics, sports or misunderstandings between my parents about who should have wrapped which gift. Visits or phone calls usually go better one-on-one with Mom or Dad or Brother because it is easier to tailor the interaction to the person but that doesn’t work for holidays. I try to hold on to as many good memories as I can, yet sometimes the less than pleasant memories hold on, too.

Boyfriend and I have not gone home since summer 2013, when we moved from the Chicago area to the Great State of Texas. I am feeling a little excited though mostly cautious, not only about the 20+ hour drive each way with our beloved cat, but also the complexities of visiting my family and extended family, staying with Boyfriend’s family, and attempting to connect with old friends. It will be an interesting week of social exchanges, though I’m sure the week will not be without challenges. A positive is that my Brother is bringing his girlfriend home for Christmas, and he is usually the diplomat who tries to get everyone to get along.

The key to a successful week of visits and co-existing, I think, will be to have a plan of what we want to do and with whom, keeping in mind that I may not see my family for a while and that nobody is going to change just because we left. In other words, I will have to pack the patience and have one expectation – that Boyfriend and I will spend time with our families, good or otherwise. I am hopeful, always hopeful, that both families will accept this as a chance to enjoy our company for Christmas, especially after a year of holidays that we missed. I hope we can laugh and talk and just be people: no power struggles, you did this, he did that, how come you haven’t called, and he’s your only brother, blah, blah, blah. I will try to stay in the now without writing a narrative of what should happen, and I will review my coping skills because I will certainly need them.

Deciding to take this trip was not easy for us, due to our past success rate at holidays and the real possibility of snow and ice in the forecast. I know that I can only control me and that I have no control over others, especially those who hide ugly statements in jokes, give you back-handed compliments and smile while saying that you don’t get her humor, even with the proverbial knife in your back. I also have no control over passive-aggressiveness doing battle with intermittent explosive disorder and selective Tourette’s syndrome. I have no control over the weather either.  Life, however, is short. People get older, time keeps going and regrets are a heavy burden to bear. At least our beloved Cat will on the journey with us to offer comfort and love along the way.

© blogdaysofchrell 2014