Posts Tagged ‘life list’

Life List: Take Another Trip With Dad

Things I inherited from my dad*: eyes, coloring, reclusive nature, appreciation of high class things, reading bug, fascination with history, love of cooking and eating great food, impulse to travel

Lots of those things tie together, and never in a better way than when Dad decided it’s time to take a trip.

He wasn’t around much when I was growing up. He wasn’t absent, but he came in somewhere a little light of the classic every-other-weekend-and-two-weeks-in-the-summer standard with which every child of divorce is well familiar. We didn’t have anything in common. Or if we did, we didn’t know it.

We had a breakthrough the summer of my junior year in high school. Dad was going on a trip to Europe, courtesy of his employer. He was a salesman, and the highest earners each year went on a swank trip. He went on a lot of trips. Normally his wife went along, but sometimes the travel fell during their semi-regular breakups. He was meeting a coworker and his wife in New York before they took off (Maybe for Kenya? I get the trips mixed up) and decided to make a weekend of it. I got invited as the stand-in fourth. I was crushed to realize the trip fell in the middle of my spring break trip with my friends, which I would probably have ditched except that I had already shelled out a chunk of my savings for my share of the hotel. But Dad threw open that door that felt so glamorous to me, where anything could be fixed, and experience could be upgraded. He simply flew me from the beach to New York City and then returned me to my friends the following night. On that trip, my first to that city, I saw a Broadway play (Cats). We ate at a famous restaurant (that I’m chagrined to say I can’t remember — Brown Derby Manhattan outpost?) and it was the first time I’d ever seen an a la carte menu. I was shocked that vegetables were extra. I wore my homecoming dress. We stayed at the Marriot Marquis and I sat looking out the window long into the night. Dad made sure we had a room with a view of Times Square. The next day before returning me to the airport he took me to Tavern On the Green. Dazzling. I ordered a soft-shelled crab sandwich and then couldn’t eat more than a bite when I saw that it was a whole, crab-shaped crab still in the shell. I thought soft-shelled was just a name.

It was the beginning of our adult relationship. I think we both had more fun than we expected. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that we enjoyed each other’s company more than we expected.

They broke up again and the summer after I graduated Dad took me to London. We poked our noses in all the sites of some of our favorite historical spots — Westiminster Abbey, The Tower of London, Stonehenge. We talked about the book Sarum, which he’d given me to read the year before. A month later his company sent him on yet another trip and this time I got to go along. We spent a week in Italy, based in Rome. When I was little Dad had given me replicas of all the coins minted during the reign of the Caesars. We talked about Tiberius while standing on a balcony on Capri. I had my first caprese salad there and spent futile years back home asking for “that cheese that looks like melting ice cream” before fresh mozzarella became common.

We’ve gone to Jalisco in Mexico. We’ve gone to Kauai. Dad took me on a long trip to Egypt, a dream come true for both of us. I’ve stood inside the Great Pyramid with him. We rode camels in the Sahara. We flew deep into the desert to see Abu Simbel. We traveled the length of the country, living on a boat on the Nile.

My dad’s health is not great now. He’s unsteady. He doesn’t have any stamina. He’s got a lot going on. I want one more trip with him. I know he wants the same. It will have to be a different kind of trip. I’m thinking a cruise, which will do most of the work for us. He’s got grander ideas, but I think we might be lucky to pull off something even minimally ambitious. This is about a lot more than a trip, of course. I want him to know that it’s more him I’m after than any fancy destination. I want my sons to have done this with him, to understand the source of our love of travel and of history. My dad never gives me parenting advice. All he’s ever said is to be sure to take them out into the world. He should be a part of that.

I’ve been begging and prodding and nagging him to try to get his health in order. I know that he probably won’t. We can’t go unless he does. This is a big goal on the list, and one largely out of my control. It’s reflective of a bigger wish; and a reminder to do what small bit I can to push things in a good direction.

*Things I wish I’d inherited, but did not: height, killer charm

Life List: Grown an Herb Garden

Every week or two I throw hunks of parsley and cilantro in the garbage. And then I buy more. Until grocery stores come around to my way of thinking and start selling herbs one sprig at a time* I’m going to either keep wasting food and money or come up with a new solution. That’s why growing an herb garden is on my life list.

The complication is that I kill everything I grow. I killed a snake plant. I may have killed your plants just by accessing your home via computer monitor. Go check. I WANT to be a grower of green things. (I also want to be a tea drinker.) I’m going to figure this out.

My plan is to grow cilantro, parsley, chives, basil and mint since those are the things I dump in the landfill most frequently. I’m going to buy an inspiring container for each one for motivation.

*I love how I can crack a tiny chunk off the ginger rather than buying a whole root. Last time I got it free because my piece was so small it wouldn’t register on the scale.

Life List: Try 1,000 Recipes from My Cookbook Collection

1. Beet Greens: The Joy of Cooking (1/26/10)
2. Apple Crisp: The Joy of Cooking (2/14/10)
3. Asparagus Canapes: The Joy of Cooking (2/15/10)
4. Miller Thyme Trout: Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food (2/21/10)
5. Carrots and Zucchini with Garlic and Ginger: Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food (2/23/10)
6. Marinated Vegetable Salad: Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food (2/27/10)
7. White Clam Sauce: Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food (3/4/10)
8. Gremolata: Pasta for all Seasons
9. Fettuccini and Green Beans with Peanut Sauce: Pasta for all Seasons
10. Cavatelli with Spicy Veggie Sausage and Tomatoes: Pasta for all Seasons
11. Penne with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Mint: Pasta for all Seasons
12. Chili with Grits Crust: 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes
13. Wild Rice and Mushrooms with Apricots: 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes

Jillian’s Life List: 100 Things

Participate In NaBloPoMo
Make Great Halloween Costumes for My Kids
Take a Picture a Day for a Year
Own a Goat
Get a Proper Bra Fitting
Learn to Build a Roaring Fire
Drive Across the US Without Using Expressways
Attend an Al-Anon Meeting
Run a Mile
Educate Myself About Wine

Try 1,000 Recipes from My Cookbook Collection
Visit Termini Imerese
Take a Trip On a Boat Smaller Than a Cruise Ship
Take a Train Trip
Catch Up On My Backlog of Podcasts
Learn American Sign Language
Attend Alden and Elliot’s College Graduations
Grow an Herb Garden
Take Another Trip With Dad
Live Abroad for At Least Six Months

Get a Dog
Attend a Legally-Recognized Gay Wedding
Save One Million Dollars
Make Mustard
Sponsor an Animal at a Zoo or Sanctuary
Take a Photography Class
Volunteer 1,000 Hours
Try All the Vegetarian Options at Tomato Head
Get Laser Hair Removal
Make a New Friend

Attend a Luau
Watch an Argument Before the Supreme Court
Get a Gorgeous Family Portrait Taken
Finish All Christmas Prep By December 1
Take the Boys Camping
Go an Entire Year Without Soda
Be a Season Ticket Holder to an Arts Organization
Visit Boca del Toros
Get Back to My Pre-Pregnancy Pants
Read All the Unread Books In My House

Make a Great Birthday Cake
Get SCUBA Certified
Try 100 Cheeses
Buy Fresh Flowers Every Week for a Year
Visit Every Continent
Get a Fish Tank
Stay In a Monastery
Send Damon and His Mom On a Cruise
Ride the Maid of the Mists
Skinny Dip at a Mexican Villa

See the Galapagos Islands
Adopt a Daughter
Stay In an East-Coast Beach House
Live In a Cottage
Go a Week Without Wearing Shoes
Make a Great Lemon Curd
Become Known at a Favorite Bar or Restaurant
Make the Perfect Stuffed Artichoke
Win an Award at Work
Move Back to Cincinnati

Serve On the Board of a Non-Profit Organization
Make a Lamp and Lampshade
Have a Water Feature In My Home
Send a Message In a Bottle
Take My Kids to the Places My Dad Took Me
Attend Tapings of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
Take Damon to Howth
Have Original Art for Every Room In the House
Learn Three Dances
Observe Lent

Complete a Family Genealogy
Learn More About Buddhism
Take an Impulsive Train Trip In Europe
Get a Masters Degree
See the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
Mentor a Brilliant Young Woman
Complete the World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle
Take a Cooking Class
Live at the Cabin for a Year, Starting In Summer
Visit 50 Museums

Collect State Quarters With My Kids
Get Rid of All My Clothes (15-Item Exemption) and Start Over
Sleep In a Hammock In the Backyard
Try a Zip Line
Get Comfortable Ice Skating
Renew Our Wedding Vows
Take the Kids to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon
Institute a Regular Sunday Dinner With Family and/or Friends
March In a Pride Parade

Volunteer In a Political Campaign
Pick Five Charities to Support Regularly
Put Window Boxes On My Home
Grow a Lemon Tree
Have an Indoor Swing
Go to Disney World with Mom and the Kids
Drive the Length of Route 1
Sunday Pedicure (Professional Or at Home) for a Year
Sleep In a Tree House
Stay In a Lighthouse

Build a Birdhouse