So What’s on your Bucket List? — My 2014 Bucket List

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As a person I like to live life to its fullest… like running my first marathon in 2013. As a college student my resources are limited. However I do not let my financial limitations limit my life dreams… it just means I cannot do everything that I want to do this month.With that said I have been able to accomplish quite a lot since I first constructed my 2012 Bucket List.

I have completed six of the fourteen items I had on my 2012 Bucket List, including:

Although I feel like I need to redo the Washington D.C. trip because I was there on a weekend when the government was shutdown.

Following is the 2014 version of my bucket list

  • Start a family: My wife and I have had challenges to getting pregnant. We thought it would be fun to have gotten pregnant in the Philippines. We joked about naming our kid Manny or maybe Philip. Although we did not get pregnant in the Philippines, we hope to be pregnant before the end of the year. Adoption is something we have talked about before. It is something we want to do even if we have biological kids. So if we are unable to get pregnant, adoption is something we are cool with.
  • Washington D.C.: This remains on my Bucket List even though I was in D.C. in 2013. The city was closed because of the shutdown which impacted the enjoyment. So… to clarify: I want to visit Washington D.C. and its museums/monuments during a time when access is available to the general public.
  • Start a free college: I began thinking about this a because of the wild tuition increases at colleges. I don’t want an internet college. I want a college with live professors and buildings and classrooms. It would be small (2000 or less), and probably use the Socratic teaching style. I think I need to finish my certificate in nonprofit management along with my PhD before I tackle this idea though. Originally I envisioned this college existing in America. But after visiting the Philippines and seeing so many high school graduates who could not afford college, maybe I will try to do something like that in the Philippines… and make it open to more than 2000 students. I do not have a name for the college yet… although I know it will NOT be named after me.
  • Finish my PhD in sociology: My dissertation will focus on poverty, healthcare, and food.
  • I want to write a fiction novel that gets published.
  • Have a decent size farm so that I can raise a lot of my own food… a couple cows, large gardens, chickens, a few pigs, etc. Yeah, I know that means I probably won’t be teaching at NYU or UCLA… but I’m cool with that.
  • Attend the Olympic Games… summer and winter. The 2016 summer Olympics will be right in the middle or end of my PhD process… but 2020 is a real possibility. The 2018 Winter Games are in South Korea, and that is a goal I think I could hit. It is hard to know what my work schedule will be like 6 years from now.
  • Have some grandkids.
  • Be an extra in a cheap monster movie (science-fiction/fantasy). I would prefer to be an alien or a zombie chasing people… and I don’t think I would want any lines. Maybe I could say ARRRRGGGHHHH!! There was a student film last year that I considered being an extra in… but grad school keeps me really busy. However, I am keeping my eye out for student filmmakers who are looking for extras ;-)
  • Go to Italy. Why? Because I love Italian food… and I have always wanted to go to Italy.  But will “Italian” Italian food be better than “American” Italian food? We’ll see. In addition I want to ride in a Gondola and see the art! Do I need to write a 1000 words to explain why I would want to visit Italy? Nope.
  • Visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia:
  • Snowboard. I was in Colorado for four years but I was BROKE broke when I lived in Colorado. So there was no snowboarding for me then. I’m fine being on the practically flat bunny slopes for my snowboarding. I don’t need to do anything crazy (like a 16-year-old).
  • Visit New York City again. I love New York. I don’t think I could live there. But I would love to take an extended vacation there. I think three weeks would be long enough. Broadway, museums, the Yankees. Yeah… New York is pretty cool.
  • Go watch the Super Bowl Live. I don’t need tickets on the 50-yard-line. But I want really good seats. I wish the bad seats weren’t ridiculously expensive.
  • Have a script I write made into a movie. For this I want either a good science fiction/fantasy movie, or a good romantic comedy. I write both of these screenplays. I can be an extra in a cheap sci-fi film but I don’t want to have MY screenplay turned into a cheap movie. At least not my bucket list film. Maybe I could write a cheapo sci-fi script for fun.

This list was inspired by Bucket List Publications. Do you have a Bucket List?

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The Top Ten Favorite Posts From My Second Year of Blogging

Well, it has been a second year of blogging for Ish Ism. Yes, my first blog post was April 1st, 2012. This second year was clearly harder for me than the first year. They say life has seasons… and this season was a stressful one for me.

1.) I am in my third year of graduate school studying for a comprehensive exam. Studying for the exam takes a lot of time, and I am actually taking it March 31st to April 3rd. So… as this auto post goes up, I am in the middle of a brutal exam. To survive the exam I am fully stocked with coffee, coffee cream, bread, lunch meat, coffee, swiss cheese, coffee, chocolate milk, Soft Batch Cookies, peanuts, and coffee.

2.) I became a foster parent… which apparently also needs coffee.

3.) I am the director of a new blog about food studies. Which, when combined with the other two… needs coffee.

Foster parenting + directing a blog + graduate school + comprehensive exam + marriage = little time for blogging and lots of stress. But by the end of June I will be done with directing the food studies blog, and finished with the comprehensive exam. Thank you to those who continue to drop by even as my blogging has become less regular.

Anyway, following are my top ten favorite posts from my second year of blogging! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

1.) The Seattle Marathon

2.) Today I became a Dad for the First Time

3.) Foster Care Day 26 – Using Cloth Diapers

4.) I finished the Eugene Marathon

5.) My First Time Oil Painting in over 20 Years

6.) Happy Little Trees and the Joy of Painting

7.) Sunset on the Oregon Coast

8.) Cooking with the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

9.) Spider Web in Ice

10.) Reblog from my Wife’s Blog “Things I have actually had to say”

I miss my backyard


What keeps you from gardening?

Originally posted on Ranting About Rectangles:

I realized today just how long it has been since I have spent any time in my backyard – two months. Yep. That’s WAY TOO LONG. But what’s a mother to do? My priorities are just different at the moment.

But I still miss it. I miss the smell of the grass. I miss the cluck of the hens. And even though I sold the last of my Angora rabbits a few months ago, I’m missing them today too. They went to a great home that will be able to utilize their fiber better than I could.

I’ve hired someone to do some of the maintenance that I have let slip. He’s power-washing the rabbit cages for storage, chopping down the new blackberry vines that keep appearing, and doing some general cleanup. Although I was really happy to notice that last month’s storm did not drop a single tree branch…

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Foster Parenting and “Grace”

How do you define grace? For my wife and I, grace is an act of unwarranted favor or mercy toward our foster children. By the definition of foster parenting itself some might consider my wife and I to be showing grace. But for our two foster kids we are definitely displaying grace.

I am not germaphobic. But having foster kids definitely adds a new level of yuck to our home. On Sunday… I watched the two boys (age 3 and 5) all day. At 6 p.m., one of them “accidentally” fell off the toilet… into the bathtub, and deposited poop in the bathtub and on our bathroom mirror. My level of anger was probably a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10–with 1 being everything is awesome… and 10 being Mount St. Helens. I was so mad I could barely speak when I saw the natural art in the bathroom.

What happened next? My wife said she would take care of it, and she graciously allowed me to go to the living room while she cleaned up the natural art in the bathroom.

Then the day after the impromptu art show, we took the boys to the Oregon Zoo. It was my first time taking children to a zoo. It was fun to watch them observe many of the animals Monday. While I watched them enjoying themselves, I thought to myself my wife and I are gracious to the boys for taking them to the zoo the day after the bathroom fiasco.

Today (Tuesday) the three-year-old had a meltdown. An impressive two-hours and 45 minutes, screaming for half of the time… kicking the wall… and calling us names. The young one actually hit/kicked my wife repeatedly, and my wife will most likely have bruises from the meltdown. This was after we took them both to see the movie: The Nut Job.

As soon as the three-year-old calmed down and started to eat dinner, the five-year-old melted down. He took the books on the bookshelf and shoved them all onto the floor. He then screamed and yelled for several minutes. It was insane.

My wife calls it “passing the baton”… because it is difficult for them both to be good at the same time. But it is also very rare for them to both be mad at the same time. Typically one displays bad behavior… and the other displays good behavior.

Tomorrow I expect we will do something else nice for them. Grace is being nice to a person when someone else does not deserve it. Grace is not always easy… especially with two high maintenance kids who lie, punch, kick, throw things, and poop/pee in their underwear when they are angry. But my wife and I are still gracious toward them.

How gracious could you be when two people who are angry at the world take it out on you?

Curing the Pathological Talker

One of our kids rambles. If there is a moment of silence then he must break it. He is almost six. The ramblings are very similar to this:

“The sky is blue…”

“Hey… why is the sky blue?”

“Did you know the sky is blue?”

“I think the blue sky is blue…”

“Look over there… the sky is blue… blue sky over there…”

“What color is the sky? Is it blue?”

“The sky is blue… I think… did you know that the sky is blue? I knew the sky is blue.”

And on, and on. He knows the answer, but has to keep talking about it. It’s not just that he is talking without stopping… it’s that he stays focused on the same topic, but doesn’t even seem to pay attention to what he is saying. Many times he answers the question that he asks in the next sentence.

Today on the way to the grocery store…

“There’s rain… hey… it’s raining…”

“It’s rain out there…”

“The trees are wet… there’s rain on the trees…”

“The ground is wet… hey, there’s rain on the ground…”

“The trees have rain on them…”

“Look, rain on the trees… because it’s raining, so there’s rain on the trees.. the trees are wet…”

I’m not trying to impede Freedom of Speech… But is this pathological talking a problem? What do you think? What would you do (other than buy earplugs)?