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Monday, June 23, 2008

100 Things To Do Before I Go

This morning I enjoyed a lovingly prepared breakfast of buttered toast with jam, 3 farm fresh eggs (over easy), a glass of fresh orange juice and a cup of delicious Sumatran coffee.  Zahava gives me the royal treatment far more often than I'm really entitled, but today there just happened to be a reason; It's my birthday. 

Every year during my pre-birthday funk I try to put together a list of 'stuff' about myself to post here on treppenwitz.  These lists tend to be part self-discovery and part exhibitionism.  They also happen to be very therapeutic for getting me out of the above-mentioned funk. 

This year I wanted to do something a bit different.  Instead of only looking backwards towards stuff I've done, I wanted to also look forward... towards things I want to accomplish. 

I've seen variations of the old '100 things to do before I die' list floating around the blogosphere and admit to having been tempted.  But I've never been happy with the 'cookie cutter' aspect of the meme. 

I mean seriously; "Give birth to my own baby" might be a laudable goal... but it might be a bit of a reach for me, wouldn't you agree?  And "Eat junk food for an entire day without feeling guilty" isn't particularly note-worthy in my world.   How about doing that and actually feeling guilty for a change?! 

Also, so many of the things on those pre-made lists seem so passive: 'Go to a rock concert?'... "Be a member of an audience for a TV show"?  "Go to the World Series... or Super Bowl"?    While those may be fun things to do... why not just write a nice catch-all like "Become an anonymous, faceless member of a herd?'"   This is supposed to be a list of individual wants, needs, desires, yearnings... right?  Just checking. 

So, in honor of my 47th trip around the sun, here is a first draft (in no particular order) of my '100 Things To Do Before I Go' (checked items in Bold have already been accomplished... at least partially):

1) Write (commission) a Sefer Torah

Checkmark_4 2)  Swim with dolphins

Checkmark_43)  Swim with sharks

Checkmark_44) Skydive

Checkmark_45) Have my portrait painted [the following is actually a photo I had taken for my parents that the studio painted over for effect.  Remember, this was before the days of photoshop.  [Note: The small ribbon on my uniform was mis-colored by the painter because he couldn't clearly see the unit citation (Battle 'E') I was actually wearing at the time as it is similar in color to the uniform.]:
Sailor
                [click to embiggen]

Checkmark_46) Learn to speak a foreign language

Checkmark_47) Go skinny-dipping at midnight in the South of France (OK, it was Maui at 3AM, sue me!).

Checkmark_48) Save someone's life.

9) Learn to swim perfect laps in a pool (I can sidestroke and breast stroke for miles in the ocean, but I never learned that smooth, perfect crawl I see the fit old men and women doing at the local pool).

10) Have a piece published in the 'Lives' section of the NY Times magazine or in 'The New Yorker'.

Checkmark_411) Drive the old Route 66 all the way from Chicago to LA.

12) Own (us, not the bank!) our home

Checkmark_413) Make my own wine

Checkmark_414) Work on an archaeological dig

Checkmark_415) Become an amateur beekeeper and have my kids help me with the hives

Checkmark_416) Drive the Merrit Parkway (Connecticut) during the Fall Foliage season

17) Visit Venice with someone who understands and appreciates art (my wife)

Checkmark_418) Learn to sail competently

19) Fly an 'Ultralight' plane and/or glider

20)  Try to live my life so that I actually overhear someone referring to me as a 'Renaissance Man'

Checkmark_421)  Be written up in Forbes or the Wall Street Journal (OK, it was Globes, but still!)

Checkmark_422)  Spot a complete stranger reading treppenwitz in an Internet coffee bar... and not say a word

Checkmark_423) Send a message in a bottle

Checkmark_424) Ride a camel into the desert

25) Take an African Safari and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro at sunrise

Checkmark_426) Plant a lemon tree and serve guests in our home icy cold Limoncello made from the fruit

27) Learn not to say 'yes' when what I really mean is 'no'

Checkmark_428) Write a fan letter to my all-time favorite hero (sadly, it arrived after he had passed away)

29) Buy a ridiculously expensive (but fantastically comfortable) bed

30) Learn to wear a sun-hat without feeling self-conscious

Checkmark_431) Learn to cook and bake so that people seek out dinner invitations

32) Build a real Scandinavian sauna and share it often with friends and family

Checkmark_433) Fall deeply in love — helplessly and unconditionally

34) Take an overnight train trip and sleep in a Pullman (or the European equivalent thereof)

35) Visit all 50 US States (I'm only missing Alaska)

36) Write that novel

37) Frame and hang all those wonderful old family photographs

38)  Be well known enough (for good reasons) to have a legitimate Wikipedia page written about me

Checkmark_439) Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich (It was August in Heidelberg, does that count?)

Checkmark_440) Be someone’s mentor

Checkmark_441) Shower in a waterfall (Photo taken in southern Luzon the Philippines)

Waterfall
                [click to embiggen]

42) Become so close with my children that they'd want me to come along on their post army trips abroad (not that I would)

Checkmark_443) Cycle around the island of Oahu on a perfect summer day (this was taken near Hanauma Bay.  I'm the guy on the right)
Hanauma_bay
                          [click to embiggen]

44) Make my own Root Beer

45) Cycle through Holland with my family

46) Hike the length and breadth of Israel with my family

47) Cycle the length and breadth of Israel with my family

48) Have a lap pool in my back yard (you know, the small single lane ones where the water moves and you swim in place)

Checkmark_449) Keep the list of countries I've visited larger than the number of trips I've made around the sun

Checkmark_450) Tell the people in my life I love them as often as possible

Checkmark_451) Experience weightlessness

52) Give bone marrow, a kidney or a liver lobe

Checkmark_453) Fly in a helicopter

Checkmark_454) Camp across America from coast to coast (twice!)

Checkmark_455) Institute a weekly movie night with my family to share the classics (and not-so-classics)

56) Have 'The Talk' with each of our kids in such a way that they will try to remember it verbatim when they have kids of their own

57) Write my/our will (one nagging detail keeps us from doing this!  Very bad!!!)

Checkmark_458) Sleep alone under the stars

59) Build and fly a radio controlled glider with my kids

Checkmark_460) Learn to play a musical instrument well

61) Book a conference room with a big round table at the Algonquin Hotel, invite the smartest and most interesting people I know to share ideas over excellent food and drink.  Make it a recurring event.

Checkmark_462) Make (and enjoy) homemade ice cream with the kids

Checkmark_463) Scuba Dive in exotic locations (Hawaii, Maldives, Philippines, Australia, Thailand, etc.)

64)  Get intentionally locked inside a high-end bookstore (the kind with overstuffed chairs & couches) overnight with a backpack full of gourmet picnic food/drink.

65) Learn to accept compliments without blushing

66) Learn to accept criticisms without blushing

67) Take a carpentry/cabinet making course

68) Own and use fine woodworking tools

Checkmark_469) Raft through the Grand Canyon and hike from both the northern and southern rims to the canyon floor

70) Learn how to blow glass and how to work with gold/silver

71) Live in such a way that smart and influential people seek out my opinion... but be wise enough not to feel the need to offer it

72) Grow a well-planned vegetable garden

73) Get into optimum shape

Checkmark_474) Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring

75) Accept myself for who I am

76) Figure out what I want to be when I grow up

Checkmark_477) Spend a night reading a good book in a tent during a wild rainstorm with lightning flashing overhead

78) Go up in a hot-air balloon

79) Spend a night in a Scandinavian Ice Hotel

80)  Become adept at river sculling and/or ocean rowing

81) Become a compulsive 'Thank You' note writer.

Checkmark_482) Give to a charity — anonymously

83)  Rent a large sailboat and sail the Greek islands with two or three other couples for a week or two

Checkmark_484) Show off my family at places where I experienced the greatest feelings of self doubt in my youth to prove to the ghost of my younger self how well I've lived my life

85) Throw casual dinner parties (stews) for friends at least once every couple of months

86) Learn to play electric Bass competently (I'm learning... but am not far enough along to check this one off the list)

87) Learn to quilt

Checkmark_488) Go fishing and eat the catch before the day is out

Checkmark_489) Let my children overhear me complimenting them to others (Note to self: Do this often!)

90) Convert our home entirely to Solar power (electricity & heat)

Checkmark_491) Take a cruise (heh, does 4 years in the 'Big Gray Canoe Club' count?)

92) Be granted hereditary arms by the College of Arms (I technically qualify due to a branch of the family tree that left the UK in the 19th century)

Checkmark_493) Create my Family Tree

94) Take batting practice in Fenway Park, put one over the 'Green Monster'... and casually trot the bases.

95) Listen to Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture while sitting in Fingal's Cave off the coast of Scotland

Checkmark_496) Ski a Blue Square run on Telemark Skis

97) Retire to the Golan or northern Galilee with enough land to keep a few domestic animals (cows, chickens, sheep, etc.) and raise a few small crops

Checkmark_498) Climb a mountain in a winter blizzard and camp near its snowy summit (bonus points for setting up the spare ten at 2:00AM when the first one gets ripped apart by high winds and driving snow)

Checkmark_499) Hike at least part of the Appalachian Trail

100) Really finish all the things on this list (and then some) before I go

[Here is a collection of lists from previous years for any newcomers to the party.]

Inspired by: Mighty Girl

Posted by David Bogner on June 23, 2008 | Permalink

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Happy Birthday! 73 years to go, I guess that's plenty of time...

ad 22: there isn't a story for that incident? I'd sure love to hear it.

ad 39: doesn't count, because firstly, there is no Oktoberfest in Heidelberg and Weissbier isn't a local specialty (and you wouldn't order anything else at an Oktoberfest), secondly, Kurpfalz isn't Bavaria (I'm particularly sensitive to that, and not because I side with Bavarians), and thirdly, Munich Oktoberfest is the original. :)

Posted by: a | Jun 23, 2008 11:49:47 AM

Happy birthday David. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jun 23, 2008 12:12:12 PM

Happy birthday! I've done the hot air balloon thing...it was fun...and not too scary.

Posted by: Safranit | Jun 23, 2008 12:28:56 PM

Happy Birthday David! We are the same age. Great idea to make a wish list. I think it will make me realise what a blessed life I've had so far -thanks be to G-d

Posted by: Noa | Jun 23, 2008 12:42:57 PM

Happy birthday David! Wow, you've already accpomplished so much. And really cool things too!

If you get to do 45, let me know! I'd love to meet you guys, and maybe ride together. I've been a long time reader, since just before I visited Israel in 2005, but am just now slowly de-lurking.

Posted by: Naomi | Jun 23, 2008 1:22:35 PM

Happy Birthday Trep!

But, I have to add that you don't get to cross the item off your list if all you did was take a picture of a younger, better-looking version of you accomplishing the task.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Jun 23, 2008 1:55:31 PM

Happy birthday, David. Consider yourself hugged and kissed from your older sister!

Posted by: val | Jun 23, 2008 1:56:51 PM

In #43, is that your Bianchi? How about for #101, ride down Amsterdam Avenue from 185th street to 14th street at midnight, making every green light from 59th street to Union Square. Bonus points if unidentified woman strokes your calf in wonder when stopped at a light in Spanish Harlem.

Posted by: Alan T. | Jun 23, 2008 2:00:11 PM

He turned your Battle E into an NDSM ribbon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Service_Medal

STGSN Bogner needed a haircut and shave. Another proud beneficiary of the Z-Grams. :)

Do you remember the beer vending machines in the barracks?

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jun 23, 2008 2:30:10 PM

Happy Birthday! I guess walking barefoot though West Phila. isn't something you aspired to. . . it just sort of happened.

Posted by: Rachel | Jun 23, 2008 2:47:30 PM

a... I knew I could count on you on that one. Does that constitute an official invitation? :-)

Ilana-Davita... as Otter said to Boon in National Lampoon's 'Animal House', "Don't think of it as work. The whole point is just to enjoy yourself." I try to keep that in mind (and maintain the same level of decorum) when I update treppenwitz. :-)

Safranit... I went to the Hot air Balloon Festival in Binghamton NY with an old girlfriend (the one who ended up introducing me to my wife), but I have never had a ride in one.

Noa... Every day above ground is a good day. :-)

Naomi... I may take you up on that. Thanks! :-)

dfb1968... No fair! Everything I've done in my life (except, perhaps enjoy this morning's breakfast) was done by a younger, better looking version of me! :-)

val... Thanks. And to think... if you'd had your way, mom and dad would have left me at the hospital! :-)

Alan T... You'll have to admit that's not much of an accomplishment. But I do remember the girl stroking one of our legs... I just don't remember which of us it was! and yes, that was my custom Bianchi (A"H... I finally sold it before we made aliyah).

Karl Newman... WHen I asked the guy from the studio why he'd given me an NDSM instead of the Battle 'E' he said, "Oh is that what it was? I'm so used to everyone having the NDSM (post Vietnam) that I just assumed they were still giving them out.". Talk about living in the past! And don't besmirch Admiral Zumwalt. The relaxed uniform standards is one of the reasons I chose the Navy over the other branches. You may not have liked the beer machines, beards and mustaches... but the man had integrity. As The head of naval forces in Vietnam, it was his decision to order the use of agent orange. His son was on the Swift Boats and ended up ultimately dying of cancer... likely as a result of exposure to agent orange. During his son's fight against the cancer it turned out that his daughter was a perfect bone marrow match. But Zumwalt realized that not all people who needed a bone marrow transplant had relatives who were able or willing to donate marrow. Even though it wasn't going to benefit his son, he apparently felt so responsible for the agent orange cancers that he helped set up the national bone marrow registration system that is still in use today.

Rachel... See what I'll do in the name of [drunken] chivalry? And how neat is it that I was walking you back to your dorm room from a bacchanalia, er, I mean party thrown by another commenter on this post (Alan T).

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 23, 2008 3:09:34 PM

Happy Birthday! #79 is on my list too.

Posted by: PP | Jun 23, 2008 3:21:31 PM

Happy birthday! I'm a pretty new reader and I mostly lurk, but I wanted to greet you anyway and I just want to say that I enjoy your posts and insights a lot :)

Posted by: reg | Jun 23, 2008 3:24:10 PM

Happy Birthday!

Learn to quilt? Color me surprised. : ) Not that there's anything wrong with that. You could make a lovely cozy for your French Press pot.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 23, 2008 3:25:36 PM

David, I put a smiley at the end of the Z-Gram comment for a reason. I was teasing you and reminiscing about the days that we both remember, not bashing Admiral Zumwalt.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jun 23, 2008 3:53:14 PM

PP... Of course my wife has informed me that I will be doing that one on my own... which sort of defeats the whole idea of staying warm. :-)

reg... Why thank you! I am so please whenever someone comes out of hiding to say hello. As any blogger/journaler can tell you, there is nothing more puzzling than seeing hundreds of 'hits' on the old stat counter yet never hearing from most of the people who are reading along.

Alice... Nah, I usually use a dishtowel for that. But I have to admit that inheriting some quilts that my grandmother made from scraps of old baby clothes had a profound effect on me. I'd love to be able to do something like that... maybe even make it a family project.

Karl... No worries. i knew you were teasing. I just jumped on the opportunity to tell people about a special person... a sailor's sailor if ever there was one.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 23, 2008 4:02:13 PM

Happy Birthday Trep!
i am in awe of how much you have already accomplished and at 35 feel i should have accomplished more than i should. now off i go to work on my list - do i even have 100 aspirations????
now you have got me thinking, darn it, and i swore off coffee weeks ago - i need a jolt!!

Posted by: Hadassah | Jun 23, 2008 4:10:47 PM

Happy birthday.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 23, 2008 5:06:29 PM

Happy Birthday! I just had my 45th as well. Great list of things to work toward. Makes me want to create my own. I just love reading about you and your family. What a great bunch of people! You have a wonderful wife. That breakfast sounds awesome.

Posted by: Maya | Jun 23, 2008 5:06:58 PM

happy birthday old man.

Posted by: weese | Jun 23, 2008 5:29:30 PM

Happy Birthday David! I won't take No for an answer to accompany you on the African Safari, I ofcourse intend to squeeze in the Tsavo and the Kenyan bit of the Great Rift Valley in your schedule, but I'll save that till you get here, soon I hope :-)

Posted by: Rami | Jun 23, 2008 5:52:38 PM

Happy birthday, David!

How was it swimming with the dolphins? And... eep... the sharks?

I like lots of things on your list, but I really like No. 1.

I notice that hiking El Camino del Re isn't on your list (whew!). :-)

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 23, 2008 5:56:59 PM

Happy birthday, David! My Beloved took bass lessons. His teacher reminded him: "Keanu Reeves can play the bsss. It's an instrument that takes minutes and minutes to master." ;-)

Posted by: Meg | Jun 23, 2008 6:09:09 PM

Happy birthday! I won't say anything about 'old man' because we are peers (I turned 47 in May). FYI, If you ever get around to #61, I would gladly volunteer to be either Harpo Marx or Bob Benchley (I have most of his books) ;o/

I think I'd have to build my list backwards, for starters; yours makes me feel rather limited in my scope. The backwards list is a good idea, because (one hopes) you'd at least get an idea that you'd accomplished *something* in 40-odd years.

Dark advice: If you're going to swim with dolphins at least make sure it's not during mating season.

Thanks, as always (or most always), for a thought-provoking time (the backward link to the "thank you letter" post was a meaningful one for me, a fairly unconventional maths teacher).

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 23, 2008 6:46:40 PM

PS -- if you think I'm going to embiggen that picture for #41 you got another think coming. If you catch my drift.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 23, 2008 6:49:31 PM

Happy birthday, Trep! Thanks for the years of great writing. Looking forward to years more...

Posted by: Albert | Jun 23, 2008 8:45:33 PM

happy Birthday David!! And many, many more.....

Posted by: Baila | Jun 23, 2008 8:50:11 PM

I share more than a dozen on this list (as dreams), but I'd like to comment on #44: make root beer. I've never done it either, but I think the hardest part is getting the root beer extract, and I see it for sale everywhere. Hm. As I searched for recipes, they all look more complicated than my Nourishing Traditions lactofermented root beer recipe I've been wanting to try (I don't have my cookbook with me, and it's been a while, so can't remember it). *However*, this historical site, Brewing Root Beer looks very interesting. It tells you how to use fresh ingredients.

Posted by: Channah | Jun 23, 2008 9:07:34 PM

Yom Huledet Sameach!

Posted by: SaraK | Jun 23, 2008 9:40:27 PM

Wow, that picture of you in your sailor uniform, looks like you just step into the 1940's - what a very handsome photo.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Posted by: jaime | Jun 24, 2008 1:04:59 AM

Happy Birthday. I'm trying to get back to 45.

Posted by: Mickysolo | Jun 24, 2008 3:07:02 AM

great list! happy birthday!!!

Posted by: phyllis | Jun 24, 2008 6:19:09 AM

Happy Birthday to you! A bunch of us in our village are also considering #97 - let's go on a prospecting trip and make it happen!

Posted by: yonah | Jun 24, 2008 6:55:31 AM

see the movie "bucket list"

Posted by: Lion of Zion | Jun 24, 2008 8:05:43 AM

Happy Birthday! Very hunky pictures.

Posted by: mata hari | Jun 24, 2008 8:38:30 AM

Dear David,

happy birthday to you ! ( belated wish, but...coming from my heart )

Posted by: Jany | Jun 24, 2008 9:20:37 AM

many happy returns, as we say, and that's despite the things we have in common, and because of the things where we see differntly.
BTW in order to see eye-to-eye, don't we need to be one facing North(for example) and the other facing South? Think about it!

Posted by: asher | Jun 24, 2008 10:27:42 AM

Hadassah... A lot of my 'accomplishments' are basically 'shooting the arrow and then painting the bulls-eye around it once it has hit something'. :-)

Jack... Thanks.

Maya ... No wonder this friendship works so well. I love writing about myself and my family. :-) Oh, and yes... I know how lucky I am in the wife department.

weese... The only reason I'm not offended by that is that you were in my High School class and share the same level of decrepitude, er, I mean vintage. :-)

Rami... Oh all right. Seeing as you live nearby... speak the language(s)... and know the local culture, I suppose that would be OK. :-)

Rahel... the dolphins and sharks were both encountered in the wild. The dolphins were a bit skittish and wouldn't let me get too 'touchy', and the sharks basically ignored us (thank G-d) after doing a wide circle around us to see what we were. I would still love to hike the El Camino... but that is not one of my life's ambitions. :-)

Meg... Hmmm, I'd forgotten about Keanu Reeves. How hard could it be, right? :-)

Wry Mouth... I'd invite you along in any case since none of my other 'idea people' know enough math to figure out the check. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed the story about my teacher. From the little I know of you it sounds like your style. :-)

Albert... One day at a time.

Baila... Amen!

Channah... See, not as easy as you thought! :-) I LOVE root beer but none of the commercially available stuff (which costs a fortune here when you can find it) can hold a candle to the stuff I remember from when I was a kid.

SaraK... Thanks!

jaime... That's the picture I use in my JDate profile too (KIDDING Zahava!) :-)

Mickysolo... Good point. Just because I check these things off my list doesn't mean I wouldn't want to do them again. OK, I'm done with skydiving... been there, done that, got the T-shirt. :-)

phyllis... Thanks. When are you writing your list? :-)

yonah... Maybe if we go up north together this summer we can set aside a little time to check out land for sale or moshavim with openings.

Lion of Zion ... I'll take it under advisement.

mata hari... Seeing as you've seen me as a grown-up I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment. :-)

Jany... Never too late. Thanks.

asher... thank you. Oh, and the 'seeing eye to eye' idiom is from Tanach (Isaiah 52:8). It is specifically talking about watchmen who sing together because they see eye to eye (i.e. are on the same side).

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 24, 2008 11:01:02 AM

Happy birthday David! If you want to know about learning to blow glass, write to westbankpapa. This was one of his dreams too and he did it this year.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 24, 2008 11:40:50 AM

Happy birthday! You have had quite a lot of adventure, I see...

Hmmm.....maybe I will do a similar list for mine. Something to think about....

Posted by: Gila | Jun 24, 2008 9:55:47 PM

Happy Birthday....and many more. Accomplishments and Birthdays.

I have a things I want to avoid list. I am doing quite well on that one. Sorry, if I did have a things to do list it would not include mastering the trombone...I'd be thrilled to get an almost-in-tune Bflat major scale out of it.

Posted by: shmiel | Jun 25, 2008 2:23:23 AM

Happy Birthday...just a little too late.

That's quite a bucket list ya got there, Chief. I enjoyed it for both the things you have done and accomplished as well as for the things you still aspire to. They are a measure of your neshama.

Ad meah v'esrim, chaveri!

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 25, 2008 5:32:41 AM

westbankmama... Oooh, good to know. Thanks

Gila... I'll look forward to reading it.

shmiel... No hard feelings. Trombone is an acquired taste. :-)

Elisson... Thanks. I'm sure your list is equally fascinating.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 25, 2008 11:25:33 AM

Happy (belated) birthday! I'm so sorry for commenting so late!

Pretty impressive list.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jun 25, 2008 4:19:21 PM

weirdo!!

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 25, 2010 9:46:21 AM

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