When I was about to turn 65 years old, I thought about how important it is to live life to the fullest, enjoying and appreciating each minute. I knew that there were many wonderful experiences I still wanted to have. So I sat down and created a “bucket list” that had 25 items on it. Over the last 7 years, I crossed off most of the items on the list as I completed them, including getting a tattoo (two, actually), skydiving, swimming with sharks, parasailing, and traveling to some specific locations. Still, a few items remained, including……wait for it……milking a cow!
Many people laughed at me when I told them I wanted to milk a cow, but I didn’t mind -- I just smiled and continued on my quest. I grew up in Chicago, and the closest I ever got to a cow was driving along the roads in Wisconsin on our way to a summer vacation.
Finally, this weekend, just 2 days after my 72nd birthday, I MILKED A COW! With the help of some good friends, I met Pearl, a big tan cow, at a local farm. I loved petting her, looking into those huge brown eyes, and talking to her. In fact, I spent more time petting and talking to her than I did milking her. She responded to me like a dog probably would have, nudging my hand and making satisfied noises. That was great fun. The milking was easier than I had been told it would be. But, drinking the fresh, warm milk was not a highlight! I have never liked warm milk, and Pearl’s milk coated my tongue in a way I didn’t like. Nevertheless, I feel very satisfied to have milked a cow, and my bucket list is one item shorter.
Now, there is one unusual item left on my “bucket list”: playing in a Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament. I am not brave enough to do it by myself, and all of my friends either don’t know how to play or just don’t want to. So, if you know anyone willing to take an OK poker player like me (who is a novice at tournament play) to a small, low entry fee tournament, let me know. I have no expectations of winning or even lasting very long. I just want to play for however long my chips last. Sounds like fun, right?
Here’s the thing. I have truly enjoyed creating and having a “bucket list”. It has helped me be brave enough to try many things I probably would not have done without it. It has given me many awesome moments and lots more to look forward to. So, if you don’t have a “bucket list” already, I encourage you to create one. As J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Gandalf, said in The Lord of the Rings, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
Guest blog written by social media volunteer Melissa.
Did Memorial Day Weekend have anyone else feeling like it’s finally summer in the Pacific Northwest? With temperatures in the 80s and massive amounts of sunshine I quickly realized I was not prepared. Not only were my shorts and swimsuit cover-up somehow missing, but my sandals from last year were almost worn out and all my dresses seemed to be made of the heaviest sweat inducing materials. If this was a precursor for summer, I wasn’t going to last.
Knowing I needed to not only prep for the upcoming weekend, but also summer itself, I quickly assessed my wardrobe and got to shopping. Here are some of the summer essentials I recommend for spending time in the sun.
Floppy or wide brimmed hat – these are perfect for keeping your head from getting sunburnt while also protecting your neck and shoulders. Plus, these hats are trendy right now! Go black for chic look or decorate yours with sequin lettering or tassels.
A good pair of shorts – Shorts are pretty much a summer staple. No one wants to be stuck wearing pants and getting swamp legs – that’s just unbearable. I always try to find a pair of classic shorts that are quality and that will stand the test of time and fads. While embroidery, weathering, and short shorts are popular trends, they won’t last. A classic pair of shorts is like a good pair of jeans, basic is always better and will last you longer.
Sunglasses -- even a cheap pair of sunglasses is better than not having any at all. Polarized sunglasses are best when spending a lot of time in the sun, but even if you have a bunch of random sunglasses from promos or events, wear them. Yours eyes will thank you.
Comfortable sandals – I don’t know how many times I’ve bought cheap sandals or flip flips only to have my feet hate me or for them to fall apart within weeks of buying them. Because of this, I always go for comfort and quality. I live in my sandals throughout the summer, so finding a good pair that can handle a lot of walking, sun, sand, and water is a Seattle essential.
Swimsuit – The Pacific Northwest summer is only a short window where it doesn’t threaten to rain constantly, so it’s important to get the most out of your swimsuit. Because I hate having to buy a new swimsuit every year, I tend to buy mix and match pieces. That way I can add a new top or bottom if I feel like it, but can also mix up the different pieces I already own. This makes it look like I’ve bought a new bathing suit and also that I’m not wearing the same one all the time.
Swimsuit cover-up – When I was younger I always thought swimsuit cover-ups were dumb. Who needed an extra piece of clothing when you could just wear your bathing suit everywhere? Now that I do more than just hang by the pool and sun all day, I find a cover up or dress is a great essential to throw on over your swimsuit so you can run errands or go to events without having to completely change your outfit.
Lightweight dresses – Breathable fabric and light weight dresses are another summer necessity. No one wants to feel sweaty all day even when they’re in a dress. Lightweight materials also transition nicely between spring to summer and summer to fall. You can add a sweater or tights if you get cold, or go without if it’s too warm.
Pool floaty – Giant swans or pizza pool floaties are all the rage right now. Whether you have a pool, plan on floating the river, or hanging out at the lake these are a fun way to relax and make all your friends jealous with your Instagram photos.
And finally, SUNBLOCK. This is my number one summer essential! I always wear at least SPF 30, if not higher. While some people think it’s better to get a bad sunburn to start off the summer, I’d rather stay protected and grow a gradual and safe summer tan. Sunburns are painful and even cooled fridge aloe doesn’t take the pain away. Be safe, wear some SPF, and reapply regularly. However, if you do get burnt, make sure to have some aloe gel handy to soothe your skin.
Memorial Day weekend gave us a taste of summer to come. Is your wardrobe summer ready?
Susan is a frequent volunteer at Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, where she sorts, prices, and stocks merchandise to her heart's content. Before retirement, she owned and operated a consignment shop for women's plus size clothing in Seattle. Through trial and error and talking with customers, she learned a thing or two. An avid "thrift shopper," Susan loves to buy clothing, especially when she gets good quality and value for her money.
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