Monday, December 08, 2014

This Catholicism thing can be a PITA

Today is the celebration of the Immaculate Conception, or a day when I have to drag my butt to church and it is not a weekend day, a day of obligation.
Yes, I pondered forgetting about it and just confessing missing it later, but when I remembered it (a better person would have put the day in her calendar with an alarm) I had a good 20 minutes to hoof it over to the nearest Catholic church during my lunch hour. An hoof it I did, and when I showed up there was almost nothing but standing room, but after some looking around I managed to squeeze in a pew that had as much leg room as a cheap flight to Florida.
Nothing too hard about it, except my own church as spoiled me with the '30 minutes or your next mass is free' speed. To get a mass to be short it helps to cut out all the singing. The signing did not help because some churches have different music they sing parts of the mass to and since it has been years since I've regularly attended a singing mass, I have no clue. I know the words but the music throws me for a loop. I know I wasn't the only one because I heard a bit of confusion during the bits we the congregation say/sing. It didn't help that the acoustics at times made the speaker sound as clear as announcement on the metro.
I fulfilled my obligation.   Rushing back I was thinking, my schedule was way simpler when I was an Episcopal. But but then again, maybe I was tired. I went to mass on Saturday and then lesson and carols on Sunday....

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Songs for the saints

Being raised Baptist, I have uneasy relationship with the saints. I can get my mind around the idea of asking the dead for intercessions as we ask live friends to pray for us. However I see the relationship with the saints uneven.
A former, now retired, co-worker introduced me to the poem/prayer "Saint Anthony, St. Anthony, help me look around. Help make what was lost, now to be found." I only say this when desperate and I sing it. It sound like a minor song in a Broadway musical. Slightly jazzy, and slow.
When I started riding my bike to work, something I'm doing less of as it gets colder, I thought I needed a song for Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers. I tried a song, similar to the one I gave St. Anthony, but it wasn't right. So I made up a song, a different, very bluesy song to sing while I biked avoiding pot holes and cars that seem to be blind to the bike lane.

St. Chris
St. Chris
St. Chris in the city
I ask that you pray and have pity.
Intercede for us
So I don't get hit by a bus.
Pray for the bikers, the walkers and the cars on the road.
Pray for the truckers who carry a load.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I do not care for football. I don't watch it. I don't pretend to understand it. And really if I were queen of the world I'd eliminate American Football from the face of the earth. Despite my disinterest, I can't seem to escape the story of Ray Rice, a local (Baltimore Ravens) football player who knocked out his wife (then fiancee) in a hotel elevator. The response from the media has been one of shock and outrage. The news cycle doesn't seem to be done with the story, because an indefinite suspension, doesn't appear to be enough for the masses. Hopefully, the cycle will move towards redemption, for both Ray and Janay Rice, but right now I'm not hearing much about redemption.

What I am hearing is punishment and anger. The anger is justified and understandable. Punishment, necessary. Unfortunately, it has resulted in the NFL throwing both Ray and his wife out into the cold. What they need is love, paths towards forgiveness and redemption. What would have been nice, would have been for the NFL to suspend Rice for say a season, AND provide marriage/family counseling and anger management to the couple, to wrap their arms around this family and say, "we abhor what you (Ray) did and what we saw, but we want you to be a better man and a stronger woman, and we want to walk with you to that better place." But no, that's not what the masses want.

Thankfully, our Lord and Father is not the NFL. He offers redemption and forgiveness because he knows we are royal screw-ups deeply in need of both. I have seen G-d redeem my father, who was an angry drunk and abusive husband. When I doubt the Lord, I remember the miracle he worked in my parents' life how he brought back to life the dry bones of a marriage of 30 years after 10 years of divorce. No human could have brought forth that, no human (not his family nor friends) convinced my father to stop drinking and to heal whatever pain he was trying to self-medicate. 

Our Lord has redeemed thieves, murderers, and the like. He redeemed Saul, a man who sought to eliminate early Christians, we know him as Paul, author of several books in the New Testament. He redeemed John Newton, a slave trader in the 18th Century, who we know as the author of "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me...."

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Romans 3:23-24

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Prayers and intercessions

Today was a hard bike ride. Not because it was hot, but that didn't help. No, it was because of two lost women who I believe did not understand English all that well, trying to get somewhere on the 1000 blk of M St. NW. They stopped me and asked for directions on N St. I, figuring the city is a grid and you go with the grid, pointed them towards M St and the direction they needed to go but, OH NO DO NOT ENTER- ONE WAY. Being on a bike I forgot that the street was funky. I did not make myself clear and they wound up following me. Long story short, they went in the correct direction down a street that wouldn't help them. Hindsight kept bugging me on the way to work. I should have led them to a route that would have got them back on to M. Hindsight.
So I did what I thought I could do, I prayed. Somewhere on Massachusetts Ave, I prayed to G-d that the ladies would find their destination, or at least someone who spoke Spanish. Then later I asked St. Christopher, as I held my St. Christopher's medal and prayed for him to intercede for the women. Then when I got to work, I called up my husband and asked him to pray for the women.
If you pray, please pray for those who get lost on DC streets.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Watch what you watch

We used to watch TMZ for the entertainment value.
We don't have cable and we hardly watch network broadcast television so we miss out on the reality shows and latest anything, so TMZ was a way to hear about people we don't know nor care about. But we stopped, mainly because the show was too raunchy and I don't need anything from the show stuck in my head.
That is a problem I'm noticing. Maybe it is a sign of getting older because I don't remember scenes or outlooks from television getting playback in my head, when I didn't want it, when I was younger. Other stuff, like things I read would occasionally pop up in my younger days, but not often since I was in grad school and hardly read anything for fun. Now, and maybe at least since I became over 35, I noticed these things that I consume resurface, like a dead body in the river, when I least expect or desire them.
I can't watch Law & Order:SVU anymore. One reason, compared to all the other L&Os, this one was the worse. The others were more about the crime, not about the cops. Another reason, I prefer dead body police procedurals, not raped/abused person of any age procedural. A friend told me that since becoming a mom she couldn't watch L&O:SVU at all, it plants fear into your mind. I was bored and did watch one SVU episode and regretted it several days after when a script, a line of thought, kept replaying itself in my head. The problem was this script was distracting and countered all the other scripts that loop in my head that keep me happy and sane and focused on what matters. I don't need Hollywood's or NYC's writers to tell me of crime. When I first moved into my neighborhood I would hear gunshots often and I had 24 hour drug dealers on the corner. I figured out my own way of being safe in the city and TV warps it.
Though not television I had to take a certain song out of my workout playlist because it too was messing with my head. It must be an age thing. Things I used to listen to gleefully when I was a teen, semi-shocks me when I can't help but to get the double meaning. Back in the 80s it went over my head. But back to my pulled workout song, it was the clean version but I can fill in the blanks. The problem was I was constantly filling in the blanks in my head and I didn't like where my thought patterns were going.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Short: How Taxes differ from Charitable Giving

Of the many many ways taxes differ from charitable giving is that people don't spend time how they can give less charity, compared to how much effort is given for tax breaks, loopholes, shelters, and the like.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He has risen

He has risen indeed!
Joyous Easter everybody, and I mean everybody for Christ died for you and me and a whole bunch of people. But better yet, he rose again, left the tomb, ran some errands in Hell and returned, and then left again ascending into Heaven.
I am engaging in my traditional Easter activity of staying home. I dislike crowds* with a growing passion. Last night's Easter vigil was good. Yes, I did give nasty looks to the kid who decided to make periodic loud "AH" noises. Yes, they are fun noises and if Jr. came to church regularly he would have gotten the novelty of the echo noises out of his system. The regular kids have their own way of experiencing mass, asleep, eating, staring at adults (including the priest), or a combination of those. Christmas and Easter just seem a little cruel to small kids. They are dragged to a strange place, forced to wear strange clothes that they cannot play in, surrounded by strange people, and if they go to a mass, smell strange smells. It's like only going to school on test or evaluation days. The Help was one of those kids. His childhood memory of church is puking on the playground of the random church his parents picked that year. Though baptized as a child he did not come to know Jesus until his late 30s. So with my data set of one, I don't have much faith in annual/biannual visits to church for children.
Of course, normally I'm home on Sundays anyway.

*Earlier that day I was at a crowded Awesome Con. I disliked the line and HATED the booth area. I had to escape at one point and let the Help wander the booths by himself. The crowded convention center was tolerated because of all the great costumes and get-ups.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PCA church moves to weekly communion

I was at the Help's church this Sunday and they've been having communion every Sunday for Lent. Before it was just for Advent. And from now on they will be having it every week.
Good for them.
Lucky me I'm used to passing the plate of saltines and individual servings of wine/grape juice and it helps that we sit with a group who know I'm Catholic. I honestly don't want to confuse anyone, but I'm not participating. So I will avoid sitting next to the person who asked why I wasn't Christian. Nice person, but....
There are other things I don't participate in at the Help's church, like the praise songs. One, there are no music notes for me to read for the praise songs. Can I read music? Not really but I know a half note from a quarter note, and it helps to see that my voice is supposed to go higher on this part. Secondly, I don't buy or listen to these hippy-dippy Jesus is my girlfriend songs on the radio. They are absolutely foreign to me. Lastly, I don't trust those songs. To me the theology is a little wobbly on some of those lines or something is just plain wrong. Most of the time I can't put my finger on it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Marriage savings/discount is not automatic

I was talking taxes with a friend, it is April after all, and I mentioned that according to TurboTax the Help and I are paying less than 11% (something like 10.54%) of our gross income to federal taxes. Friend was impressed (yea me, sidenote, another friend says she's paying nearly 0%, which is impossible or illegal), and wondered if it was because the Help and I were married. Unsaid, up to this point in the conversation was friend wondering if it would be worth it for him and longtime gay partner to marry. Unsaid by me in the whole thing was, no, and I went to prove it.

Before the Help and I married, our pre-marriage tax rate was about 12pointsomething%, after ten-point-something. On the surface you'd think, ah ha, we got a marriage tax savings. Ah, no. I noticed two things. One, our combined gross income was less post-marriage than pre-marriage, even though we both got raises in that time. I lost income renting out my extra room, which is now our room. Retirement and other pre-tax funky paycheck stuff also did it. Prior to marriage, we weren't putting much, if anything into retirement. By being one in marriage we are trying to be purposeful about our future and our finances are combined. My gay couple friends, have been together for a couple of decades and their finances are separated, and I don't see their accounts coming together any time soon. Sometimes I'm shocked how separate they live their lives at times.

The second thing that helped lower our tax rate were deductions. We pay more in local taxes (income & property) which is about half of our deductions. The other half, charitable giving. I give to my alma maters, we give to our churches, and one church I don't attend anymore. We give to local charities. I give to random charities. I was giving to charities before getting married, the Help did the 1040EZ and really didn't give much thought to giving. The Help's alma mater, UC-3rd Circle of Hell, will probably never ever get anything from him, and since I never went there, we won't be giving. We give to the school we both attended, only because I was giving to the school anyways. They just tacked his name on is the only difference. I know our friends volunteer for the arts, but I don't know if they regularly give to any one charity. They don't attend any weekly religious (there are many, many gay churches and gay friendly spiritual houses in DC) functions and so as I know don't regularly financially support any non-profit. Knowing one half of the couple he'd probably be very unwilling to give away significant amounts of his income.

So yes, in marriage we saved money. Not because some state granted us a marriage license, that helped, but because we began living as married people, being one with each other. I heard a financial guru say that the difference between being married and shacking up is 'the conversation is different.' We have had conversations about our future, with the assumption that in 20, maybe even 30 years (we're old, we married old, one of us will be dead before making it 40 years) we will still be one. I know the conversation is different in the way I've seen others lives, between the married and the shacked up.

Note: I forgot to mention the mortgage interest deduction, which is less now than what it was when we got married. That helps too, but less so as we throw more at our mortgage. But then again, we're going to get a 2nd mortgage for the construction planned this year.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Night-time ritual

Before falling asleep and going to bed, my husband reads to me. Right now we are dealing with the various St. Paul's letters to communities. I believe we started with one of the gospels and then picked random NT parts. For Advent he used the devotional my church had around, then for our anniversary we read Song of Solomon. We read that as he had me read the girl parts.
It is a ritual that goes forward, through sickness, health and travel. There have been very few times when he hasn't read a scripture to me, even when I'm trying to deal with pain, or I'm about to fall dead asleep, he'll read. If I'm alseep, then all bets are off. He reads a study bible so then he reads the commentary after scripture. I give commentary while he's reading.
Following scripture and the commentary is prayer. Sometimes I ask for a short prayer, which doesn't seem to make much of a difference because everyone still gets included and it is still long, winding and Presbyterian, then we do a relay Our Father, where I say part, then he says part, and then back to me. We kiss goodnight and crawl back into bed.
Not as good as compline, but better than nothing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What is poor?

I'm reading a book "The Beautiful Tree" about private schools for the poor in Africa and India. I've gotten to a part where logic is tested. There are people telling the author that there cannot be private schools for the poor because the poor are too poor to pay, thus there cannot be schools where the poor are paying to send their children. When the author found schools where the poor were paying to send their children to school, then the nay sayers said those people aren't poor. Never mind that they have no electricity, running water, work as fishermen, live in one room shacks with tin roofs, and make about $1 a day. No, if they are paying for schooling, they aren't poor.
There is more I'd like to write, but I am not done with the book. But there is a attitude that I am disliking, and it is the author's bias, but development people seem to fail to acknowledge that the poor have agency. Yes, the poor make bad decisions, but it's their decision. Another thing, I'm also sensing international poverty pimping. Send millions of dollars to support middle and upper class bureaucrats to make reports and studies about the poor and call it helping the poor, though the poor see a little of the results, and get little ownership of the process or the results. How many abandoned clean water projects dot the world?

Friday, February 07, 2014

The importance of privacy

I blog some parts of my life. But not all.
In the NSA spying on Americans brugh-ha-ha, some people have stated they don't care if certain benign aspects of their life are known.
My problem is the last century is filled with examples of the State or groups deciding to kill or imprison people because they happened to be  X.  Who cares if your parents came from Haiti and you're living on the Dominican border. Or that your father was an intellectual or shop owner in China? Or when you were 20 you flirted with Communism in America? Or in this same country you're of Japanese decent? Or you're Armenian in the Ottoman Empire? The 20th Century is filled with examples (notice how I'm avoiding the biggest one?) of the State or someone deciding that this or that set of people is the problem or will be a problem, as with the Japanese internments, and going after them.
So yes, now it doesn't matter that the world knows you are or were X. But if the winds change, and blow in a force or a set of know it alls who feel X is bringing the country down or holding the great cause back or endangering the people, is that knowledge so benign?

Also the tools and systems that allow this government to spy on its citizens and others can just as well be used by other nations. I was listening to a podcast of a person who got a FOIA request about the travel information the government had on him. As expected it showed him the flights he took from here to there, but what he didn't expect was there was also information about the hotels where he stayed and local contacts. It also had international travel information. It was supposed that the Chinese had access to this same information by legally demanding an airline, with a presence in China, at their Chinese offices, pull information from this big travel database. And if the Chinese can track people this way, then who else can as well? The Russians, the French (yeah, I know who cares?), the Israelis, and so forth. This endangers activists, which is concerning.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Is it a white guy thing? Protecting "their" women

I've encountered a sentiment up close a couple times to make me wonder if it is a 'thing'. First time was with a roommate, the white straight male one. He was talking about the future, his concerns about the future with his then girlfriend (now wife). He liked the neighborhood we were in, but had some concerns about living here with her. He had very strong concerns about her safety, about her walking on the streets alone, afraid she'd be raped or something. They wound up in another part of DC, with (as far as I'm concerned) the same crime issues, but much hipper and a better selection of retail and restaurant options. At the time, I was in 'strong independent woman' mode. I was slightly offended of the idea of woman as weak thing that without man at her side will constantly be at the mercy of the criminal element.
The second was with my own husband, the Help. Now the Help and I had been platonic friends for about a decade, so we had a relationship before amor came in. After marriage I noticed he was trying to take on more of the protector role, to which the 'strong independent woman' that was me responded with, "what the Hell?" In an animated discussion about my safety, he expressed concern (despite my years of being safe when the neighborhood was more dangerous) and I countered with asking about the safety of a single female neighbor. He responded that the neighbor I mentioned was not his wife.
In the two examples, the males were white and the females, black. I've heard similar sentiment from other white guys regarding their live in girlfriends and wives, where the guy was white. And from some women inquiring about moving to the neighborhood, hinting that they can't be safe without a guy (bf or husband).
My own father, a black man, never seemed to take on this role. It wasn't protection but honor and respect, where his interests. Other black women seemed to take on protection, in a motherly fashion. There are issues of manhood and masculinity in the Black community that I really can't address here, so I won't.
After marriage, I'm letting go of parts of the 'strong independent woman' and submitting (as I've decided to interpret it) to my husband. I've grown too attached to my husband to think of living independently without him. I allow him to drive me to work, so he can protect me from the bus ride I'll have to take after work. I allow him to be concerned about aspects of my safety that are much in his thoughts, while I continue to maintain and strengthen those areas of our safety that have not crossed his mind.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Income inequality=poverty?

Charity, Longstanton
Taken by Steve Day
Is it me or does it seem that poverty is so uncool that the kids are talkin' income inequality these days. From what I've heard the two are not the same, it includes the poor, but you get to talk about the middle class too. It sounds like the old we must put down the rich* to help the poor mess, just wrapped up in new clamshell packaging.
A few months ago I heard something inspiring. A missionary was in some random African village and wanted to help women whose children were starving. He was thinking of all sorts of programs he could start, but then he noticed not every woman in the village had starving children. So he went to a woman whose children were well fed to see what she was doing and to see if he could get the women with the starving children to emulate her. For him the point of the story was that he, white western guy did NOT have all the answers and to make a comment about Americans and European aid efforts. To me, it was see what is working in an area with real people, and use that as a model.
What does this have to do with income equality? Not much, but as you might notice it does have something to do with poverty.
Bono, the rock star worldwide-poverty activist admitted that aid was just a stop-gap. The income inequality being bantered about sounds like more stop gaps as the solution. And then the problem is there is no solution, no end. We shall always have poverty with us, but we can try to change the image of it, so that there are fewer starving people, and more of G-d's justice.
Despite many decades of people saying the middle class is doomed, and income inequality is an excuse to steal some poverty limelight for the middling classes, I think the middle class is doing okay. We have photos in our dining area of our family. My grandmother with her kin, when she was younger, my grandparents, his great and grand-parent-family (it is a group picture), and my aunts and uncles. They are a lovely reminder that we come from peasant stock. In the early and middle 20th Century we were lumberjacks living in log cabins and North Carolina sharecroppers. In the early 21st century, we work in climate controlled offices where we ignore texts on our cell phones. So I think we've done alright. Not everyone made it to middle-class-dom, but I have some hope for the next generation of those who didn't. For the next generation, we hope to be the example of how you do it, how you get out of poverty, like the woman in the village, and none of it involves the rich suffering.

*Does not include all wealthy. Just the one's who are in the spotlight.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gender, church, in the car with Mari

Before we were married, back when we were just friends, the Help would drive me home and to facilitate conversation, we'd have in-the-car-with-Mari questions. Sometimes these were deep, sometimes they were light and silly. Between have you found Jesus and in a fight who would win, Batman or Superman? Yes, and possibly Superman, if you wanted the answers. I recently got a kindle, and to reduce our ongoing fight about his driving. Seriously the only thing keeping him at the wheel is my inability to confidently drive a stick shift. The kindle has produced something to replace the in-the-car-with-Mari questions, it's me quoting from whatever book I'm reading and asking his thoughts on the matter.
I'm reading two books right now. Both on gender. One written by a woman, the other by a man. I got the one written by the guy because I would read something from the sample I had (I go through a lot of kindle samples) to the Help as he drove and he would ask questions that I knew well were far deeper in the book. So I wound up getting all of Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. Mainly because it was only $2.99 for the kindle. Any more than $4 and I was going to wait till I was done with the other book.
We've also been listening, in part, very small on my end, to a radio program on a Christian station that has been talking about gender. We hear it when the Help is horribly spoiling me by driving me to work. I know, I should bike. Before and right after we married we also read Christian books on similar topics of gender and wives relationships to their husbands and vis versa. I'd hear part of it in the morning and he'd tell me more of what they said in the evening when we returned home.
To sum everything up. Men are different from women.  I know breaking news. Beside the physical aspects, men are different than women inside, in how we think and desire to interact with the world.
But going back to Murrow's book we have been talking about what the book says about American churches and our own church experience. The Help's church is healthy and growing. There is a good male presence in the pews. There are fathers with their families, lots of single men, and some married men sans their wives. The Help, on most Sundays is also sans spouse. This is the mirror opposite of a lot of churches according the Murrow book.
I like a church with a good healthy male presence. When there is singing I like hearing the depth of the male voice. There is hardly any singing at the mass I attend (totally fine with it) and I'm content with our mass though a more crowded mass is a healthier mass. We're kinda spread out in the big space so it is hard to judge the gender gap. But gender gap or not, it's a 15 minute walk from the house, the Saturday mass is short and I like the priest. But when I was an Anglican and church shopping, I preferred a nice healthy male presence.
Men, they're good to have around.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Government taxes isn't charitable giving

I'm going to ignore the greatest type of giving done in America, gifts to religious institutions and talk about other giving.
We give. We give money to food quality groups, advocacy groups, gardening groups, legal groups, local help the helpless groups, arts groups, cultural/history groups, alumni groups and hey-we're-doing-this-cool-thing-and-we-happen-2B-a-nonprofit-groups.
Some money goes to make up for what the local or federal or state government doesn't give, like with alumni groups. Some of our money funds scholarships, so that's less money someone has to take out a loan. Some money helps programs at my (the Help has some negative feelings about his alma mater) old school that aren't funded by the school and probably seem unworthy of fully funding by the people of Florida or Massachusetts. Food stamps are supposed to feed everyone, but they don't. So we give to a program that feeds people on the streets and another that provides families with healthy food options they can cook at home. I know the some arts and cultural programs get a portion of their funding from government sources, but not all, and at some weird times, have their govt funding cut altogether. We give to the museum that the Help is on the board of, they get their basic support from a local government, but to do more programming, that money comes from private sources.
Some money goes to groups who try to get the government to change their mind. I'm thinking of one non-profit that works with refugees and immigrants in the US. I'm also thinking of the bicycling group that tries to get the government to stop hatin' on cyclists with laws and a bureaucratic culture that assumes the cyclist is ALWAYS in the wrong and give us some more bike lanes. I'm thinking of groups that challenge overreach and declined applications for benefits. I'm thinking of gardening groups that might have to fight one part of the local government from seizing and bulldozing over a lot given for community gardening. I'm thinking of food groups that fight a mindset in government given over to big-Ag and junk food.
Then there are the odd-ball groups that do things that would be stupid for the government to do, like Christmas toys for innercity kids, hair for cancer patients (that would be creepy) and crocheted hats for premies.
And almost none of them blow up or kill brown people on the other side of the world in my name, or spy on me or my neighbors, nor do any of the non-profits I give to can put me in jail and take away my property if I don't hand money over to them.

Help & Sunday School

The Help's church decided that it would be great for him to assist with Sunday school since we're preparing for adopting children. They figured he couldn't go wrong with the pre-school/ Kindergarten set. I agree, considering he didn't grow up in a church environment, he's learning along with the kids.
When he returns home, I ask how did class go? My own memories of Sunday school are incredibly vague, but I'm sure it involved less coloring and crafts. This week's lesson ran close to the Catholic calender, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord featuring St. John. But the lesson plan is written for Presbyterians so they can't be following any liturgical calendar can they?
I ask what did they learn and a usual lesson is 'obey your parents' like Jesus did. My response has been, well what about that time when Teen Jesus stuck around the temple and Mary & Joseph were halfway home before they realized he wasn't with them? They don't cover that.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

What I want

What do I want?
Right now it is to get the energy to look at the new soup recipe and the old osso buco recipe for tonight's dinner. But laziness and procrastination is working right now.
I now if I pull off the soup recipe and it isn't some horrible inedible mash I'll be really happy. For a short while.
Overall what do I want? I don't have a bucket list, so this is what I'd like looking back on my life whenever it get's near the end.
I want to feel the presence of G-d constantly in my current and later years.
I want to be the best wife I can be. Not the best wife ever, because I don't know what price that is, and it's subjective. The best wife I can be to the Help (my male spousal unit) has a lot to do with me and him and our personalities. Three years in and we're doing pretty good.
I want to be a mother. I want to be a mentor mother, someone who teaches those under my care to love G-d and others.
I want to be the known expert research historian in my specialized area. It would be awesome if I got paid for it too.
I want to be happy. Luckily, at this moment, I am.
I want a vacation home where there is fishing.
I want a comfy chair, a good book, and Earl Grey, hot.
I want relatively successful and moral nieces and nephews.

I have other minor wants, like a nice long thick cashmere sweater with decent pockets, but as I wrote, I'm blessed and fairly happy.