A Thirst To Spend My Fire and Restless Force Tracking My True, Original Course

But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;

- Matthew Arnold
The Buried Life


#53 Ride a Mechanical Bull

One of my students put this on her list last year and I saw it and went, "Oh my gosh!!! Me too!" So on my list it went, as #53.

This past weekend, I went on a girl's night out with some of my favorite mom friends and my best friend Mo. The initial plan was to go to Howl at the Moon (which we also did), but when discussing dinner, Saddle Ranch came into the discussion and someone brought up the bull. Oh yeah.... the bull.

Well, of course I had to ride it, and much thanks to my rather outgoing friend Heather, she even hooked it up with the hostess for me to go for FREE. Woo hoo!

I will admit, I was CRAZY nervous at first. Once I first got on, I started to think, "Oh my beejeezees. WHAT am I doing up here? I'm gonna injure myself."  The operator's advice was hold on tight, use one hand in the air for balance, and go opposite the direction of the bull. I gave it my best shot.

I think I lasted maybe 8 seconds, which honestly felt a lot longer than it sounds. I think the operator thought I was gonna go down right away (which I didn't), since he went easy on me at first, but once he decided to really give it a go, I was not quite prepared for that and down I went. Boo.  Oh well, it was a blast!

#43 Hike a Volcano (and an ACTIVE one at that!)

In the lava tube.
On October 13, 2011, we woke up in Kona, Hawaii and by noon set out on an AMAZING drive to cross off #43, which was something on both my list AND Vinny's. 

When we first started talking about going to Hawaii, the only thing Vinny wanted to do was visit a volcano. We weren't even planning on going to the Big Island on our Hawaiian vacation, but when your 5-year-old has one desire, your vacation plans can be altered. 
So there we were, in the coffee capital of the world (well, MY coffee capital- totally my favorite coffee ever), and we set out for the 100 mile drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This was amazing. The park has 11 of the 13 climate zones found on earth. Yup. We must have driven through like 10 of them. I don't know if it was the volcanic gas or the plants or just the multiple climates, but my sinuses did not forgive me for weeks. Oh well. It was worth it. We saw rain forests and giant lava craters and hiked through a lava tube. The lava tube was everything I had hoped it would be (Vinny too). 

End of the lava tube hike
What's funny is.. I didn't want to hike a volcano if it was going to be exhausting and totally kick my butt in the process. I am not much of a hiker really, so I just wanted to enjoy it. Boy did I ever! It is not hard to enjoy a hike through a tropical rain forest.

Outside the lava tube.
 Later that night, we even saw the active eruption of Mt. Kilauea. Oh my gosh. Amazing. Breathtaking.

Yes, that is lava.

October 11, 2011 - #34 A Tropical Waterfall

- I am reposting this from my other blog. It was AMAZING. - 

Today definitely ranks up there with the best days of my life. I cannot believe all of the amazing things I saw today. I really have to give a huge thank you to the writers of Maui Revealed. With this guidebook in hand, we adventured around the island of Maui and saw all of the best stuff. It was amazing.  And, best of all, Tiana was a total trooper! We packed well and she had a great time. Perhaps the best time of all of us.

We started out early to try to beat the crowds, and it was very effective. We were the first people at almost every place we stopped. Well, either we were just earliest, or it was the lemming effect- people stopped where we stopped because they saw us stopped there.

Since we rented an AWD vehicle, our first stop of the day was down a tiny dusty road to a little bay where we saw a black sand beach that we were pretty sure we could get to. Turns out we could. So cool.

Next, we passed by all the things that guidebook said were either not that cool or too much of a hike. We were trying to be realistic about what we could do with the kids in tow. Tiana loves the backpack (shout out to Carmen for the gift, thanks a million), but Vinny is a total baby about anything he deems scary.

We stopped at the sight I was most looking forward to, Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls. As I got out to change my shoes, I realized that Marc was wearing flip flops. "Where are your hiking shoes?" I asked. "What do you mean?" he replied, "I didn't think I needed them today." Sigh. After a small discussion in which we argued over whether or not it is my responsibility to grab everything we will need for the day, we decided to brave the hike anyway. We followed the path suggested by the guidebook, or so we thought, down a rocky creek bed. Possibly the toughest thing ever, but really only because Vinny was being incredibly melodramatic and unadventurous. He cried about half the way there, yelling, "I want Grandma!" and "I don't want to die!" If you saw this hike, you would laugh hysterically, because it was not scary at all, he was just acting like a ninny. 
Fortunately, we eventually got there and I crossed off #34 from my buried list... swim in a tropical waterfall. Oh wow. Amazing.  Breathtaking. My heart was beating so fast. 

I totally have a thing for waterfalls. I climbed into my first waterfall when I was 17 years old in the mountains of Colorado on an off-roading trip with my uncle. Since then I have been hooked. Last July, while 7 months pregnant, I swam in a waterfall in Tahoe. Also amazing, but I desperately wanted to try it in a tropical one where the water was not ice cold. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Fortunately, Vinny was excited once he got there. He thought the name of "three bears falls" was perfect and loved calling them by name "Mama Bear" "Papa Bear" and "Baby Bear." (The video above is me in between Papa Bear and Mama Bear).

On the way back up, we figured out a much easier way, which was probably the "easy path" the guidebook referred to. We found some people about to start the path down and saved them the trouble. We ran into them again a few more times throughout the day and they thanked us for it. 
Next, we stopped for lunch at Pua'a Ka'a State Park. Well developed area with tables and stuff, but really, nothing that exciting to look at. We saw lots of people staring at the falls and probably thinking about going in, but the pools at the bottom were kind of gross and had lots of tadpoles. (There's another "T" word Vinny learned. Unschooling this week has been pretty awesome). 

Our next stop was a detour from the main highway to the tiny village of Nahiku. Oh my gosh. Craziest little place. Maui Revealed said it must be "where plants go when they die," and he must be right. Anyone see that movie Ferngully in the 90s?  It was one of my favorites, and this place reminded me of it SO much. Vines hanging down from the trees everywhere on the tiniest little road through the most old school "Hawaiian" village you could possibly imagine. And it dead ends at the ocean at a spot with the most breathtaking view. The waves break into colors of blue I have seen nowhere else in nature. We almost didn't want to leave. I honestly think that when I meet Jesus, I am pretty sure he will be standing somewhere that looks just like this. The photos just don't do it justice, but hopefully you can get just a hint of what I am talking about. 


Finally, we continued to Hana. Not that much is really in Hana, although honestly, I could retire here. I would fit right in with this lady.  

We did stop at the black sand beach, It was different from the first one in that there was greenery growing out of the lava fields and ancient burial grounds all over the place. Vinny loved the little caves; Tiana loved the sand.

Tiana could have played in the black sand all day. She thought it was way cool.

Admit it... Marc looks great! (Jealous, party of 1)
We ultimately drove on, hoping to make a quick stop at the Seven Pools before heading home, but by the time we got there (11 miles from Hana, almost an hour drive... yeah), Tiana had fallen asleep, and we were not about to wake her up and expect her to hike. Some day, I want to return to Maui without the kids (or when they are much, much older) to do all the coolest snorkeling spots, go ocean kayaking, stay in Hana for a night, and hike to Waimoka Falls at the top of the seven pools.  So... we drove on. We took the more adventurous way back to civilization,  around the dry southeast side of Maui, where the road was often one unpaved lane, and then through the upcountry. We felt like we were on an adventure ride like Indiana Jones or something. 

Once in the upcountry, we stopped at a park for the kids to play in the shadow of the Haleakala Volcano summit. 

Amazingly, we somehow made it home in time to eat an early dinner and pick up Hula Cookies for dessert. What a day!


#34 Sit/swim in a tropical waterfall

34. Sit in a tropical waterfall (I have to say tropical, because I have done this in the mountains, but I want to do it in a warm one).

Last night, I decided I needed to start researching this one, since I am going to Hawaii in October, and Hawaii is the first real tropical place that I will have been to, so if I want to sit in a tropical waterfall, this could be a great opportunity that I do not want to miss.

I realize that this may be a little more complicated than it seems since a lot of the waterfalls in Hawaii involve hiking to them. Now, I actually like to hike, so this is not a problem. However, I am bringing two small children. This does make it more complicated. Marc says we should bring the hiking backpack with us. It is a huge, bulky piece of equipment though, and I just don't know if it is worth $25 to check a hiking backpack.. but maybe. Are there waterfalls in Hawaii that don't require much hiking?  Or stroller friendly trails?  Hmm.... will need to find out.

So, I started searching. I found that there are a lot of good waterfalls in Maui, although not all of them are swimable. There is one, Blue Angel Falls, which seems, AMAZING. However, upon reading about Blue Angel Falls, I discovered that it is along the road to Hana. You may have heard about the road to Hana. It is the famous road in Maui that is a somewhat dangerous, curvy, yet incredibly beautiful two-lane highway that goes to the North Eastern side of the island.

This looks like a relatively simple journey, right?  Fun road trip?  Well, luckily, I can learn from the experiences of others. My cousin went to Maui and made this trip and told me I would be insane to take it with children. My parents also made this journey. They had an amazing time, saw lots of rain forests and waterfalls and black sand beaches. The journey to Hana, with stops, took them about 5 hours. (I know, doesn't look that long, does it?). My cousin informed me it could be done in 3 with relatively few stops. HOWEVER, my parents also discovered the issue with this very undeveloped side of the island.


There was a brush fire while they were on the road to Hana and they got trapped there overnight. They had to stay in a high school gymnasium on the last night of the trip. They almost missed their flight home.  There is a ton of information online warning you to bring a lot of supplies on the trip, as the road can lead you into unexpected situations.

Frankly, this is not something I am willing to brave with children.

So much for a waterfall on Maui. Good thing we are visiting the big island our last two days. With more research, I found that there is a relatively accesible waterfall called Rainbow Falls. Apparently there is this really big cool waterfall and smaller ones around it too. I think I found our destination.  Will let you know how it goes. If anyone has ever been to this before and can give me some firsthand info, I'd love to hear it.


The Class Assignment

I created this research assignment for my Honors students this semester, based on the tv show The Buried Life. I showed them an episode and then we talked about the amount of research it takes to get stuff done. This was also great for them to see what "research" in the real world looks like. It is sometimes looking stuff up online, but it is combined with a lot of phone calls and talking to people as well.

Then they made their own lists and spent the rest of the semester (on their own- we did other stuff in class) trying to cross at least one thing off.  We ended the year with their presentations of what they did. 

It was amazing. 

Kimmy, Sergio, and Brooke conquered their fear of heights and rode roller coasters for the first time.  (This is pee-in-your-pants-laughing-so-hard kind of funny).  You can tell from the video how much this was genuinely scary for her... but she did it anyway. 

A bunch of students wanted to go skydiving. Not only do most skydiving places require that you be over 18, their parents pretty much all said no, but they tried the alternative... indoor skydiving.

Natalie learned to knit. I am impressed... I certainly couldn't learn to knit, especially as well as she did, and knit a whole scarf in just 8 weeks.

Janelli, Hugo, and Carlos learned to rock climb... and really conquered nature.   I got to go with them for this one, and it was a super fun adventure.  

Jackie and Alejandra had never been to a concert before, so they went to their first concert. Their enthusiasm is contagious. I am totally not into banda, but their excitement during their presentation got me excited. 

Stephanie attempted to bake something from scratch for the first time and had, in her words, "an epic failure"... but she kept at it, and ultimately baked cupcakes that she brought in for the class. They were very, very tasty. Next, she just has to conquer homemade frosting.

Desiree learned how to drive, Jessica and Carol saw Disneyland's "World of Color," Adriana went bungee jumping, and Adahli wrapped a snake around her neck. Gloria, Yanella, and Eric were not able to accomplish their chosen tasks, but they sure made an awesome effort, and clearly learned something. Despite Eric's odd video about duct taping his hands to his bike, I think Eric will manage to swim with the sharks some time this next year, and Gloria will be able to volunteer at an animal shelter later this summer. Yanella is determined to go skydiving, and will probably get there sooner rather than later. 

Overall, I learned a lot from them. I love watching them shoot for the stars and learning the importance of networking and not giving up on the first shot. Reading their stories was a wonderful experience, and their lists inspired me to add to mine. It was fun reading their lists and seeing how many things on them I had already done. They have a fun 10 years ahead of them.

The List- In Progress (and will be updated as it comes)

My “buried” list

1. Spend a week lying on a remote-ish tropical beach drinking delicious drinks and swimming in warm water.   

2. Visit Venice and eat real Italian food and gelato.

3. Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans.   (February 2012!)

4. Sit in a Jacuzzi, in my backyard, sipping pink champagne, eating chocolate covered strawberries.

5. Spend a summer in Romania with the orphans. Maybe bring one home.

6. Learn to dance hip hop.

7. Be in a stage version of Hair.

8. Learn to surf.   

9. Be in a movie.

10. Write a recommendation letter for a student to go to an Ivy League school  (December 2010 Estefani & Cynthia, but neither got accepted)… and see him/her actually get accepted and attend (and ideally graduate)

11. Bless another teacher with something really awesome. (June 2011 - Going into details would kind of ruin this, but this was far easier than I thought. I forgot how much little things mean to us poor teachers).

12. Take a group of students to work with orphans in a 2nd or 3rd world country.

13. Get published in something real… like in print… not just on the internet. (April 2012 - Acorn Letter to the Editor)

14. Go to a protest for something I truly believe in.

15. See Alaska in the summer, when it doesn’t get dark (and isn’t cold).

16. Direct Rent with a perfect cast and as much time and money as I need to make it perfect.

17. Be in a Shakespeare play as a lead role.

18. Make homemade tortillas.

19. Spend 2 hours floating happily in a lazy river.

20. Cruise the Caribbean, stopping at several different islands.

21. Spend a week at Disney World at a nice resort, with a meal plan and everything, not having to worry about money while we are there.

22. Be on the Amazing Race.

23. Convince my mom and dad to go out of the United States, preferably on a mission trip. I would ideally like to come too, but will consider this one accomplished if they go without me.

24. Be in a Flash dance mob.

25. Grow enough vegetables to make a complete salad.  (Working on it... Summer 2012)

26. Completely and totally surprise Marc with an unbelievable gift.

27. Go to the airport on a random Friday and take the first flight out on Southwest, no matter where it goes (like in Yes Man).

28. Camp in Encinitas for a week with a really awesome RV. I am eliminating this one by choice. I no longer want to do it. I have decided RV camping is overrated. 

29. Own a Jacuzzi.

30. Learn Spanish… like, fluently.

31. Tour Jerusalem.

32. Go to the Olympics (just to watch, hopefully to watch Marc)

33. Write a letter to the president and my congressmen about something that is really, really important to me. Hopefully get a response.

34. Sit in a tropical waterfall (I have to say tropical, because I have done this in the mountains, but I want to do it in a warm one). Road to Hana: October 2011

35. Drive across America, coast-to-coast

36. Go whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon.

37. Be in the pit at a Green Day concert.

38. See a concentration camp in person.

39. See Phantom of the Opera professionally (like on Broadway, but LA or Vegas would work) January 2012!

 40. See the Cirque de Soleil show “Love”    April 2011 - See blog for details; it was amazing!

41. Go kayaking in the ocean.  

42. Visit the Channel Islands.

43. Hike a volcano.  (October 2011: Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii!)

44. See the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

45. Speak at an educator’s conference.

46. See Robin Williams do stand up comedy.

47. Go tubing in Kauai

48. Take my students on a totally awesome surprise field trip, probably funded by me.

49. Share my faith with students at my public school campus, somehow without getting fired.  Spring 2011 - Rather subtly, but found a few ways. We did a "relationship rating" activity while learning about drama, and when I modeled the activity, I rated God as my closest relationship and explained it. I even did it in front of an administrator, and I didn't get fired.... yet. Haha.   :-)

50. Plan a huge “thank you” banquet for youth pastors’ wives.

51. See the Hollywood sign up close and personal

52. Go to a foam party.

53. Ride a mechanical bull.  November 19, 2011

54. Try doing stand-up comedy in front of an audience.

55. See the aurora borealis

56. Visit India.

57. Zip line tour. 

58. Rent a house on the beach for a summer. 

59. Write my will.

60. Stay in one of those huts in Bora Bora or Tahiti or somewhere where the hut is actually IN the ocean.

61. Milk a cow.

62. Participate in a holli festival and throw colors.

63. Cross the intersection at Abby Road.

64. See a play in the  Globe Theater in England.

65. Le tour d'effiel.

66. Write a book. Get it published. 

67.  Have a BMI that is NOT overweight.

68. Walk through a real corn field.

69. Run a half marathon.

70. Meet Johnny Depp.

71. Have a meal (or even coffee would do) with Shawn Achor.

72. Go to a real TED conference.

73. Go on a murder mystery dinner cruise.

74. Take Tracy and the kids to all my favorite so-cal destinations.

75. Go wine tasting in a vineyard.

76. Do a real "spa day," with multiple treatments, preferably with friends.

77. Have a massage in a cabana on the beach.

78. Stay at the Grand Wailea, just for a night.

79. Give a flower to a stranger.

80. Slide on the slide rocks in Arizona.

81. See Niagra Falls.

82. Spend the night at Disneyland (one can dream)

83. Visit Stratford upon Avon.

84. Put on an amazing production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged.

85. Teach at a university.

86. Get a standing ovation.

87. Learn to play "Good Riddance" on the guitar.

88. See the pyramids of Egypt.

89. Run for school board.

90. See Vinny perform a solo for a real audience.

91. Commit a crime of civil disobedience for a really just cause.

92. Give my mom a truly amazing, truly unexpected present.

93.  Become a regular composter.

94. Dress up like a Disney princess. Like really, unmistakably. Go out in public.

95. Be able to see a Broadway show, open the program, point to a name, and say to the person next to me, "Yeah, I was his/her drama teacher."

96. Get invited to a former student's college graduation. (And actually go).

97.  Visit Kingston, Jamaica. Honor Mr. Robert Nesta Marley.

98. Adopt a child.

99.  Coincidentally spot my sister in a background shot. (Like, without her telling me where to look).

100.  Meet the President of the United States.

101. Watch a Dodger game from a club suite.

102. Mud run.

103. Get back on stage....


New Blog.... The Buried List Journey

So, I created this blog back in 2006 as part of a class assignment to learn about blogging. It didn't catch on at first, but I have to admit, now I am addicted. I have my primary blog, which is pretty much just about my life journey as wife and mother... and second mom (a.k.a. teacher) to 140 something teenagers. 

But I decided that I need a second blog to document something that has become somewhat of a passion for me. My buried list journey. I've decided to use this one... because it was so appropriately named. I named it after a song that has been one of my favorites since the first time I heard it. The lyrics speak for themselves of my feelings on life:
I've been here so long, I think that it's time to move
The winter's so cold, summer's over too soon
Let's pack our bags and settle down where palm trees grow

I've got some friends, some that I hardly know
But we've had some times, I wouldn't trade for the world
We chase these days down with talks of the places that we will go

We live on front porches and swing life away,
We get by just fine here on minimum wage
If love is a labor I'll slave till the end,
I won't cross these streets until you hold my hand....until you hold my hand

In early Spring 2010, I started watching the show "The Buried Life," and I was instantly hooked. Something about the show, the concept, the 4 guys... it just resonated with me. It was like, "These guys get it."  I blogged about it back in May 2010. And so I decided to write out my list. I totally already had it in my head. I was constantly saying, "Before I die, I want to..." and so I decided it just needed to be written. Although the buried life guys came up with 100, I could only come up with 50 (although it has started to grow). 

In 2010... I crossed nothing off. I think I was just waiting for opportunities to arise to cross something off, and guess what? They did not come. Barbara Bush once said, "You just don't luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities.
 Couldn't be more true.

So this year, I set the goal of being intentional about trying to cross off as many as possible, and thus, I search for opportunities and I build them, step by step. It has been a beautiful journey. I crossed my first item off when I saw "Love" in Vegas in April.

I also took another cue from The Buried Life guys, and I decided to help others cross items off of their lists. I created a research assignment for my students, and they attempted it too. More about that later.

Anyhow... so this is my new blog. A blog about living life to its fullest.