So here is the long-awaited second segment of my top 10 birthday list items:
4. Age 36: Take a glassblowing class
There are a few standouts from this year. But in the end, I’m going with the glassblowing class, because it was the biggest surprise. Mary and I arrived at Diablo Glass School early on a Saturday morning, expecting to spend the morning sitting at a table with a blowtorch, making a small cat or flower.
I was not expecting to be Dale Chihuly. I was not expecting to put a long, heavy, metal rod into an oven that was a bazillion degrees and turn it for a length of time. And then sit down on a work bench made for right-handed people (I’m a lefty) and shape the glass into a circular shape with my right hand. (We made paperweights.)
We survived unscathed, which I still call a miracle. I have a nice albeit egg-shaped paperweight to display. Mary and I also walked away with a newfound appreciation for artists who work with glass. We eagerly watched Chihuly in the Hotshop afterward and visited his exhibit at the MFA, Boston, a few months later. The exhibit was phenomenal.
I’d like to try the blowtorch method someday. I think that’s more my style.
3. Age 37: Meet Andrew McCarthy
My friend Linda and I met Andrew McCarthy. He of Mannequin and Pretty in Pink and Weekend at Bernie’s. Did you know that he is a travel writer? I didn’t realize it either, until I saw that he was coming to the annual Boston Globe Travel Show.
I had noticed his name in the National Geographic Traveler magazine’s masthead, but hadn’t thought anything of it. It’s a common enough name.
Being a child of the ’80s I naturally love the man, so I counted down the days till the show. At the show, he gave an engaging talk about his new career in travel writing. Afterward, he was signing a new book that he had edited, but the line was daunting. So Linda and I walked around and visited some booths for maybe an hour. We headed back to where he had been signing books, and there he was. He had finished signing and was standing and chatting with people. Linda bought his book, and then there we were, talking with Andrew McCarthy. I don’t remember what I said, but it was something about his travel writing. He was very nice and seemed down-to-earth. Whenever I see his byline on a story in Nat Geo Traveler, I smile.
2. Age 38: Geeked out on genealogy
This was another toughie, but I have three genealogy-related items on the list. And through them, I started a new lifelong hobby. I had dabbled in genealogy but embraced it full force last year. I attended an all-day genealogy workshop, became a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and had my DNA analyzed.
I’ve found out some very interesting things about my ancestors and have endless mysteries to solve. I have 408 people in my family tree on ancestry.com. People who have been researching for decades have thousands of people in their trees. Genealogy research could be a full-time job. It’s a job that seemingly never ends. I remember my shock at hearing a presenter at the workshop say that she’s been researching for 20+ years and still has family mysteries to solve.
I need to carve out more time for this research! I am determined to find out more about my mother’s maternal side, which is Italian. Everyone in the family is long gone, so it’s all about finding and combing through records…
1. Age 39: Three-way tie?
This year is difficult because I went to England and New York City. So I saw an absolutely amazing cathedral in Winchester, England…but I also went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island…
And if I had to choose something that I did at home, it would be HOLI!!! My friend Abby and I went to a Holi party and had no idea what to expect. It ended up being incredibly fun and I can’t wait to go again next year.
I need a bonus because starting at age 31, I’ve traveled to a place I’ve never been every year. My favorite trip was the one I took to Aruba before my 31st birthday. It was my first time visiting the Caribbean. I went on a wonderful tour of the island, laid out on the beach for hours every day, explored Orenjestad, ate good meals, got a massage on the beach…blissful.
So that’s it, friends. I’ve done 345 new things over the past 10 years. Thanks to all who have accompanied me on this journey.
40 has to be a complete blowout…start sending your suggestions now! I do have my trip destination figured out already. Pretty sure that I am going to Hawaii because I have enough frequent flyer miles. Aloha!